Homemade corn tortillas are amazing in comparison to the already made ones in the grocery store. The corn tortilla dough is simple to make, and can save lots of money. Leftover corn tortillas can be used to make homemade corn chips as well.
Corn tortillas require a special corn meal called masa harina, also called maseca. Masa harina is made from corn that has been dried, nixtamalized, dried again, then finely ground into a sandy flour. Nixtamalized means it has been soaked in an alkaline water bath usually of cooking lime, which helps to make the nutrients from the corn more easily absorbed by the human body. Masa harina is found in most larger super markets near the flour and corn meal, or in the Hispanic food section. For a wider selection of brands and colors visit your local Latin market or an online retailer.
Corn Tortillas (makes about 16 tortillas)
2 cups of masa harina
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt, or salt to taste
Mix the masa harina, water, and salt in a large bowl. Mix throughly for a minute or two, until a soft dough is formed. Add more water or masa harina if necessary, about one teaspoon at a time, until the dough is smooth and workable.
Divide the dough into sixteen equal sized portions. Cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist.
With a tortilla press:
Line the press with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Place the ball in the center, and flatten with the press until the tortillas are 5 to 6 inches around. Gently peel the tortilla from the press and set aside. Repeat with each additional portion, keeping the dough and finished tortillas covered while working.
Without a press:
Place balls between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper, and roll into 5 to 6 inch circles with a rolling pin. Gently peel the tortilla from the plastic wrap and set aside. Repeat with each additional portion, keeping the dough and finished tortillas covered while working.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan or skillet to medium high heat. Do not grease the pan. Once the pan is heated cook each tortilla for one minute on one side, and then one minute on the other side. The tortillas should be warmed through, pliable, and slightly paler than the raw dough; they should not take on a golden color or become brittle.
Serve the tortillas warm while still warm. If making them in advance, warm them before using in the microwave or a few seconds on each side in a skillet.
If using the tortillas to make tostadas, cool tortillas completely before frying in hot oil.
If there are leftover tortillas:
Keep leftover tortillas in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for up to a week.
Use leftover tortillas to make tostadas or enchilada casseroles.
Leftover tortillas can also be made into chips. To do so, cut the tortillas into triangles.
Baste both sides of the tortilla triangles with your favorite oil, sprinkle with salt and any spices you desire. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 min, or until they start to take on color and are crispy.
Alternatively, the triangles can be deep fried in hot oil heated to 350°F. A few triangles should be cooked at a time for 45 to 90 seconds. The chips should start to take on a golden hue, but should not be brown. Remove from the oil, and place on paper towels or a wrack to drain. Immediately sprinkle with salt and or desired spices.