I recently came across some proper Mexican corn flour and was really excited. Since I gave up gluten I have missed tortillas (still looking for a decent GF flour tortilla recipe if anyone has one). Last week I made Burritos & Nachos and this week Huevos Rancheros, the true breakfast of champions (& massive hangovers).
This was the first time I had ever made corn tortillas. I used Thomasina Miers’ recipe from Mexican Food Made Simple. For those of you who have only ever eaten Tex-Mex style Mexican food such as fajitas, I highly recommend this book. If, like me you have not been lucky enough to visit Mexico yet I think you will be amazed at the recipes. The salads are especially surprising & delicious. I enjoy the spiced pecan & goats cheese salad with pomegranate on a regular basis, it is now my favourite salad.
I found making the tortillas a bit fiddly. Corn flour does not have any gluten in it so the dough is not pliable like a wheat bread dough. It has to be rolled between 2 sheets of plastic & even then it sticks and falls apart easily. I think that with a little practice it would get a lot easier, however I had an idea.
I have been using chia seeds in my gluten free baking as they have a magical binding property. If you put them in water they make a viscous, slimy solution which adds gives bread & cakes a great texture and more stable structure. I decided to try them in tortillas. I am so happy with the result I am writing this blog about it. The tortillas were easier to make and I think they are nicer to eat. The flavour is the same but I find the texture a little chewier.
You will need to gt some proper corn flour for this recipe. The cornflour we use here for thickening gravy is not actually flour, it is a starch. The one I used was imported from Mexico & I found it in a deli in my small town so I imagine it can be found almost anywhere.
Chia seeds are really quite amazing things. I first came across them as they were recommended to my dad to help reduce his blood pressure. They have a myriad of health uses and are also super nutritious so we can all benefit from eating them. They have lots of trace minerals which are disappearing from conventional foods and even stabilise blood pressure. I use milled chia seeds for baking as they do not affect the texture and really you can add them to anything. If you only have whole chia then you can use them in exactly the same way as the milled ones.
Corn & Chia Tortillas
450g Corn Flour (not corn starch)
2tbsp olive oil
80g Milled Chia seeds
1 tsp salt
600ml Warm water
1. Mix the chia seeds with about 50ml of boiling water. Pour the water on & then beat them rapidly with a teaspoon or fork. This should create a thick, sloppy, slimy & fairly unappealing substance.
2. Mix the cornflour, salt, olive oil & chia slurry. Then add the warm water. Mix everything together thoroughly and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
3. Now check the consistency of the dough. It should be soft and a little tacky but if it feels wet add more corn flour, if dry add a small amount of water & mix thoroughly.
4. To roll out the tortillas (unless you have a press) use a plastic bag. Cut it down 2 sides so that you have a sort of plastic flap. Place a 5cm ball of dough inside & roll gently into circles. They should be about 2 mm thick
5. Cook them in a really hot dry frying pan in the same way you would cook any flatbread.
These tortillas cannot be kept for long so I freeze them. However, if they do dry out they make great tortilla chips, just cut them up & shallow-fry them gently in vegetable oil.