Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Extolling Atole de Grano



You can talk all you want of tacos, brag on birria, squawk about enchiladas de pollo, or marvel at menudo. But for me, the finest street food Pátzcuaro has to offer is atole de grano. It's pure, clean, nourishing, comforting and delicious, as well as cheap.
Our favorite spots are at either of the two side by side stands operated by sisters-in-law, near the pila or water tank on the south side of the Plaza Chica, close to the corner of Calle Iturbe. They are there after 5:00 p,m. until late, or when the atole runs out.

Atole de grano, unlike the usual atoles, is savory, not sweet. Regular atole is gruel for toothless geezers and babies. But atole de grano is made of fresh corn kernels, cooked al dente in a slightly thickened, light green broth, flavored with the herb anicillo. It's meaty but has no meat. It's fat free.

You can eat there or take it away. I prefer the former, so I can appreciated the lady vendor, calmly and tranquilly dipped up atole from her clay olla nestling on its charcoal brazier. It's even better after dusk.

It's good just as it comes from the olla, but you can squirt on lime juice, add chopped chiles manzanos, or for the truly daring, drizzle in some of the green liquid fire salsa de chiles serranos.

Someone will be at that corner nearly everyday to offer you sustenance, comfort, and a smile.

(I've written about this before, but just wanted to reaffirm my love for it.)

9 comments:

Felipe said...

I'm marginally fond of this gruel, but I eat it now and then. Didn't know the women were related. One seems to be far more popular than the other even though their gruel is virtually identical. I always buy from the less-popular stand because that's the kind of guy I am.

Steve Cotton said...

Well, that is certainly going on the list of places to eat on my next visit.

Marie said...

What's anicillo? (I thought it was flavored with anise, from word of a friend, but I actually haven't tried it yet...)

Alma (the mother) said...

I just finished comida, but this sounds (reads?) soooo gooood it (almost) made me hungry again. I will be sure to taste this delicacy next time I'm in Patzcuaro, heck I may even make a trip just to taste it. Thanks Mike!

Don Cuevas said...

Marie, anicillo is a green, fennel-like herb.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

Don Cuevas said...

Alma, que lo disfrute.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

Aurore Dupin said...

Greetings.

The denomination of this plate is "chileatole". "Atole de grano" or "atole de granillo" is made of -fresh corn kernels, cooked al dente in a slightly thickened- too, but without other ingredients. Not sweet too, it can accompany with "piloncillo".

The name of the herb also knows as "hojasanta" or "acuyo".

Good choice! :)

Don Cuevas said...

Thanks for the comment, Aurore. Similar dishes can be found in different regions of Mexico but with different names as well as variations in ingredients.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

Don Cuevas said...

Alma: we have more recently had a decent atole de grano on Avenida Galeana, just south of Aldama, but served in foam cups. It was not being cooked there, but was prepared elsewhere, so it lacked much of el encanto of the Pátzcuaro atole de grano.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas