My daughter Maddie is learning how to cook and now learning how to blog about it too. She's only 11 years old and doesn't let her cerebral palsy get in her way. She's an amazing kid and I hope she continues to experience the enjoyment of cooking and writing about it. - RG
How to Make Homemade Tortillas
by Maddie Jones, daughter, student, all around great kid
Hello, it is Maddie here and today I wanted to tell you how we spiced it up in the kitchen this week. We have a very close friend of ours who was born and raised in Mexico and I can tell you first hand that her Mexican food is to die for.
But today I wanted tell you how we made homemade masa tortillas. Now like me, you might not know what masa is. It's finely grounded corn that feels like sugar, but taste like corn. It got its name because corn in Spanish is maíz.
All you do is add water to the masa "flour" and mix it and it creates dough. Then you make the dough into 16 equal 5-6 inch balls. Now here's where I come in.
I have a kitchen tool that is small and circular with a handle that is called a tortilla press. You put a piece of plastic down and then one of the small balls of dough and then another piece of plastic down so it doesn't stick and press it down and it makes the dough look like a small, thin pancake.
Then I hand it to my dad and he cooks it like a pancake on medium high heat for about 50 seconds on each side. Then you do it again and again until there is no more batter.
The trickiest part of all is to not break it. It is so hard not to break it because it is so thin but other than that you just need masa "flour", tortilla press, water, medium bowl and a pan.
My favorite part though was watching our friend cook; she does everything with her bare hands even when it comes to flipping the tortillas! That's not even the most surprising part - she can eat those hot and spicy jalapeno peppers like it's nothing. It is amazing.
I made quesadillas with them; I hope I inspired you to do this at home!
Here's the Masa Flour we used. The instant corn masa flour is sometimes called masa harina and is masa in a dried and powdered form. Masa is made from hominy which is corn that is dried and treated with lye to loosen the hull and soften the corn.
Our friend Paula prefers using her hands for mixing the masa and water.
Here's the size of one tortilla ball before going into the press.
This tortilla press was a gift from Paula. She told us it is probably 25 years old or older. You can find these on line and they are very inexpensive.
You can see we used a zip lock bag cut in half and then cut to the shape of the press. The plastic sheets help keep the dough from sticking to the press.
Here's what they look like after pressing.
Right onto a heated flat pan if you have one or a regular frying pan will work too. We did not use any oil to cook these.
My oldest daughter Nell saw how much fun we were having and decided to have a go at it.
Here's a fresh home made tortilla with a simple eggplant, greens and tomato filling. Paula would have added a few fresh slices of jalapeno but the kids and I opted out.
Homemade Tortilla Recipe
- Tortilla Press
- Non-stick Pan
- Medium Bowl
- 2 cups Masa flour
- 1¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt optional
- First combine in the medium size bowl, the 2 cups masa flour with the 1¼ cups of water and ¼ tsp. salt (optional).
- Then divide the dough into 16 equal 5-6 inch balls.
- Next flatten each ball with the tortilla press till you can see the edge of the tortilla.
- Then cook them on a non-stick pan for 50 seconds on each side.
- Lastly let them cool for a little.