I bet you often overlook at the foundation of Mexican cuisine, the humble tortilla. Often people just starting to get interested in cooking Mexican food at home under-appreciate the tortilla. I must confess…I did so.
I thought making tortillas from scratch was too difficult and time-consuming. Or maybe you truly believe that store-bought tortillas taste just as good. The truth of the matter, of course, is that fresh, homemade tortillas have a wonderful flavor that you just can’t get at the store.
If you truly want to regularly bring the true Mexican flavor into your home or simply want to become an expert Mexican cook, invest in a tortilla maker you can use at home.
Making Your Tasty Mexican Tortillas
[gard]The first step to making tortillas is to make the dough, or masa. I can hear you saying “but Marcela, turning corn into flour is extremely time consuming” therefore I recommend you to purchase corn flour or masa harina at the store, rather than making it yourself.
- To make a dozen tortillas, just mix two cups of the flour with one cup of water and a dash of salt, knead the mixture for three or four minutes, then cover it and let it sit for an hour.
- Once your dough is ready, you need to divide it into small balls and make the tortillas. In the olden days, Mexican women made tortillas completely by hand, and became such experts that they could pat out perfectly round, wafer thin tortillas using nothing but their hands. Nowadays, it is much more common to use a tortilla press to do this.
- After using the tortilla press to flatten your dough balls into tortillas, you need to cook the tortillas. Traditionally, this is done using a cast iron skillet. Just add a bit of oil to the skillet and cook both sides of the tortilla for a few seconds. Then pop it into a tortilla basket to keep it warm until serving.
How to Choose Your Tortilla Press
I had a great lesson while researching this topic. I didn’t know much about tortilla makers until I started to look seriously at buying one. I found when choosing your tortilla press, you will have plenty of options.
Traveling throughout Mexico I found many women using cast iron and even wooden tortilla presses, but a cast aluminum tortilla press is also an option.
Aluminum has the advantage of being rust-proof and also much lighter than iron or wood. Of course, in a modern kitchen there is a gadget for everything, and a gadget for making tortillas perfectly and efficiently is not an exception. This is when the tortilla makes and electric tortilla cookers come in.
When choosing an electric tortilla cooker, you’ll probably want to choose one that has temperature settings marked in degrees, rather than just high and low. That way you will be sure not to burn your tortillas in the tortilla maker.
You should also look for quality non-stick coating. The electric tortilla press flattens and cooks the tortillas at the same time, saving you time and effort.
Wanting to Impress? Do It By Making Simple Tortilla Bowls
[gard]One fun thing to do with your tortillas is to make tortilla bowls for taco salad. You can buy a special fluted tortilla bowl mold, or else just use any metal bowl to create a round shape.
Just heat the oven to 450, place the lightly greased bowl upside down on a cookie sheet, and drape a tortilla over it. Cook for 10 minutes and then allow the tortilla to cool on the bowl so it will retain its shape.
This is a very simple process and it makes you look like a pro. Homemade tortilla bowls? Yes, simple and tasty. Ready to make your tortillas? Please let me know if you made them and send me a picture to share with other tortilla makers!