Homemade Tortillas are Easy to Make
When I think Mexican food, the first thing we think of is the Taco. From there, my mind recalls enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, etc… But yes, when my mind wonders about south-of-the-border cuisine, it always begins with the taco. There’s nothing like an authentic street taco straight from the truck.
The thing about tacos is that when we make them at home, it’s seems impossible to replicate the same level of deliciousness our favorite Mexican joint serves us. Why is that? Tacos seem like a rather basic dish, right?
It starts with the tortilla. The tortilla will make or break a taco.
The following is a recipe for some of the best corn tortillas you’ll ever have. And, for a fraction of the cost of what’s offered at your local supermarket.
The Crunchy Tortilla — leave these at Taco Bell
Many home chefs rely on the store-bought hard shell that’s reminiscent of Taco Bell’s Americanized version of the taco. If they are you’re go-to taco ingredient, it’s time to stop using these pre-molded hard-shells. Taco Bell has its place, but it’s not with a street taco. The soft shelled taco is the way of the Mexican Jedi.
Supermarket Soft Corn Tortillas
Until I started making tortillas at home, I hated purchasing corn tortillas. The super market version was never like a street taco. For me, this prepackaged version always began a process of disintegration as soon as any level of moisture touched them. As soon as salsa was added to my taco, the bottom would drop out. Even if I doubled up on the tortilla, the fight to avoid spilled taco on my lap was a never-ending battle.
The $14 Street Taco
Recently, after paying $14 for two tiny tacos from a food truck, I questioned the cost of taco-making. The ingredients of a single taco is well-below $2. But the key of a really good taco is the tortilla. So, I asked, “how hard is it, really, to make my own tortillas?”
What I discovered is that it’s very easy to make awesome tortillas at home. All that’s needed is four ingredients and two key pieces of equipment, a $15-20 tortilla press and parchment paper.
Homemade Corn Tortilla Recipe
- Be certain the water is boiling hot when hydrating the masa. Warm water just doesn’t hydrate the masa completely.
- Use a medium-size ice cream scoop for measuring masa balls. This will produce 13-16 small tortillas.
- Use parchment paper to line both sides of the tortilla press. Many tortilla presses are cast iron, and pressing the balls of masa directly on the metal creates a sticky mess.
- Use a large skillet frying pan to cook three small tortillas at a time. I found cooking one tortilla at a time can take as long as 90 minutes for the entire batch. A large skillet will shorten active cooking time to 20-25 minutes.
- Get a tortilla warmer. They’re inexpensive, under $15. I recommend this brand of warmers; it can keep tortillas piping hot for up to 2 hours.