Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Homemade Tortillas

I finally got around to making the homemade tortillas I mentioned a while back. I made them with masa harina. After a little research, I determined that "masa" is the fresh corn dough and "masa harina" is masa that has been dried and ground into a powder that can be reconstituted with water. So, it's kind of like a mix. It saves a lot of work, I assume, but supposedly, the results are not as flavorful compared to using fresh masa.

That said, I bought my masa harina at Aldi. We have a growing Mexican and Latin population here, but if you don't, you're Aldi store may not carry it. I have also seen it at Wal-Mart and most grocery stores here.

The method is simple. Mix 2 cups of masa harina with 1-1/8 cups water. It's easiest to just go ahead and use your hands for this, mixing the two until they are smooth and have the texture of Play-doh.

I cut my batch of dough into 16 pieces. This made rather small, 5" diameter tortillas. Since my plan was to make tostadas rather than tacos, this worked out fine. For tacos, I'd divide the dough into fewer (bigger) portions and shoot for 6" diameter tortillas.

I pressed the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap in my tortilla press. I suppose you could roll them by hand with a rolling pin, but the press makes them a more uniform thickness.

Chances are, none of them will be perfectly round.

But once in a while, you might come close.

Once pressed, quickly cook them in a very hot, dry skillet, about 30 seconds on each side. They can be served immediately (for soft and pliable corn tortillas) or you can allow them to dry a little, then deep fry them crunchy tostada or taco shells.

I ran into a little problem when frying my tortillas. Out of 16, all but 2 puffed in the middle like a pita pocket. The two that didn't were toward the end of the frying session, so I suspect the oil wasn't hot enough for the first ones. I'll be frying more again soon (maybe today) and will update if hotter oil seems to be the fix.

Here are the finished tostadas.

And now, I need one of these to make taco shells. Anyone know where to find them? I know I've passed them up at garage sales, and so far I've called five of the major discount and bath 'n' kitchen stores, and stopped at three Mexican food stores looking for one. They're available on eBay for a few dollars more than I expected to pay, but that may be where I have to buy one.

Of course, just as soon as I get one, they'll be at every garage sale or Wal-mart store I happen to shop.


ajooja said...

God, those look so good. My mom used to fry store-bought corn tortillas like that before using them for tacos. Mmmmmmmmm, tasty.

I think I might try to talk my co-workers into doing Mexican. I'm starving. :)

Donna said...

These look Wonderful and you make it look SO Easy!!! Thanks for the Pictures!!!hughugs

Karen said...

I have been thinking a lot about making my own corn tortillas, but since I have never done it or seen it done, I have not. thanks so much for your step by step pics, i will get some of that stuff next time I go to the store1