Atole: The Surprising Mexican Drink You've Never Tried (But Definitely Should!)
Atole is a traditional Mexican drink made from nixtamal dough and water, available in a variety of flavors like strawberry, coconut, and chocolate. Learn about the history, ingredients, flavors, and health benefits of atole.
Atole is a warm and comforting drink that has been a staple in Mexican cuisine for centuries. This drink is believed to have been inherited from pre-Hispanic cultures and has remained a popular beverage among Mexicans. In this article, we will delve deeper into the history of atole, its ingredients, and its various flavors.
A Brief History of Atole
The Nahua people were known for their frugal diet and did not eat breakfast. Instead, they drank a bowl of atolli, which translates to "watered-down," in Nahuatl, as their first food of the day. Atole was made from nixtamal dough and water and could be served plain, sweetened with honey, or seasoned with chili.
Atole was not only a drink but also a source of sustenance. The drink was thick and filling, making it ideal for hardworking farmers who needed a quick and nutritious meal. Over time, the drink evolved, and different flavors and thicknesses were introduced.
The traditional ingredients of atole are nixtamal dough and water. Nixtamal dough is made by soaking dried corn in an alkaline solution, such as lime, which removes the outer hull and germ of the corn, making it easier to digest. The resulting dough is then used to make tortillas, tamales, and other traditional Mexican dishes.
To make atole, the nixtamal dough is mixed with water and then cooked over low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Other ingredients such as sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla can be added for flavor. Depending on the type of atole, additional ingredients such as fruit, nuts, or chocolate can also be added.
Atole comes in a variety of flavors, and each flavor has a unique taste and texture. Some of the most popular flavors include strawberry, pineapple, guava, plum, coconut, almond, and chocolate. There are also savory flavors like chileatole and cuatole, which are seasoned with chili and honey.
Atole can also be made with different types of corn, such as blue corn, which gives it a distinct color and flavor. In some regions of Mexico, atole is made with fruits like papaya, mango, and banana, which adds a sweet and fruity taste to the drink.
Health Benefits of Atole
Atole is a nutritious drink that is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of fiber, calcium, and potassium, which are essential for maintaining a healthy body. The nixtamal dough used in atole is also rich in antioxidants and can help to lower cholesterol levels.
Since atole is a warm and comforting drink, it can be beneficial for people who suffer from colds or flu. The warm liquid can help to soothe a sore throat, reduce congestion, and provide much-needed hydration.
In conclusion, atole is a traditional Mexican drink that has been passed down through generations. It is a comforting and nutritious beverage that comes in a variety of flavors and is enjoyed by many Mexicans daily. Whether you prefer it plain, sweetened with honey, or flavored with fruit and nuts, atole is a drink that is sure to warm your heart and soul.