Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got til it’s gone
Preach it, Joni Mitchell! No words more true were ever sung. Not only is it applicable to life and love but also food. Case in point, the American version of Mexican food is head and shoulders ahead of Europe or Asia’s. I didn’t know how blessed I was in eating at the local taqueria in Seattle until I experienced what passed for Mexican in other places of the world.
It’s not that people in other countries can’t get the same ingredients to make a decent batch of fajitas, salsa or chiles rellenos because they can. It’s just that they overlook the importance of the small details like corn tortillas. Enchiladas just aren’t the same without corn tortillas. I feel let down when given a flour tortilla or even when someone refers to it as a ‘wrap’. Worse off, I can’t get my hands on corn tortillas in my local Malaysian grocery store. This left me with one option – learn how to make it on my own. It should be easy, right? Nope. Not for me. The dough stuck to everything, I have no tortilla press, and it quickly fell apart in my hands.
However, I am NOT a quitter which led to experimenting with batch after batch of sticky corn dough. Flash forward past many attempts and I am happy to say I am satisfied with the end result. The softness and malleability of a flour tortilla mixed with the taste of a corn. These are fairly simple and easy to make and are perfect for tacos, enchiladas or fried until crispy in huevos rancheros. Now, I’ll never be without.
1 1/2 cups masa harina
1 cup flour
2 tbsp clarified butter/pork fat/vegetable shortening
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup hot water
Combine masa harina, flour and salt together. Add clarified butter/pork fat/vegetable and incorporate into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be slightly crumbly. Add hot water and mix together until dough sticks together and is slightly moist like playdough. Cover and let sit for 45min-1 hour.
When cool, take out dough and knead it for a minute or two on a clean and dry surface. Roll the dough out into a long strip about 1in/2cm thick. Using a knife, cut dough into 1cm/0.5 inch thick discs.
Cut out two large sheets of wax paper or any other non-stick baking paper. Take a disc of dough and place it on top of the wax paper sheet. Place another sheet of wax paper on top. Using a rolling pin, flatten out the dough that is in between the wax paper lengthwise then width wise until tortilla is at your desired thickness and size.
Next, heat a non stick frying pan over high heat. When surface is hot, gently peel the tortilla from the wax paper and place in the hot pan. Cook for 30-45 sec on each side or until dough has changed color and consistency and is producing a nice brown but not overly burnt color. Remove to a plate and let cool.
When cool, make sure to wrap up the tortillas in cling film or a large ziplock bad and refrigerate or freeze for later.