post by Helen

Watching Food Network has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, but now that I'm sort of an adult, I've been trying to minimize the watching aspect of food preparation in favor of actually learning to make things. Today, my amazing (and very patient) host mom taught me how to make tortillas!!

The tortilla-making process is pretty complex. It starts with corn. After you take all the corn kernels off the cob, you have to boil it with agua de cal (calcified water) in order to remove the outer shell of each kernel. After the corn boils for a while, it is washed very well in order to get rid of any traces of calcium. Then, the corn is ground with a mortar and pestel until it becomes masa (basically corn batter). 

Then comes the really fun part! 

Vicky has a special prensa (press) for tortilla making that I got to use! In order to flatten the masa into a tortilla shape, a small ball of masa is placed between two thin, circular pieces of wax paper and put on to the tortilla press. Then, all you have to do is lower the top of the prensa and press down hard in order to flatten the masa into a circular shape.  This process is repeated until all sides of the tortilla are evenly flattened. 
Me smushing some tortillas into shape
Finally, the tortillas are put on a big grill over an open fire and heated until they are slightly brown and incredibly delicious!
The hard part is taking it off without a spatula...
Finally, the tortillas are ready to eat! Learning how to do this has been one of the highlights of my week!
Alex Mannix
7/6/2013 06:10:07 am

and all of this while I was in the shower...bad timing on my part!

Lady Cracker
7/6/2013 01:09:47 pm

So many tortillas! So little time! When you get home would you make your own tortillas from the masa preparado? Or, are they so much more delicious from the corn you soak and grind your own?

7/6/2013 01:13:30 pm

I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat any store-bought tortillas again!

Maria Baker
8/13/2013 07:34:52 am

Wow, Helen! From now on, whenever I get to eat one tortilla I will think about all of the steps that it takes to actually make one.

10/12/2013 01:44:05 am

You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.


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