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Corn Tortillas

This recipe is from the SodaMail Recipes in Time! newsletter which is written by Chele who also has her own website, Chele's Treasures <click here>

Chele is a single mother of three young boys who manages to find the time to run her own desktop publishing and personalisation service from her home and also writes the popular SodaMail newsletter Recipes in Time! three days a week.

The newsletter is really interesting as not only do you get the recipe but you also learn about the food itself as in this sample recipe. This is one of the internet's better newsletters and if you are interested in your food you should subscribe.

A Brief History of the Tortilla

Traditionally grilled on earthenware utensils, tortillas are used as bread and often filled and stuffed. The original indian method of preparation consisted of kneading the cornmeal dough (masa) on a stone called a metate and then shaping into circles eight inches wide (20cm) and one-eigth inch thick (3mm). In Spanish cookery a tortilla is a flat omelette usually filled with potatoes, onions, or salt cod, which is cut into quarters like a cake.

The Conquest of Mexico by Spain in 1521 gave rise to one of the greatest culinary revolutions in history. On November 8, 1519, Cortez entered Montezuma's capitol along with seven thousand native soldiers he had recruited along the way. He was received by Montezuma and given a great feast, but the cordial relations between the Spanish captain and the Aztec emperor were short lived. After many bloody battles, on August 13th 1521, Cortez claimed the capitol. The conquerors systematically destroyed the Aztec empire and replaced it with Spanish structures and institutions, but they never succeeded in extinguishing the native culture and traditions, which are still part of Mexico today. The emerging Mexican cuisine has become popular worldwide.


1 3/4 cups masa harina *
1 1/8 cups water

  • In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined.
  • Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is too sticky, add more masa harina; if it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water.
  • Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high.
  • Divide dough into 15 equal-size balls.
  • Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap.
  • Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy.
  • Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate.
  • Repeat process with each ball of dough.
  • Keep tortillas covered with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.

* You can buy masa harina (corn flour) at Mexican grocery stores or in the ethnic food aisle of large supermarkets. Quaker and Maseca brands are both excellent.

Betcha Didn't Know This!

Montezuma, the great Aztec emperor, was previously warned that one day bearded men mounted on animals like giant deer would come to take over his domain, so when Montezuma heard that men had landed at Vera Cruz he was not surprised. He made every effort to keep them in Vera Cruz by offering them great riches, but after seeing the riches it spurred them on to see where the riches came from.

Makes 15