Other Posts You May Like

Monday, October 10, 2016

Purple Corn Tortillas

Growing up in the dry, eastern side of Washington state, not too far from where my great-grandparents settled after leaving Mexico in 1923, I had my fair share of delicious, fresh-from-the-oven flour and corn tortillas. But after my family moved from Washington, the fresh tortillas were but a distant memory. Until, of course, I took things into my own hands.

I started making my own flour tortillas a few years ago, and, while a little time consuming, they are almost as good as what I remember from the local Mexican grocery store in Moses Lake, Washington. Corn tortillas, though, proved to be a little trickier.

A few months back I spotted this recipe for corn tortillas, basically from scratch, and it stayed in the back of my head for a while, lingering just close enough to the surface to keep me from buying tortillas from the grocery store. (Why buy if you can make it yourself? This question plagues me often.)

Once I finally took home a bag of the purple corn flour at Bazaar Spices, I was determined to make corn tortillas at home.

The dough comes together in minutes (literally), but the actual cooking of the tortillas does take some time (unless your kitchen is stocked with 4 small skillets, preferably cast iron, and you have an extra pair or two of hands around). I will also admit: the dough was a bit finicky at first, refusing to land perfectly flat on the skillet and never turning out in perfect, round circles. It can be a little frustrating, and your tortillas might not be perfectly flat. But you know what? These are the best corn tortillas I've had in a really long time - they actually taste like corn! - and I like to think that even my great grandparents would be impressed.

They're also gluten free and vegan - fancy that.

Purple Corn Tortillas
adapted from Mark Bitman's Almost-From-Scratch Corn Tortillas

1 1/4 cup masa harina (available at many grocery stores and Latin American markets)
1/4 cup purple corn flour, plus extra for kneading
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water, or more as needed

In a medium bowl, stir the masa harina, 1/4 cup purple corn flour, and sea salt together with a fork, then with a spoon mix in the vegetable oil. Pour in most of the water, mixing everything together with the spoon, then slowly add the rest of the water, stirring until a dough forms. Use more water if necessary.

Lightly flour a work surface with the extra purple corn flour, then knead the dough for a few minutes - it should be a fairly smooth dough but won't be elastic like when you're working with flour breads. (Actually, it will feel sort of like Play-Doh. Don't be alarmed.) Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic, then let rest for 30 minutes to a few hours.

When you're ready to make the tortillas, break off pieces about the size of a walnut (yielding about 15 pieces in all), then lightly roll them in purple corn flour. Flatten the pieces into thin circles with a tortilla press or between two pieces of plastic wrap. If using plastic wrap, just press the pieces into rough circles with your fingers and don't even bother with a rolling pin - less to clean up! Roll a few tortillas, then start cooking, rolling more while the tortillas cook.

Warm a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron is great, or a comal if you happen to have one) over medium heat for a few minutes. Swiftly flip a rolled tortilla onto the pan, and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side before flipping over with a spatula. Repeat with the rest, stacking them on a plate covered with aluminum foil to keep them warm. Leftovers keep in the refrigerator for up to a week - reheat them for a few minutes on the skillet before serving.

Yield: About 15 tortillas


Kara Elder grew up playing in the kitchen cupboards and reading cookbooks for fun while watching her mom cook tasty Mexican meals. After graduating with a degree in Russian, she found herself increasingly interested in reading food blogs and planning menus. Kara, her mom, and her sister started a food blog of their own, The Troika Table. Kara is a former Bazaar Spices Team Member and also worked for Joan Nathan, a DC-based cookbook author and food writer. She currently serves as a food writer for The Washington Post. 

No comments:

Post a Comment