Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In honor of the Mexican semi-holiday, here's my newest trial into Mexican cooking: homemade corn tortillas!

I bought a bag of masa a few months ago for Pioneer Woman's Simple Meaty Chili, and used 1/2 cup in the recipe. So the rest of the bag sat in my pantry, taunting me.

After reading the bag, the only other uses I could see other than thickening more chili, was to make it to it's original purpose: corn tortillas.

Why would I make my own tortillas?
1. Health - my tortillas have minimal ingredients: corn flour & water. No partially hydrogenated fats, no preservatives to make them shelf stable.

2. Cheap - for the cost of one package of prepared tortillas, you can buy one bag of corn flour and make 66 tortillas.

In full disclosure, I do not own a tortilla press. But I do own some heavy cast iron pans, so I thought in a pinch I could smash the crap out of them myself.

While I followed the recipe from the Maseca corn flour bag, I got the most technique tips from Texas Cooking

Corn Tortillas
Makes 8 tortillas


1 cup masa
2/3 cup warm water
(or follow proportions on your bag of corn flour)
    1. Mix the Masa Harina and the water; knead to form your masa (dough) (or get your son to stir, stir, stir then knead)

    2. Pinch off a golf-ball sized piece of masa and roll it into a ball

    3. Set the masa on a piece of plastic in the tortilla press; cover with another piece of plastic (I used a thick storage bag cut in half because it worked better than regular plastic wrap - and yes, my storage bag says "Broccoli & Cauliflower $1.00 - Thanks Produce Club!)

    4. Press the masa (or in my case, smash evenly with a cast iron skillet)

    5. Transfer the tortilla by peeling it off the plastic to a hot, dry skillet (I used another cast iron pan)

    6. Cook for about 30 seconds on one side; gently turn

    7. Cook for about 60 seconds (it should puff slightly); turn back to the first side

    8. Cook for another 30 seconds on the first side

    9. Remove and keep the tortilla warm

      The first time I made tortillas, I used them immediately to wrap up into chicken enchiladas (with homemade enchilda sauce).

      The 2nd time, I made the tortillas a day in advance, stashed them in the frig and fried them up for tostadas the next night.

      I topped the tostadas with homemade Refried Beans, cheese, lettuce and Corn & Black Bean Salsa.

      The verdict?
      Oh. my. gosh. Now I know which of my favorite Mexican restaurants make their own tortillas, because the texture and taste is so far superior to store-bought.

      I enjoyed the homemade tortillas more in the enchiladas, and while they were good fried for tostadas, the work of making the tortillas one day, then frying them the next was a little too much for me. The next time I need a good cooking project, I'll make a double batch and see how they freeze, because the taste was totally worth it.

      Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking


      1. Being gluten intolerant, I have made these. They ARE superior in flavor. I find, however, that they break easily when using as wraps. If I could bring myself to fry them I suppose that wouldn't be a problem. (?) And yes, they freeze well.

      2. @ Nancy - I agree, they do break easily. We had them as regular tacos last weekend, and by the end, your taco was kinda a mess. But, I'm glad they freeze well, that will be my next run at them!

      3. Wow those look so good! Did they come out perfectly round or did you need to trim them a little? Also I love the Black Bean Salsa, I make one but add seedless cucumber...super good during hot summer months!

      4. @ Candi - they did come out round after squishing them with the pan, which I was pretty surprised! No trimming!

        The cucumber addition to the black bean salsa is a good one, since I get lots of cucumbers from my produce club that sometimes don't get eaten, which is almost shameful in our house! Good idea!