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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Corn tortillas without masa harina (experiment)

I needed Mexican corn tortillas for a recipe and, of course, I wanted to do it myself instead of just buying a pack from the supermarket. After researching it, I found that it calls for masa harina, which can only be found easily (without ordering it by mail) in Mexico and South USA. Since I'm very far from either of those regions, I wanted to attempt to do them with regular corn flour (corn meal). And well... that's precisely what this was. An attempt. I wouldn't say a completely failed attempt, but I would definitely recommend buying them ready made from your grocery store. 
The source of inspiration was this (very good instructions if you happen to get some masa!).
I'm just posting this as a cooking experience for any of you who might be tempted to try to achieve a corn tortilla without the special lime-treated Mexican flour called masa harina. Definitely edible, but not worth making.

Ingredients (was supposed to make about 7-8 but made... 2):

  • 1 cup of corn meal plus a little extra
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a bit of frying oil

I just put the flour in a large bowl:

I seasoned with salt and pepper. Mixed with the water until I rounded the dough in a ball:

I added a little extra flour and kneaded it in until it wasn't so sticky anymore:

I tried to roll tortillas out of it but the stuff crumbled extremely easily...

So I just decided to push it into a frying pan until it was forcedly rolled out to a tortilla shape:

I turned on the heat under the skillet and waited for it to get fried. It started to darken (as in the color became brighter). You can notice the slightly whiter parts below (those are the parts not fried yet):

When the white parts were completly (or almost) gone, I flipped the tortilla over and fried it on the other side too.

Then I transfered it to the plate. Then proceeded to do the same with the other half of dough. It wasn't completely bad, but I'll definitely buy some real corn tortillas next time.


  1. I don't think you can find masa harina in Europe, so yours is as good as it gets :)

  2. Nope, the supermarket ones are definitely better ! :)

    But thanks for the encouragement.

  3. I am curious as to how it would work if you did part corn meal and part flour... I will try and post my results. (fingers crossed).

  4. Well, let us know what comes out of it (we'll keep an eye out for what you post too) :)

    Merry Christmas in the meanwhile! :)

  5. What did you do wit hthe oil? It's listed in the ingredients but you don't mentioned where you used it.

    1. We've put the oil in the frying pan, just greased it a little to avoid sticking. Sorry if that wasn't clear and good luck with what you want to try! :)


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