Tejuino is a mexican cold beverage made from fermented corn masa, piloncillo and water. This drink is widespread in the states of Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit but lately is also know in many other parts of the country.
Tejuino is traditionally served on a glass with crushed ice, lime juice and sea salt. The combination of sweetness from piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), sourness of the fermented dough, the tartness from the lime juice and the salty taste, makes this drink something very refreshing and worth to try.
The authentic tejuino
Tejuino is an ancient pre-hispanic beverage mainly made and consumed by the Nahua people. To this days this drink is found mostly as a street food and you’ll see the carts selling tejuino and preparing the drink on the go. People who sell tejuino are called tejuinero and many of them has been doing this from generations.
Their way of making Tejuino can be as authentic as possible but over all they make it by fermenting masa dough, piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar) and water in a large clay pot. Once the drinks have the right consistency (very thick) and taste, usually after 3-4 days, the mixture will be diluted by adding more water.
In some places Tejuino is also served with a scoop of nieve de limón -lime sorbet, to give it an extra touch of freshness.
Tejuino from Colima
I am from Colima and Tejuino for me brings so many memories, like drinking it mostly during the most hottest summer days or on my way back home after school.
My mom never did Tejuino at home because it was so easy to just go outside and look for a tejuinero that there was no need to invest time preparing a homemade version. But, since I live now outside Mexico, I had to learn how to make a recipe at home that will replicate at least a little bit to the drink I loved so much when I was a kid.
So here I am, with a homemade tejuino recipe, super easy and simple to make and so deliciously refreshing that I really hope you’ll give a try at home and make some this summer.
Why drink fermented drinks?
Depending what bacteria and yeast was used to culture a certain fermented drink, they will offer slightly different benefits. But, overall, lightly fermented drinks are a powerful source of beneficial bacteria that helps to support your digestive system health. Fermented drinks often contains vegetables, fruits and herbs which can add some extra micronutrients and probiotics to the beverage.
What do you need to make tejuino
- Masa dough or masa flour. The dough to make masa is not the regular corn dough, you gonna need the one that is nixtamalized. Since is hard to find masa ready to use outside Mexico, you’ll most likely have to use corn flour and mix it with water to make masa. But again, not the “normal” corn flour you maybe are familiar with, but the one for tortillas (I’ll let some links below in case you want to buy the flour from Amazon).
- Piloncillo or canned sugar. You can also use molasses. There are other names for piloncillo, like panela, rapadura or chancaca. Look for any of those or use molasses/brown sugar if you can’t find unrefined cane sugar.
- Limes. for this recipe at least 3-4 limes, or you can also use lemons but won’t be as good as it is with limes.
- Salt. I am from a town (Cuyutlán) which is pretty famous for its production of salt. I cannot describe how good that salt is, but of course, is not that easy to find overseas. So, any other granulated salt will do the trick.
- CRUSHED ICE: This help to dilute Tejuino mixture and give it a more drinkable texture.
- LIMES & SALT: Adds a nice salty-sour flavor that works wonder with the sweetness and flavor of piloncillo and/or molasses.
- SORBET: This is totally optional, but if you have some lemon or lime sorbet available, try adding a scoop to your Tejuino and you’ll see how delicious is!
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Tejuino Recipe Step by Step
Put half a liter (2.1 cups) of water in a bowl or container and add the dough, whisk until there’s no more lumps. You can also use a blender if it’s easier for you.
Put the other half a liter (2.2 cups) of water in a pot on high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, add piloncillo or brown sugar and reduce the flame to a minimum.
Break the piloncillo little by little with the help of a wooden spoon until is completely dissolved. If you using molasses add first a spoonful, dilute, taste, then add more until is sweet enough to your taste (you can add more later aswell).
Add masa dough mixture slowly and mix until combined. Add the lime juice and keep cooking for 30-40 minutes mixing constantly to prevent from sticking on the bottom.
The tejuino will start to have a right consistence after 25-30 minutes, so keep cooking (in low heat) until you notice that the water has become a bit thick.
Once the cooking is done, put the mixture on a glass, ceramic or clay jar. Let it cool mixing every 5-10 minutes to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Once tejuino is at room temperature cover with a cloth and let it ferment undisturbed in a dark and cool place for 2-3 days.
How to serve the Tejuino
Put crushed ice on a large pitcher filling up to half its capacity. Add tejuino to fill about ⅔ ; you’ll notice that the mixture is a bit coagulated, it’s normal so don’t worry.
Then add a teaspoon of sea salt and the juice of 2 or 3 limes. Mix with a spoon until combined.
Adjust lemon and salt and let it sit from 5 to 10 minutes to let the ice melt and dilute the mixture a bit. Serve on glasses with more crushed ice and a scoop of lime sorbet (if you want).
More mexican recipes
- 4 ½ cups water about 1 liter
- 1 ¼ cup (250 g) masa dough nixtamalized, for tortillas
- ¾ cup (160 g) piloncillo or brown sugar, molasses
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- Crushed ice
- Sea salt
- Put half of the water into a bowl or container and add the dough, whisk until there’s no lumps.
- Pour the other half of water into a pot over high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, add piloncillo or brown sugar and reduce the heat to a minimum.
- Break into pieces the piloncillo with the help of a wooden spoon and mix until is completely dissolved (see notes).
- Add masa dough mixture slowly and mix until combined.
- Add the lime juice and keep cooking for 30-40 minutes mixing constantly to prevent from sticking to the bottom. The tejuino will start to have a right consistence after 25-30 minutes, so keep cooking (in low heat) until you notice that the water has become a bit thick.
- Once the cooking is done, pour the mixture into a glass, ceramic or clay jar. Let it cool down mixing every 5-10 minutes to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
- Once tejuino is at room temperature cover with a kitchen towel and let it ferment undisturbed in a dark and cool place for 2-3 days (see notes).
- Put crushed ice on a large pitcher filling up to half its capacity.
- Add tejuino to fill about ⅔; you’ll notice that the mixture is a bit coagulated, it’s normal so don’t worry.
- Then add a teaspoon of coarse salt and the juice of 2 or 3 limes. Mix with a spoon until combined.
- Adjust lemon and salt and let it rest from 5 to 10 minutes to let the ice melt and dilute the mixture a bit.
- Serve on glasses with more crushed ice or a scoop of lime sorbet .