Have you ever wanted to make corn tortillas, but had no idea where to start? I actually never quite thought of it as a need in my life – but when I came across the new book, Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City’s Streets, Markets & Fondas ($24.95, hardcover, Kyle Books) by Lesley Téllez, my curiosity piqued. After visiting San Miguel de Allende last year, one of my favorite memories was watching the street vendors. Eat Mexico is all about those recipes, plus the life and culture surrounding them.
Lesley, a blogger for her site, The Mija Chronicles and former newspaper reporter, lived in Mexico City for four years when her husband scored a job there. Smitten with the food, she enrolled in culinary school and launched a business – Eat Mexico. It’s a company that offers culinary walking tours in Mexico City. She has since moved back to New York, but still has the business in Mexico City.
Knowing she was on to something special, she set out to write a book. Her friends helped her put together a book proposal (it took a year!) and even with an agent, she had yet to land a book deal. Then she attended the Latino Writers Conference and was able to pitch her book on stage in five minutes to editors. And…she got that book deal! Yes, there were a lot more steps involved, but she followed through! She started with 150 recipes, and that was whittled down to a lean 100+.
I found out that Lesley was coming through Phoenix on her month-long book tour… and worked it out so we could make a video. She taught me how to make corn tortillas! Actually, she is teaching all of us! I made a video tutorial of the entire process! I had a major fail the first try, but I didn’t give up.
There is nothing like the taste of homemade tortillas!
OK – to recap the video, you’ll need:
– Prepared masa nixamal (I bought some from Ranch Market)
– A comal, spatuala, and a tortilla press (I got mind from http://imusausa.com)
– Plastic bags cut into squares to line both sides of your comal
– A little bit of salt, butter or Queso Fresco cheese
Put your masa in a bowl and work your hands through it, then cover it with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
Line your tortilla press with the plastic sheets.
Heat up your comal to about medium high heat. Pinch off a golf ball-size piece of masa and roll it between your hands to form a ball. Place it on the bottom half of the press, set the plastic sheet on top, press lightly to flatten a bit, then use the press to flatten the ball. Lift the top of the press and peel off the tortilla and carefully place it on the heated comal.
Let it cook on one side until it gets dry around the edges, then flip it – you see some golden brown dots. Then once it looks dry, flip it again and wait until it bubbles. Lesley said this is important because it means that the masa is getting cooked inside. See the video for an up close view. Then that’s it! Place them somewhere to keep them hot!
Now eat! Add a little salt for flavor. You can add butter or cheese, mole, mini tacos, whatever you want!
Thank you so much to Lesley for sharing her time with us, please check out her book! On sale everywhere!