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Corn Flat-Bread (Tortilla)


Tortillas are the national bread of Mexico. They are thin and round and made from a white cornmeal called masa. Tortillas are cooked on a griddle without browning, so they are quite soft and may be eaten as they are or fried briefly in oil to crisp them. Masa is hard to get outside of Mexico, so I have suggested polenta mixed with fine wholemeal flour as a substitute. Tortillas may be used as a plate or scoop for other foods, such as Tacos, or rolled and stuffed, as in Enchiladas.


PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 8 tortillas


1/4 cup (60 ml) cornmeal (polenta)
1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water
1/2 cup (125 ml) boiling water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) oil
1 cup (250 ml) fine wholemeal flour
 

1. Combine the cornmeal and cold water in a bowl.
 

2. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the boiling salted water in a saucepan over full heat. Stir until the mixture is thick, drawing away from the sides of the pan.
 

3. Remove the thickened mixture from the heat and place it in a bowl.
 

4. Add the oil and mix thoroughly. Stir in the wholemeal flour to make a soft dough and knead on a lightly floured board until smooth (about 10 minutes), adding more flour if necessary.
 

5. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and shape them into balls. Flatten the balls and roll them out to 0.125 cm (1/16-inch) thickness.
 

6. Heat an un-oiled, heavy cast iron pan over moderate heat and, one at a time, bake the tortillas, flipping them over several times until they are lightly golden on both sides. Cool. Serve as suggested above.