I have to admit, the refrigerator here in the house is in need of better attention. Much to G’s exasperation, I tend to stock the fridge with food for the cooking blog a little too avidly that it is difficult to keep neat and orderly. The afternoon I made my blackened tilapia fish tacos, I started the prep assuming somewhere behind the Tupperware stacks of ingredients and leftovers was a package of corn tortillas. I fried the fish, shredded the cabbage, diced the pico de gallo, readied the salsa roja , opened the fridge for the tortillas and found nada. Zip, zilch, zero.
I could have eaten the tilapia and its fixings sans tortilla but you know how it is when you are set on something nothing else will do. I rummaged the pantry in happenstance that I will find hard taco shells and discovered instead an unopened instant masa that I bought months ago for no known purpose. I called a Mexican friend for guidance and set out to make homemade corn tortillas. I could have uncomplicated things by making a quick run to the store for a pack but I was glad I took the extra effort. No store bought tortillas can come close to the awesomeness of tortillas made from scratch. And easy to make, too. The batch was done in less time it would have taken me to drive to the store and back.
- 1 cup instant masa (masa harina)
- 1/2 cup warm water
In a bowl, combine masa and water. With fingers, work water into masa until mixture becomes a soft dough. If dough is dry and crumbly, add a little bit more water. If too wet and sticky, add a little bit more masa.
Shape dough into a ball, cover with a damp cloth and allow to stand for about 15 to 20 minutes. Divide dough into 6 pieces and shape each into a ball.
Line a tortilla press with plastic film (or wax paper), place dough ball in center and with palm of hands, press to flatten slightly. Place another plastic film on top and close tortilla press firmly to completely flatten dough into desired thickness. Peel plastic film.
Heat an ungreased griddle or pan over high heat. Place tortilla and cook, turning once, until tortilla begins to puff and is lightly spotted with brown on each side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Stack cooked tortillas and cover with a dry cloth towel.
Do not use cornmeal for this recipe. Mara harina are available in most Latin supermarkets. If you do not have a tortilla press, a heavy, flat object such as a cast iron skillet can be used to flatten the dough.