Piki (or piki bread) is a rolled bread made by the Hopi with nixtamalized corn meal. Blue corn and culinary ash give it a dark grayish-blue color. The light, thin sheets are dry to the point of brittleness and have a delicate corn flavor. It is considered the Hopi version of the tortilla.
Blue corn, a staple grain of the Hopi, is first reduced to a fine powder on a metate. It is then mixed with water and burnt ashes of native bushes or juniper trees for purposes of nixtamalization (nutritional modification of corn by means of lime or other alkali). The thin batter is then smeared by hand over a large flat baking stone that has been heated over a fire and coated with oil made from pounded seeds of the native American plants squash and sunflower, and also from the seeds of watermelon, which though originally from Africa, has been in the Americas for at least 500 years. Piki bread bakes almost instantaneously and is peeled from the rock in sheets so thin they are translucent. Several sheets of the bread are often rolled up loosely into flattened scrolls.
Piki takes several days to make from scratch. Piki is prepared by women in various phases of the courtship and marriage ritual. It is eaten by the couple on the morning of the marriage ceremony.
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