Take your taco night game to the next level with fresh home-made corn tortillas – you’ll be blown away by how EASY they are to make!
I had the chance to work with Michael from Start Fresh Kitchen, what a TREAT! Sarah and Michael Buffett are the owners and have created quite the place; the kitchen functions as a space for them to offer catering and boutique cooking classes, but it also serves a non-profit function as a collaborative kitchen where they generously open their doors to charities and teach underprivileged people about cooking to gain valuable life skills and pave a road to long-term meaningful employment here in Kelowna. They have the biggest hearts and are the definition of ‘good people’! I was first introduced to this amazing power couple through volunteering with Mamas for Mamas (a local charity that supports moms in need) and am so grateful they came into my life!
Tacos are a shared passion of ours (my absolute favourite food), so we decided to make a day out of it to hang out in the Start Fresh Kitchen so that I could learn how to make fresh corn tortillas… and share it with you! I feel SO lucky that I get to call this my work! Since tomorrow is Mexico’s Independence Day or ‘Día de la Independencia’ (a Mexican holiday to celebrate the “cry of independence” on September 16, 1810, which started a revolt against the Spaniards) I figured it was a perfect time to post these.
Homemade tortillas are actually really simple to make and nothing like the store-bought variety. While you may not have the time to make your own tortillas every time you have tacos, it’s such a cool thing to do when you can. Charles and I love cooking with our guests when we have dinner parties, and this would be the most amazing start to an evening… over margaritas (or a Pink Grapefruit Sangria) of course!
You’ll need masa harina (a special type of corn flour that has been soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution) along with a couple of tools to make these:
- Cast Iron Pan: I recommend having one of these anyway, they will last your lifetime if you care for it properly (keep it ‘seasoned’ with a coat of oil) and they are such a versatile cooking tool. Cast iron pans release extra iron into food when you cook with them (especially if the food you’re cooking is acidic, like tomatoes) and can go from stovetop into the oven making them perfect for dishes like frittatas (stay tuned for our next recipe!).
- Tortilla Press: I recently bought one for Charles for Christmas but have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t be able to wait that long! Michael said that you can use a heavy hard-cover book in a pinch (just make sure you follow the instructions to use parchment paper). You would follow the same instructions but just press down the book on top of the parchment-lined dough very firmly and evenly.
- Tortilla warmer: I thought this was all for looks and keeping them warm, but in fact the warmer actually steams the tortillas, making them soft and pliable. Don’t skip this step as they will otherwise crumble and break. You can use a similar Tupperware type dish with a lid instead I’m sure, but these warmers aren’t expensive and look much nicer when serving them!
I hope you love these as much as I did! You can fill them with anything your heart desires really. I made Fish Tacos with Apple Slaw (very fitting for this time of year) that you can whip up or fill them with:
- Breakfast Taco: scrambled eggs, salsa and diced avocado
- Vegetarian Taco: black beans, Pico de Gallo and guacamole (with shredded cheese or cotija or dry feta)
- Pulled Chicken Taco: Slow roasted pulled free-range chicken (a crock pot works well here) with a bit of Pico de Gallo
- Vegan Jackfruit ‘Carnitas’: Such a yummy vegan version of pulled pork tacos!
Charles and I LOVE the William’s Sonoma TACO NIGHT cookbook, it’s so good and filled with amazing taco recipes. Wouldn’t that be a cool Christmas gift for the foodie on your list with the cookbook, pan, press and warmer? Just saying, I wouldn’t be upset if Santa threw that under the tree:).
Home-Made Corn Tortillas
Take your Taco Night to a new level with home-made corn tortillas! You'll need a tortilla press along with a cast-iron pan for this recipe.
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
Place the masa harina in a medium bowl and add the salt and water. Stir to combine and empty the dough on to a clean counter. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands until it comes together. Form into a ball, place on a plate and wrap the plate with plastic wrap. Set aside to let it rest for 30-60 minutes.
Once the dough has rested, divide the dough into 35 gram balls of dough (a golf ball size) and roll each into a ball. Place one square sheet of parchment on the bottom of the tortilla press, place a ball of dough in the middle, top with another piece of parchment paper and press the tortilla using the tortilla press.
Place a medium cast-iron pan over medium heat. Cook each tortilla on each side for 1-1 1/2 minutes. The tortilla will slide around the pan (not stick) when it's ready to flip. Once cooked immediately transfer the tortilla to a tortilla warmer, cover with the lid and repeat until all of the tortillas are cooked.
Serve the tortillas with your favourite fillings and enjoy! These are best served immediately.
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