Thursday, September 09, 2010

Not Quite like My Grandmother's

One of my favorite things to eat when I was growing up in Panama was "tortillas de maiz". My grandmother made tortillas from scratch like no one else could.  These are not to be mistaken with the Mexican corn tortillas.  Tortillas de maiz are thicker.  The procedure to make from scratch involved cooking the corn (but not from the corn in the cob we get in the US). The kernel looks more like an uncooked popcorn kernel.  After boiling the corn she would use a grinder to turn the corn into a dough.  The dough was kneaded and then shaped into patties about just under 1/4 inches thick.

In some central american countries they call the tortillas by the name arepas.  I found this instant corn flour to make them at Compare Foods.  This product produces a pretty tasty corn  tortilla in my opinion.  I did add some shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup) and about a tablespoon of butter to the dough.

The procedure to make the dough is very accurate and you can mix it adding warm water or warm diluted milk.  Do add some salt too.
Just like my grandmother did, I kneaded the dough slightly with the cheese and butter incorporated.
The tortillas are ready to be cooked.  I got 6 patties from 1 cup of the mix.
I cooked on a very hot frying pan with a very small amount of  vegetable oil.  You can use any oil, (such as canola  or safflower) except olive oil.  Cover the pan as they cook.  These corn tortillas can be deep fried but I'm trying to  cut back on the fat so I don't use this method.  They are delicious though as anything deep fried.
Cook the tortillas first around 5 minutes on the first side, then turn an cook around 3 minutes on the second side.  After doing this your tortillas will have a golden crust.  For more internal cooking of the masa (dough), I like to continue the cooking process in the toaster oven.  Bake at 400  for 8 minutes.
Sprinkle some sea salt if desired and more shredded cheese.  I love eating the tortillas for breakfast with eggs accompanied by cafe con leche. (Latte)  Any left over  uncooked tortillas can be wrapped in wax paper and refrigerated.  I have not tried freezing them but I bet it would work.

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