Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tortilla Heaven

My girlfriend's stepmother is Mexican and so packaged tortillas, fake salsa, and other imitations don't cut it. Thankfully, we got her stepmom's recipes over the holidays and have finally managed to make real tortillas and make a true Mexican style salsa (i.e. a more liquid salsa which isn't chunky at all). The result was a delicious supper where we pilled tonnes of roasted pork (which we would have made with achiote and orange juice if we hadn't lost our precious brick of spices), canned refried beans (I've been informed that these taste as good as the originals), chopped tomatoes, iceberg lettuce slices, some hotsauce for me, grated cheddar and sour cream. We would have made some mashed avocado but, to put it lightly, it had lost it's freshness.
Now if you do attempt to make the tortillas you must be forewarned that it really isn't an exact science. It's like watching an Italian grandmother make rules and no mesuring cups. It's all about good old fashion a bit o' this and a bit o' that. But when you do finally arrive at the perfect mix, you'll never want to eat store bought tortillas ever again.

One last tip is that you can make your own tortillas using Maseca mix (which are corn tortillas). Just throw in the wet ingredients and you've got tortillas. But, like dehydrated potatoes and boxed pancakes, the results are always better when you start from scratch.

Have fun!

Real Mexican Tortillas
1 kg all purpose flour
160 g tenderflake
2 tbsp sugar

Boil about 5 cups of water with salt. Take out 1 cup flour from the 1 kg and set aside for use during the rolling of the dough. Mix flour, sugar and tenderflake. Slowly add boiling water a but at a time until it has a dough texture. Make sur not to add too much water. Mix well as you are adding the water till it had been incorporated and then add more water if necessary. When the dough is ready, divide it into small balls about the size of a racketball. Flatten balls into something that looks like a tortilla with a rolling pin. The tortillas have to be very thin; if they're too thick it won't work.

Cook tortillas in a shallow frying pan. Put flattened dough in on one side for about 30 seconds, then flip them on the other side. At this point air bubbles will start to puff up the tortilla. Simply press on tortilla with a paper towel to let air out. Finally, flip tortilla onto uncooked side finish cooking. And that's it. You should now have a beautiful mound of blistery fresh tortillas. (Don't be shy to put a good lump butter on a really hot tortilla to enjoy as you work).

Mexican salsa
4 garlic cloves
3 tomatoes, skinned by scoring and putting in boiling water for a minute or so
1 onion
1/2 jalapeno
2 tsp oregano
Put all ingredients in a blender. Add a bit of oil to a pot and cook the salsa for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste salsa then add salt and pepper.

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