If you can lift a bag of masa harina, you can make homemade corn tortillas and enjoy soft, toasty, corny goodness tonight! Homemade tortillas are best kept simple with basic toppings such as a strip of grilled tempeh or a spoonful of guacamole. Or serve with beans or a hearty Mexican posole. The key is to keep fresh-off-the-grill tortillas well covered to keep them warm and pliable until it’s time to eat. This recipe isn’t really too different from what’s on the bag of masa, but I see it as a way to inspire making homemade tortillas in the event you’ve never tried! Delicious with chili and other Southwestern stews, such as Quick Red Posole with Beans. Recipe from Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers* by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.
Homemade Soft Corn Tortillas
Makes one dozen 5- to 6-inch tortillas
- 1 1⁄2 cups Mexican masa harina, such as MASECA brand
- 1 1⁄4 cups warm water
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- In a mixing bowl, combine the harina, water, and salt well to form a firm but pliable dough. If it’s too crumbly, stream in a little more water; if too moist, sift in a tiny bit more harina.
- Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth. Divide the dough into twelve equal portions and roll into balls. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel to keep moist.
- Heat a castiron skillet or griddle (avoid using nonstick) over medium high heat. Do not oil the skillet. The pan is ready when a few drops of water flicked onto its surface sizzle rapidly.
- If you’re using a tortilla press: Line the press with a single long piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper folded in half. Place a ball of dough in the center of the plastic wrap, squish down the dough, and bring down the lever to lock it in place. Alternatively, if you do not have a press, you can use two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper and a rolling pin. Place a ball of tortilla dough between the plastic and roll very thinly, less than 1/8 inch, turning the tortilla around a few times to get an even thickness.
- Now that your tortilla dough is flat, gently peel off the top layer of plastic. Flip the tortilla onto your hand, remove the second sheet of plastic, and place the tortilla in the pan. Cook on each side for 30 to 40 seconds, or until the surface of tortilla looks dry and feels mostly firm, not too doughy, when pressed. Take care not to overcook, to avoid hard, dry tortillas.
- Flip the hot, freshly cooked tortilla into a folded clean kitchen towel and cover completely with the towel to keep in the heat and steam. Continue to cook the rest of the dough and to stack and cover the tortillas.
- Serve the hot tortillas immediately. As the tortillas start to cool, they will stiffen and become more likely to crack if folded, so keep them wrapped in a clean cloth napkin or in a covered container, taking out only as many tortillas as you’re going to eat.
- Store tightly wrapped or covered in the fridge. Tortillas reheat perfectly in a microwave; just wrap in a damp paper towel and heat on high for 15 to 20 seconds, until hot and pliable.
Tip: An aluminum tortilla press makes tortillas so easy that maybe it’s tempting to skip toast at breakfast in favor of these. A quick Internet search can reveal quality tortilla presses for under ten dollars. A rolling pin and some waxed paper are fine substitutes for a press, but once you’re hooked on corn tortillas, it’s an investment that will pay for itself in endless moments of fresh tortilla joy.
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