Traditional Indigenous Recipes

Chahta (Choctaw) Banaha

Chahta Banaha

Corn and most of the dishes we can create with corn are at the top of my list of food favorites. What I like the best about tamales is the corn, not the filling. Banaha is similar to a tamale, but with no filling. Here my son Tosh rolls the filling into the corn husks.

For purists:

Two cups of cornmeal

1 ½ cup boiling water

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

corn shucks

Boil corn shucks for ten minutes.

In a large bowl mix together the cornmeal, soda and salt until it is doughy.

Roll into longish shape that will fit into the corn shucks.

Wrap the shucks around the dough and tie with a shuck string, then boil in pot of water for 30-40 minutes. Drain, then let set for five minutes before serving.

We eat it with salsa on top.

To make banaha more interesting, I add a variety of things to the cornmeal mixture: chopped onions, *green sweet peas, *spinach, *garlic, pepper. I prefer to boil the banaha in unsalted *turkey, chicken or vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor.

*Old World ingredient