Categories:Cinco De Mayo Cooking Lessons - Cooking 101 Corn Fried Bread Mexican Southwest Breads Tortillas
How To Make Homemade Corn Tortillas
By Cynthis Detterick-Pineda. or Andrews, TX.
My first experience with corn tortillas came years ago when I was still in high school. I would go to the home of a friend after school, and as most of the “moms” in this area who are of Spanish descent, she would be in the kitchen cooking up a snack. I say snack because it was never intended to be a meal, even if there was most than enough food for at least one meal if not more.
Abby (my friend) was not Mexican, but Puerto Rican. Her mother cooked in a classically Puerto Rican style, which included fresh corn tortillas with every meal. I would watch her as she mixed the masa, form the balls, and place them in the tortilladora to press them. Seems easy doesn’t it? Well, I found out later that it was not nearly as easy as she had made it seem.
Maybe if I had been doing it for 20 years, my first batch would have come out looking better and even edible! So for those of you who dare to try it, and you won’t regret the effort it takes.
Below are some step-by-step instructions on how to make your own fresh corn tortillas.
Population in the United State and far northern parts of Mexico, wheat flour is what the immediate assumption when someone mentions tortillas. Corn, however, was the starch used throughout Mexico and large portions of the southwest for hundreds of years before wheat flour was introduced. Even with the massive amounts of wheat grown in the United States, it remains second behind the production of maize (and corn) as a bread/cereal crop.
Even with the popularity of flour tortillas in the northern parts of the Southwest, the corn tortilla will always have its place. Enchiladas, tacos, chilequilas, flautas, and or course the chips served in almost every Mexican/Spanish restaurant are only a fraction of the numerous dishes centered on the corn tortilla. This is not to say you cannot use flour tortillas for these entrees, but there is a reason to using the corn tortilla versus the flour.
Corn tortillas are not as likely to soak up the sauces used in some dishes (enchiladas for example). Flour tortillas would simply become soggy, mushy gruel if used in a dish with a large amount of sauce. Corn tortillas also fry better, partly because they do not soak up as much oil as flour tortillas, but also because they will continue to hold their crisp shape even when they have cooled down. For dishes that would work equally well with either the flour or the corn tortilla, it simply comes down to personal taste. The same goes for serving tortillas on the side.
So why do almost all restaurants serve only flour tortillas on the side? Some will give patrons the choice, but even with a choice, most people of European descent will opt for the flour tortilla to go with their meal. Maybe it is because wheat flour based breads are what our ancestors ate for thousands of years, or because we simply have not been exposed to the wonderful, light and delicate flavor of a freshly cooked corn tortilla.
Also learn how to make Flour Tortillas (Tortillas de Harina).
Learn about the history of Tortillas and Tacos.
Corn Tortilla Recipe – Tortillas de Maiz: