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Agave Gelatin (Nicuatole)

Bat Week Recipe - Nicuatole

Submitted by: Francisco Javier Cruz Sánchez, Cultural Chef
Country of Origin:  Mexico (Oaxaca)

Ingredients:
1 cup of cornmeal (bat protected)
1 ½ cups water
½ cup of agave syrup (bat pollinated)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 cup of sugar
½  Tbsp. vanilla
Grana cochinilla (you can substitute red coloring)

Directions:
Dissolve the cornmeal in water as a paste and put on medium heat. Add the agave syrup and cinnamon stick. Mix constantly and reduce heat until it thickens. Once can you see the inside of the casserole, remove from heat and place into a mold. Mix the sugar with the grana cochinilla (red coloring) and sprinkle in the nicuatole/gelatin mix. Refrigerate until solid. Cut into desired shapes and serve.

Role of bats in this recipe:
The presence of bats in corn fields is of great benefit from the time the kernels are planted to the moment of harvest. They are very effective in insect control. In other words, bats provide ecosystem services through biological control, helping all farmers to reduce pests in their crops and finally, to reduce the use of noxious pesticides that also affects the health of human populations.

Cultural significance:
Local stories tell that the kings of indigenous tribes ate nicuatole to recover the energy lost during battles. In fact, some say Cuauhtémoc consumed “necuatolli”, a sweet made of thick corn, which was given to children so they would grow strong due to its high nutritional content.

To speak of nicuatole to speak of corn. This Oaxacan dessert originated in San Agustín Yatareni in the Central Valley of Oaxaca. Yatareni means “tortilla de sangre” (blood tortilla), because the nicuatole alludes to the final appearance of this community.

El nicuatole is so important that it is included in a fair celebrated in July, the days of the Guelaguetza, where food, culture, customs and traditions of the municipality of San Agustín Yatareni are celebrated.

Original Language Recipe
Nicuatole (Agave gelatin)

Receta por: Francisco Javier Cruz Sánchez
Pais de Origen:  Mexico (Oaxaca) Ingredientes;
200 gr masa de maíz (protegido por murciélagos)
400 ml agua
100 ml miel de agave (polinizado por murciélagos)
1 rama canela
80 gr azúcar
½  cda de vainilla
c/s grana cochinilla (Se puede sustituir por colorante rosa)

Modo de preparación:
Disolver la masa en el agua, colar y llevar a fuego medio; agregar la miel de agave y la rama de canela. Mover constantemente y reducir hasta espesar, una vez que se vea el fondo de la cazuela, retirar del fuego y colocar en un molde. Mezclar azúcar con la grana cochinilla (o colorante) y espolvorear el nicuatole; refrigerar hasta que endurezca, cortar en la forma deseada y servir.

Rol de los murciélagos en los ingredientes de la receta:
La presencia de los murciélagos en los cultivos de maíz tiene un gran beneficio desde el momento de siembra hasta el momento de cosecha; el control sobre las especies de insectos que llevan a cabo los murciélagos es muy eficaz. Dicho en otras palabras, los murciélagos cumplen su servicio ecosistémico contribuyendo al control biológico, ayudando a todos los agricultores con la disminución de plagas en sus cultivos y, por ende, a reducir el uso de pesticidas nocivos que afectan también la salud de la población humana.