Tortillas

I’ve been making tortillas for a while but yesterday I was instructed by the pro, who was instructed by her grandmother.

It starts with corn.

This is a bag of corn from the vegetable stand down the street. It's also available in the supermarket or pretty much anywhere that sells food.

This is a bag of corn from the vegetable stand down the street. It’s also available in the supermarket or pretty much anywhere that sells food.

I know, it looks like chicken feed or something, but you can turn this into something very good! Start by boiling it in water for maybe an hour? Try a bit, and if it’s soft all the way through, then it’s done. Drain it, and salt it to taste.

Them, put it through your food grinder. Mine looks something like this

grinder

What comes out is a nice soft corn dough that can be shaped into tortillas or whatever other use you want.  I was kneading it on the cutting board until it felt right, but Haydeé took it a bit further.  First, she grated white cheese into the dough. There is a local Panamanian cheese that is soft and mild. Some brands are more crumbly than others but they all seem to be good.

This is the cheese I happened to have in the fridge the day we made tortillas.

This is the cheese I happened to have in the fridge the day we made tortillas.

After the cheese was kneaded into the dough, she put a ball of dough in a plastic bag, rolled it out flat with a glass, then used the end of the glass to cut out a circle. She then patted the circle with her hands to flatten and thin it further.

Tortillas ready for frying

Tortillas ready for frying

Tortillas ready for cooking

Tortillas ready for frying

Hers came out much better looking than mine with smooth edges and perfectly round circles.

I like tortillas for breakfast with beans (or lentils) and salsa. Haydeé thought I was a bit odd for eating them this way, saying they just fry them and eat them plain. I did that this morning and they were very good, but I still like them with beans.

She told me that this is also the beginning of an empanada. Roll the tortilla until it is bigger and flatter, put in filling of your choice, fold over, and pinch the edges closed. Then it is ready to fry. I need to try that!

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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4 Responses to Tortillas

  1. allison says:

    My favorite thing when visiting was when my friend Clyde (the blog “alongthegringotrail” with his wife, Terry) grilled arepas for me and Ray and put cheese on them. I love those things! And your tortillas look delicious!

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  2. kristc99 says:

    I had a Cuban friend and long time patient in the US, and his wife made me arepas a few times. They were very much like these tortillas. Yes, yummy stuff! My Cuban friends also sliced them and put an egg and cheese in the middle like a sandwich, which was very good. That was a frequent breakfast food for them.

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  3. Amba says:

    I like Haydeé’s method of using the glass to cut the tortillas out. My mum used to use the lid of a steel vessel. 🙂 I’m so used to (unhealthy) frozen corn that I’ve forgotten what fresh corn looks like ,LOL! 🙂

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    • kristc99 says:

      This is actually dried corn. I thought at first it was sold for chicken feed. Who would have thought when you boil it, it becomes good people feed! I suppose most anything would work to cut them out. She just happened to have the glass in her hand because she was using it as a rolling pin too.

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