How To Make Corn Tortillas and Nacho Chips

 

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Knowing how to make corn tortillas and nacho chips is a great way to change up your eating experience.

Because flat bread is easy and cheap many cultures use variations. In Asia they have Nan, in the Middle East you have chapatti, in North Africa you have injera, and you also have puri and pita breads.Some techniques or ingredients change enough to warrant the names, but basically it’s all just unleavened bread that does not rise cooked on a hot skillet or fried.

For corn tortillas you use a special corn flour called masa. In this flour the corn is Nixtimalized (which we will do in a later post). Nixtamalization chemically changes the corn so that its nutritional value is increased. Pellagra is a disease caused by eating dent corn as a staple, as without nixtamalization the nutrients in the corn are unavailable to humans.. Basically hominy is Nixtimalized corn. Coarsely ground hominy is grits, and finely ground grits is masa.

The great thing about tortillas is that all you need is a bit of masa, some water, and salt if you like.

The tools are simple also. A dry skillet and your hands is all you really need at the most basic level. A comal (flat cast iron griddle) and a tortilla press is used if you specialize.

To make the dough

  • Add 2 cups of masa into a large bowl
  • Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of very warm water to the masa.
  • Mix let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Working the masa into dough, to me it seems a little like putty. If at any point through the tortilla making process the dough seems too dry or too wet, add a little more water or masa to the dough.
  • Take a piece of the masa dough and shape it into a ball the size of a plum, or slightly large golf ball. Make about 16-18 balls from the dough.

To Press Tortillas

You can pat the balls into tortillas, but that is difficult for a beginner.
You can also roll them out on a floured surface.
I use a press.
To use a press, take two pieces of wax paper, parchment paper or plastic from a plastic bag and cut them to the size of your press.
Open the tortilla press and lay one piece of wax paper on the press.
Place the dough ball in the center.
Place another piece of wax paper over the masa ball.
Gently close the press and press down, until the dough has spread to a diameter of 6 inches. If you press it too much the dough will stick to the paper and not peel easily

To Cook Tortillas

Heat a skillet on high heat. Use a SMALL amount of oil to lubricate, but make sure it is light… You are not making fry bread.
Cook the tortilla for ½ to 1 minute on each side. It should be lightly toasted with little air pockets.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate for storage.

Nachos

While I am making tortillas I normally make some nachos at the same time.
You use the same tortillas, you just cook them differently.

Once I press out the tortillas I normally cut them into 4 quarters. I then fry them in hot oil until they are a nice golden brown.

I then drain them and season them to taste.

You can be flexible with the seasonings, but a nice “Dorito flavor” can be done with taco seasoning, a little cayenne pepper, and a little citric acid for bite.

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