How to Make Mexican Corn Tortillas, Part 1
Epicurious's Around the World in 80 Dishes takes you to Mexico, with a demonstration of authentic Tortillas de Maiz (Corn Tortillas), prepared by Chef Iliana de la Vega of The Culinary Institute of America.
Released on 4/9/2009
|Starring:||Iliana de la Vega and Tanya Steel|
(jazzy trance music)
Hi, I'm Tanya Steel from epicurious.com.
And you're watching Around the World in 80 Dishes.
Today we're making tortillas from Mexico
with Chef Iliana de la Vega.
How are you?
Fine, thank you, Tanya, thanks for having me here.
Oh my gosh, I'm so excited, because tortillas
are obviously such an important essential dish
from not just Mexico, but from all over Latin America,
but particularly Mexico.
And it's actually very simple.
It is very simple.
Well by now, when you have all the process done,
we have the masa already, then it's the easiest thing
you ever get.
So then, maybe I'm going to do this all the time.
Alright. Show me.
Okay, so we have the masa here.
It's corn. It's a corn product. It has been mixed.
The dried corn has been mixed with limestone and water.
And then, you cook it for a little while,
and then let it rest over night, soaking in that mixture.
And that makes a chemical reaction in the corn
that actually makes it nutritious.
And easy to digest.
So it develops amino acids and many other things.
So the ancient people from Mexico were,
I mean, really clever.
They were brilliant, yes.
To make all this up, and it's a very nutritious thing,
that we Mexicans, we love.
It's delicious and it's also nutritious.
But you can buy this masa in the supermarket.
So this is the dehydrated one, after it's ground,
then they just dry it out.
[Tanya] I see.
[Iliana] So we need to re-hydrate it now.
So we'll add some water.
And this is something you have to feel.
If the weather is dry, you may need a little bit more water.
Or less water, or you just have to feel it.
Right. So it's all about the texture,
that you just learn what's correct.
[Tanya] You're basically making a wet dough?
Yeah, first, you wet it, but it's dry.
You know, it sucked it up, completely.
Alright? So it's fun. So, feel like a kid again.
And play. And you have to have the texture like a Play Doh.
Really go back to the childhood.
[Tanya] Now I know what to look for. Okay.
Play Doh makes sense.
[Iliana] So this needs, obviously,
a little bit more water, right?
So I have a little bit more.
[Tanya] The emergency water.
[Iliana] It just happens sometimes,
and we may need a little bit more.
I don't know, but we have to feel it.
So you play with it.
And you know, if you don't work with it,
almost right away, you have to let it rest for five
or ten minutes, before you make the tortillas actually.
But if you feel in that time that it gets dry,
you add a little bit more, and knead it more.
So unlike bread, it really is just a dough
that you let rest for just a few minutes.
Just for a few minutes.
It won't rise. It won't do anything like that.
And obviously, if you add too much,
then you add a little bit of the masa again.
So just play around with it a little bit.
[Tanya] Now could you actually make this ahead of time,
put it in the refrigerator and then the next day?
And then the next day, you can do it.
Don't close it tight.
Just leave it a little bit of air, open,
so it won't smell bad.
It won't get rancid or anything.
The plastic covering?
Alright, this feels kind of right.
[Tanya] May I feel it?
[Iliana] Yes, of course.
[Tanya] Ooh, that feels fun.
Okay, you need to knead it a little bit,
you know, probably like five minutes.
Or, if you have a big mixer, you know, like a stand mixer,
do it over there, and it will be faster.
So either way you can go.
[Tanya] Instead of kneading this for five minutes,
you've already got a bowl right there.
That's right. (laughter) Here we go.
So this is ready. So feel it.
[Tanya] I see. So it's kind of hard.
[Iliana] But as soon as you get into it,
you know, like now feel it.
Okay, so the masa is ready.
From here, you can make millions of things.
You know, sopas, tostadas, any other thing.
Tortillas for making tacos, so this is the most flexible
dough you can get, and it's an edible dough,
which is fun.
You are speaking my language, I must say. Tortillas.
Tortillas. The whole thing just sounds so good.
So Tanya, what about if you help me make some bowls.
Take a little bit of masa. The size, it doesn't matter.
And it doesn't matter either if, you know,
the first ones, won't be as pretty as they should.
But anyway, you keep working until you get to perfection.
(jazzy trance music)