Mexican Series#2 Corn Tortilla

Corn is a basic grain in Mexican cuisine and the Corn tortilla one of its Building blocks. There are problems with commercially bought corn tortillas, for us vegetarians-they might contain lard or animal fat , their thickness is usually atrocious - the mouth swims in the gummy taste of fat and not so tasty tortilla and lastly they are not fresh.

How important is freshness to a corn tortilla? So important that buying the Masa or freshly ground dough is fervently advocated by most people who make the corn tortillas. Most of us cannot obtain freshly ground masa, but i think for those who make rotis, making tortillas is just a change from wheat to corn dough really. Corn tortillas made at home only have two ingredients: Corn masa and water.

You can use your fresh corn tortillas in making tostadas, quesadillas, burritos or even fresh tortilla chips.

Equipment:For someone like me who makes tortillas occasionally, no special equipment is needed. Just use your roti making apparatus plus some cling film or wax paper. You need to buy the tortilla maker only if you make tortillas on a daily or weekly basis.

Tortilla de Maiz:
Yield 15 Tortillas

13/4 cups masa harina ( Look for the MASECA brand in the Hispanic section of your supermarket)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp hot tap water

1. The dough: Mix the Masa harina with the hot water and then knead until smooth, adding more water or more masa harina to achieve a very soft , but not sticky consistency.

Divide into fifteen balls and let rest for half an hour.

2. Heat a large, ungreased, heavy griddle. It is important that your griddle be heavy. I used my light roti/dosa tava and it flopped miserably. I then used my heavy cast iron grill pan to great success.

3. Take one ball of the masa harina between two sheets of clingfilm, and proceed to roll out with your rolling pin ( belan).

4. Put the tortilla on the heavy skillet. If the tava is properly hot, the tortilla should balloon up like a phulka. Now mine did not fluff up, but they tasted just as good! I guess ill need a lot more practice before i achieve that.

5. When browned, remove and wrap in a towel or kitchen cloth. Rest for about 15 minutes , to finish their cooking, soften and become pliable.

Recipe from Rick Bayless: Authentic Mexican