The Authentic Corn Tortilla
1, 2, 3 Let‘s do it!
Every good Mexican knows the traditional corn tortilla and there is no doubt that it is a meal that has been with us all along history.
This food created by the gods is used in various ways throughout our country. Tortillas can be enjoyed with most of our traditional Mexican dishes.
We can enjoy them with a delicious taco al pastor, even in an exquisite dish like the chilaquiles. With a little salt, like our grandparents used to enjoy them or just plain warm tortillas by themselves.
But, What’s behind the traditional corn tortilla?
Let’s learn a little more about its history:
It is considered that corn (the main ingredient of the traditional tortilla), was cultivated approximately around 10 thousand years B.C. in the city of Oaxaca, and corn has always been a creative food and a vital ingredient in Mesoamerica.
The importance of corn among pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures goes beyond just being an ingredient since it is believed that man and the world originated from there.
It should be noted that the authentic way of preparing tortillas is with an artisanal process, which includes the use of a“metate”, the tortilla crusher known as an “aplastador”, the baskets, the corncobs, the pan known as a “comal”, the anafre, etc. All these are important elements to carry out the preparation for tortillas.
Over time and after the domestication of corn, instruments and techniques were developed to process corn and take advantage of its entirety. One of the ways to consume the corn, which is a lot easier to digest and to increase its nutritional value, is to make the nixtamal, which is the dough that results from cooking the grain with limewater and grinding it.
Is the raw material for making tortillas and a wide selection of foods and typical drinks in the Mexican culture.
But how do you prepare the Nixtamal?
Not to worry, I will leave a brief description here of how it can be prepared so that you can enjoy it.
- The corn needs to be free of any dirt, so it must be rinsed and drained.
- You will need limewater to remove all the toxins.
- Once having done this, place the ingredients in a clay container and bring it to a boil over low heat. Without putting the lid on the pot, leave it to cook for a few minutes. You must be constantly stirring it with a wooden spoon. After cooking it, remove it from the pot and cover it with a lid and let it sit overnight.
- When the corn is ready, check that it has cooked well. To do this, you can test a grain by rubbing it with your fingers, and by doing this it should be able to peel very easily. Before grinding the corn, it must be rinsed with clean water at least once or twice.
- Once it is ready, grind the corn in the “metate”, the tortilla maker, or any other appliance that can help with grinding it, and make sure to mix it with a little bit of water, so that you can create the nixtamalized dough.
TORTILLERIA THE “TORTILLA”
Now that you know how to prepare nixtamal, you’re ready to savor one of the most visited and enjoyed places inside the park Xcaret, the tortilleria “La Tortilla”. Which offers a craft workshop where they teach you how to prepare handmade tortillas.
This workshop is included in your admission ticket to the park, so there is no extra cost. The workshop is done by Mrs. Florinda, who is in charge of the tortillería and is originally from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.
At the pre-Hispanic kitchen, you will also be able to taste the tortillas and all the different types of salsas, and if you’re still hungry? You can always visit a second time.
Before starting this workshop remember to wash your hands well. During this time, “Florinda” will explain the techniques for making tortillas, so it is important that you pay close attention.
Have fun while she guides you step by step so that at the end you can enjoy every single bite you take from your tortilla.
Don’t worry if in the end it your tortilla does not turn out as you imagined, remember that this takes years of tradition, practice, and experience, so it may be difficult for you to get it right the first time.
There is no doubt that the best tortillas are those that are handmade, and, above all, those that are made by yourself, each unique touch made with love makes this the best tortilla.
Nowadays we can enjoy corn tortillas in all corners of Mexico since its preparation is much more practical with a mechanical process, and even though it is not the same flavor, it is always enjoyed being that it is an essential Mexican pleasure.
- Video of the elaboration of the tortilla:
Now that you know about the corn tortilla, I invite you not to miss this great opportunity to prepare it, taste it and enjoy it the best way you would like.
Whether you eat it by itself or along with a dish, it is a delicacy you must try.
Do not forget to tell us which is your favorite way you enjoy eating your tortillas!
I invite you to meet other workshops that take place inside the park of Xcaret: