Friday, June 11, 2010

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Why buy tortillas at the store when you can make your own??? If you thought you couldn't make your own, I'm going to beg to differ, cause I'm going to show you how. It's not that hard, I promise, you'll see! Now I'm sure you can find many places on the web to learn how to do this, but I've been making my own quite a bit lately, and several people have mentioned they'd like to see a tutorial of sorts, so here is my humble take on the matter.

I'm sure I still have a lot to learn , but I think at least for now, I've finally gotten to the point where I can make these babies with some amount of confidence that I'll slay my dinner guests when it's taco night. Ok, granted, usually the only ones eating them are just me and my honey, but I'm telling you, these tortillas slay the living crap out of us, so much so that we now look for ANY EXCUSE to have taco night!

And you know what else is cool? They're CHEAP! You can't beat delicious AND inexpensive!

You'll see from the pictures below that I use a tortilla press to flatten the little balls of masa into tortillas. You can buy one for about $10 - $20 at your local Mexican grocery store, and there are also many places they are available online, like here for instance. (And that big boy in the background is Bloom, who is very interested in taco night, as is Spider, who was busy working on her beauty sleep when this shot was taken.)

The next thing you'll need is some masa harina, which is very finely ground corn flour made from corn that has been dried, cooked, ground up and dried again. The cooking water always contains slaked lime, also known as “limewater,” which gives masa harina its distinctive taste. I use the Maseca brand, which you can also get at your local Mexican grocery store. However, your local store just might carry the fresh masa, in which case you won't have to mix the dough yourself. If you're working from the masa harina, here's how you do it. This recipe makes enough for 8 tortillas, but of course you can double or triple it as you see fit.

Measure out 1 cup of the masa harina, stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt, and slowly stir in 2/3 cup water. Stir it well until a dough forms.
If the dough seems too dry & cakey, slowly and in small increments, add a little more water.

I've found that it works best when the dough ends up being the consistency of Playdough - smooth, pliable and a little bit moist.

You want to be able to easily separate the dough into 8 pieces which you can roll into balls. Once you've done this part, cover the bowl with a damp towel in order to keep them moist.

Now you're ready to press the tortillas. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on either side of your tortilla press and place one of the balls in the middle of the bottom side of the press.

Now pull the arm down and press!

Open carefully, and gently remove the tortilla.

Place it into a pre-heated skillet over medium heat. I use a very well seasoned cast iron skillet, but you can also use a nonstick. The main point is that you don't want the tortillas to stick.

Cook them for a little less than one minute per side, and then you're done!

You can eat your tacos right away, with or without cheap wine from Trader Joe's. Load the tacos up with whatever suits your fancy, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.


Miss Lisa said...

You so totally rule with your corn tortilla tutorial.

Emily said...

uh.. so jealous! I remember you making these back in the alley. YUM!

Soup and Song said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies! I think I a taco party is in order before the end of the summer, don't you?

Miss Lisa said...

I was just thinking that! I was mentally planning a taco party as soon as I read your post. I've made tortillas before (I had to borrow a press from Jackson's preschool--they used it for play-doh), and they were certainly yummy. Worth doing again.

Soup and Song said...

You can certainly borrow my press any time you like!