My first homemade tortillas in America

By: M. Ramirez

When I was growing up in Oaxaca, Mexico, my grandmother would tell me that a good tortilla has to be thin and of course circular, but to get this right just by using your hands is really hard.

My grandma taught me many years ago how to make tortillas in one of the many traditional ways. We used real masa, made from fresh ground corn and plastic bags cut in circles. The process was actually rather simple: Put a ball of masa in that piece of plastic, and slap it to make the tortilla. When the ball is flattened into something that resembles a tortilla, cook it on your comal. Now, like almost everybody I am too busy to make tortillas from scratch and I have to buy them. 

Now living in the U.S. and given my current circumstance, I cannot go to the market often, so I decided to buy “Maseca” and make tortillas myself. I did not know how difficult this was going to be without all the tools that I used to have available to me. Just getting the perfect consistency of the dough is not easy. 

First, I mixed some Maseca and water…the masa was too dry, so I added  water until it all smoothed out. As a result I had to add more maseca. I repeated this process a few times until I got perfect consistency. 

I started to make a small ball, easy! As I mentioned before, my Abuela told me that a good tortilla has to be thin and circular using your hands, which is a real challenge. In my first try it was so thin in the middle that it broke in the center.

The second try it was broken on the edge. After some tries  I got something close to a good tortilla, then it was time to cook it. 

I do not have “comal”  and had to use a non-stick pan in my electric stove. I put my tortilla on it,  just one because there is not space for more than one. I waited to flip it and waited and waited. Tortillas have to flip twice and then you have to leave it sitting there for a while. My stove is too slow for cooking. I was bored and hungry.

Finally, I had my first tortilla after a few minutes but I need at least 5 of them for my meat. I was in the kitchen for like 30 minutes to make 5 tortillas when in Oaxaca, the place of the “tlayudas”, I made them in just a couple of minutes. The good thing was that I ate my chile relleno with homemade tortillas.

Have you ever made tortillas from scratch? We would love to see the results, hit us up on Twitter @Milwaukeno or Facebook!

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