Home-made Tortilla and Tortilla Chips

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.” Samuel Pepys

Tortillas date back to 10,000 years before Christ. It was the principal food of the Aztecs and Spanish conquerors looking for gold, when reached the highlands of Mexico, found the civilization that had the most delightful and unusual food. The main diet of people was corn; it supplied the necessary starch, the main source of energy, as well as protein and a little fat. Sometimes the corn was eaten raw on the cob but in most cases it was stored dry and ground into corn meal, corn flour and corn dough. Indians traditionally soaked the corn kernels in a lime solution until the skins came off, which made the making of the corn flour a lot easier. Still today this ancient method of making tortillas is still being followed, working with a stone slab grinding the soaked kernels into flour (masa harina). The flour can be white, yellow or any color the raw corn is.

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The tortilla ingredients are simple but if the temperature, quantity of the mix is not right, the tortillas will not come out perfect. In Mexico a young girl will spend years learning the secrets to making the perfect tortilla to be able to get married.

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Ingredients
200 g fine polenta (cornmeal)
200 g corn flour
2 teaspoon of salt
300 ml very hot water

To make the Tortillas:
In a medium bowl, mix together corn flour, polenta and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is too sticky, add more corn flour; if it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Preheat a cast iron or heavy-based griddle to medium-high. Divide dough into 15 equal-size balls. Using a a rolling pin, or hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap. Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough.

“Humanity has eaten more than 80,000 plant species through its evolution. … we now rely on just eight crops to provide 75 percent of the world’s food.” Vandana Shiva

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To make the Crisps:
Cut the tortillas into triangles, spray with a bit of olive olive and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Organize them on a baking tray and bake in a 210 degrees C oven for about 15 minutes.

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