Start with a Tortilla…


tortilla on a pink backgroundHere in the village of Mascota the tortillas were made by hand. Our guide told us a sad story about how poor his family was; the only thing they had to eat was tortillas with salt. Then he had us try these handmade corn tortillas with salt and we no longer felt sorry for him – they were so delicious! A tortilla shop in MascotaTortillas start with a ball of masa dough in a tortilla press.ball of masa dough in a tortilla pressTortilla-making machine in Mexico City.Tortilla-making machine in Mexico CityTranslation:

    • Tortillas don’t make you fat (only  50 calories per tortilla)
    • Rich in calcium and fiber
    • Contain vitamins and minerals

06mex1tortillas_1512wTortillas accompany most meals served warm in a basket.12NoMxSteamedTortillas9035wIf you have spent any time in Mexico you will realize that ultimately these tortillas translate into tacos, flautas, chilaquiles, quesadillas, totopes, tortilla soup and more.

Tacos pastor, my favourite type of taco, here served with extra cheese and fresh pineapple in Marquelia.Tacos Pastor with extra pineapple in Marquelia, MexicoCodzitos, tortillas that are rolled tightly and deep-fried until crispy, then slathered with a tomato-based sauce and grated ‘queso de bolo’ (Edam cheese). Flautas are very similar, only not so tightly rolled as they are filled with savoury ingredients before being flautas, made out of rolled up tortillasEnchiladas are larger tortillas rolled up after being filled with meat and then baked. They are the full meal deal – arriving smothered in salsa (enchiladas verdes in green sauce, enchiladas roja in red sauce, enchiladas suiza in Swiss cheese and onions), and usually accompanied by rice, beans and a salad. Enchiladas with rice and beans in MexicoShrimp & cheese quesadillas with guacamole on the beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Quesadillas are the Mexican version of grilled cheese sandwiches and even the simplest version will taste great with a little salsa verde on it. Shrimp & cheese quesadillas with guacamole on the beach at Puerto Escondido, MexicoCeviche, fish and or seafood is ‘cooked’ in lime juice along with onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro and a slice of avocado, is usually served on a tostada, a small crispy tortilla. Ceviche at Playa Manzanillo in Puerto Escondido, MexicoSalbutes are tasty treats that consist of thick hand-made tortillas topped with pulled chicken (marinated in bitter orange and achiote paste), lettuce, tomatoes, ‘pickled’ onions, avocados and jalapeños. (For more on how to make them.) Salbutes: little bocadillas (nibbles) to tempt the mouthDay-old tortillas are cut into strips and then deep-fried into perfect crunchiness to put into tortilla soup, also known as Sopa de azteca. Sopa Azteca topped with avocado at Vitamina T in Puerto Escondido, MexicoAnother use for left-over tortillas are totopes, tortillas cut into quarters and then deep fried. Here they are served with guacamole in Cafe Tacuba, one of the oldest restaurants in Mexico City. Totopes are the authentic Mexican version of nacho chips.Totopes with guacamole in Cafe Tacuba, one of the oldest restaurants in Mexico CityFor an authentic Mexican breakfast try chilaquiles. These are layers of crunchy cut-up tortillas in a spicy tomato sauce topped with cebollas (onions) and queso (cheese) and/or crema (cream), sometimes served with various meats or an egg.
Chilaquiles & eggs for breakfast in Puerto Escondido, MexicoIf you’re making your tortillas by hand and you have some leftover masa you can use it for tamales, which come in both sweet and savoury versions.a sweet tamal about to be unwrappedMexicans have this thing for drinks with ‘texture’. Atole is a drink with cornmeal, and typically cinnamon and vanilla. This one was handed to Al as the locals were making huge garlands of fruit for a festival. It had cocoa in it along with the cornmeal.

More about travelling in Mexico.

5 responses to “Start with a Tortilla…

  1. They all look delicious! I have never seen the presses, only handmade and have tried a few times, but it makes sense to use them for increased production.

    • Both presses were covered with plastic. I see the pro in Mascota used a loose piece of crinkly plastic whereas we used cling wrap pulled very tightly around the press. The first few times it worked well but after that the dough started sticking to the press and we ended up flattening them by hand – they were soooo good!

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