So how can I live in San Diego (or Southern California for that matter) without learning how to make fresh corn tortillas? They are so EASY to make, and the taste of freshly made tortillas is to die for… perfect for soft tacos! (I’ve been making grilled shrimp tacos using lime-coconut marmalade as a marinade, with cilantro-avocado relish – Yum!)
The process starts with Masa Harina, a special Mexican corn flour. The corn is treated with an alkali solution in a process known as “nixtamalization” – the alkali solution (lye or limewater) helps to improve the nutritional content of the corn, releasing niacin. I bought a big 5 lb. bag of Masa Harina at the local supermarket (baking aisle, near the regular wheat flour), for about the same price as one package of pre-made tortillas. I got my tortilla press from Amazon, for less than $20. The tortilla press really helps to speed up the process of tortilla making… but if you don’t have one, you can roll out the masa dough by hand using a rolling pin.
- 2 c. masa harina
- 1 1/4 c. hot tap water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
1. Mix the masa, salt, and water in a bowl. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes to hydrate the dough. Knead the dough for 1 minute.
2. Take portions of dough and roll between your palms to make about 15-17 one inch dough balls.
3. Slit a large ziploc bag down the sides, and line the tortilla press. Place one dough ball (slightly off center) in the press.
4. Flip the upper portion of the ziplock bag over to cover the dough ball, place the top of the tortilla press down, and press down the handle with gentle pressure.
5. Carefully peel off the plastic from the tortilla, and carefully place in a hot cast iron skillet. Cook for 45-50 seconds on one side.
6. Flip over, and cook another 45-50 seconds.
7. Stack tortillas in a paper towel lined Tupperware container.