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.
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
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.
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.
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!