Difficulty Level Easy
Everyone is talking about hard economic times and we at Planet Green have been getting recession ready for many months. We know people are trying to save money here and there and sometimes the Saturday night out is the victim of cost cutting measures. So we are starting a series called Saturday Snacks of easy treats that you can make yourself and indulge in while watching a DVD or listening to music.
My daughter that suggested tortilla chips were something she would like to learn how to make, so I asked Rebecca Vandevelde, who has worked in Mexican restaurants, for some help. She sent me instructions that were so well thought out and articulated, that I'm just going to turn the rest of the post over to her.
|Mix together masa harina and water with a pinch of salt|
|2 cups||corn flour (to one cup warm water)|
|1 T||for every 2 cups of flour (but butter isn't necessary)|
- Mix together masa harina and water, with a pinch of salt. I usually do about 2 cups corn flour to one cup and a bit of water. You can also add a little bit of fat, maybe a tablespoon for every two cups of flour, usually butter—but I think it isn't necessary. It helps a bit if the water is warm, but it isn't super important.
- Just mix everything together and knead for a minute or two until it's smooth and sticks together, and will roll out easily. Pinch off little balls of dough and roll them out. Tortillas don't get any bigger when you fry them, so play around with the size of the ball to decide how big you want your tortillas to be. The size of the pan you'll use to fry them will have a big impact on how big the tortillas can be. Don't worry about overworking the dough. Unlike pies and pastries, you can handle tortilla dough as much as you want. Keep in mind when rolling out the dough that the thinner you can make the tortillas, the more easily they can be made into crispier tortilla chips. Thick tortillas are great for keeping soft, but will make chewy chips.
- To fry the tortillas, just place it on a (preferably cast iron) pan on medium-high heat. As long as you're using a seasoned cast iron pan, which works better, you won't need any oil. Nonstick pans might need a bit, but try without first—it depends on the pan. They'll take about 45 seconds on each side. They'll start to turn a bit brown in spots, but since there's no oil, they won't sizzle or pop—so just keep an eye on them.
- To make the tortillas into chips, you just need to cut them into wedges, and either fry them or bake them. Either way, you'll need some fat. Sunflower or canola oils work, but I am self-indulgent and like using butter. If frying, add about an inch of fat to the bottom of a pan that can take high heat. Turn up very high, and place a handful of chips in when the oil starts to sizzle when anything else touches it. They'll need about 20 seconds, so have a paper-towel-lined plate or bowl to put them on. I like to salt and season mine the moment they come out of the oil, so that the seasonings stick. I sprinkle with sea salt, a bit of pepper, a dash of cumin and some ground coriander. Ground hot chili, cayenne, a splash of lime juice, paprika, or any other number of seasonings would also work. Curry chips are also tasty—just sprinkle with ground ginger or galangal, pepper, chili, tumeric and cumin.
- To bake the chips instead of frying, just spread the tortilla wedges evenly over a baking sheet, sprinkle with fat and whatever seasonings, and bake at about 400 degrees until they start to brown and curl, probably about 10 minutes. Depending on how hot the bottom of the pan is, you may need to turn them over and bake on the other side for a few minutes. The good thing about this method is that you can control the amount of fat. The not-so-good thing is that they won't be as crispy.
As you can see from the photo, my tortilla chips don't exactly look like the wedges Becca describes. I think I didn't put quite enough water into the flour in the beginning, so they didn't roll out into neat circles as they should have done. However, I fried them and then sprinkled a mixture or cumin and sea salt on them and they were delicious.
- These would also be great to serve at a casual get together. Pair them with a homemade salsa, or a dip and you have a party.
Many thanks to Rebecca for her help.