Sunday, May 12, 2013

Honduran Tortillas

The Dominican Republic is home to casave (cassava bread, made from dried yuca) and sancocho (a soup with lots of kinds of meat and green bananas and yuca and potatoes).  But while I have eaten sancocho and figured out how to make garlic toast and french toast with the casave, I haven't learned how to make either one.  

What I have learned, from my Honduran friend, Ruth, is how to make tortillas Honduran style.  I first made them at her house, and now tonight I made them in mine.  The flour is an essential part of it, but I know that will be easier to find in the U.S. than here.  (Ruth actually told me that the one store that had it when she came stopped carrying it and she cried in the grocery store, tortillas are such a part of home for her--she was very excited to find that they sell it now at Bravo, our new grocery store which opened a few months ago, which thankfully also sells the only turkey lunch meat I've found here that looks like it's made of turkey.)  

Ruth showed me the steps for making homemade tortillas, and I'm going to show you how she does it.  It's not super fast, but it's not at all difficult.  I was so proud of my Honduran dinner tonight.  Ruth told me I was a regular Honduran "Doña."  

First add the flour to a bowl and some water until the texture is such that you can make a ball.    It's not necessary to measure, which is fortunate, since I pretty much never do.  (At some point here you want to heat up your cast iron griddle, or whatever griddle or frying pan or tortilla pan you want to use nice and hot--do not add oil, you make these dry.)

OK, next two steps:  Cut big circles out of a ziplock bag, you'll get two lying of the exact same size out of one bag.  Smoosh your ball into a patty, and then put it between the two plastic circles on top of a cutting board.  You put another  cutting board on top and lean your weight down until you have a big flat circular tortilla.  So it's cutting board, plastic circle, dough patty, plastic circle, cutting board.  

Then you peel the plastic off of one side of your tortilla, lay the tortilla onto your hand, and peel off the other piece of plastic.  If you're Honduran, there is an in-between-step here where you round the edges so that you have a perfect circle, but when I made them solo you can see I skipped that step.  Don't look, Ruth!

You lay them on the hot griddle and cook the first side for a minute or two, little cracks will form, then flip and do the same to the other side.  (The blackened parts of mine were caused by my messy grill--I was loading some finished ones with beans and spinach and cheese to feed my hungry waiting children before I'd finished all my tortillas and some cheese got on the griddle, yours won't get black edges.)  When you finish the second side you do something a little odd.  Flip back to the first side and press down firmly with a dry washcloth.  If it's done it will puff up in the middle, or where you've just pressed.  It's so cool

Finally, you just tuck the finished tortillas in a towel and wait for them to cool (or, better yet, eat them hot).

I made some blended red beans to go with it, because Ruth told me that's what you serve with them.  When I heat up the leftovers I will refry them, then they'll really be legit.  I made mine with some homemade salsa and extra cilantro, Ruth hasn't yet taught me how to make them.

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