Sunday, April 13, 2008

Taco-Making 101



I made these tacos with regular store-bought tortillas (Mission brand). But you can't just throw the ingredients in the center and fold them over. It just doesn't work that way.

I learned how to do it when I studied in Mexico for a summer. I went to Mexico to study Spanish. I began my stay with a family that I didn't care for. On top of that, the mother didn't cook! So when I asked my program for a family-transfer, requested to live with a family where the woman cooked. I am glad to say that I learned a little about Mexican cooking while I lived with them and studied Spanish.

Without a little taco-learning, you might just try to put your taco fillings on a corn tortilla and microwave it for a few. But it will break and fall apart when you try to eat it. It doesn't look pretty.

Here are some taco fillings on a tortilla:



Right after I took this picture, I folded the edge over, and this is what happened when I removed my hand:


This need not happen to you!

Here is one little trick I picked up in Mexico. Not only will your tortilla be more pliable, but it will taste better too!


  1. Heat up a small nonstick pan.
  2. Add maybe a teaspoon of oil. It should be just enough to lighly cover the surface of the tortilla when you put it in the pan.


  3. Put your fingers on top of the tortilla and glide the tortilla around the pan so that the oil underneath the tortilla spreads out its coverage on the bottom of your tortilla.


  4. to the left

    to the right



  5. Flip the tortilla over and repeat with the oil that is already in the pan.
  6. Cook the tortilla in that pan over high heat so it just barely toasts.
  7. Flip it back over and toast the other side as well. Here's the toasted tortilla:

The whole process only takes 2-3 minutes. Afterward, you will have a nice, tasty, pliable tortilla that you can fold over once your ingredients are on it.




When I folded these over, I put a plate on top for about a minute.




Then, when I removed the plate, the tacos held their shape. How awesome is that!



Here's my finished product:





3 comments:

Grace said...

your filling is exactly what i would want in my taco. the only difference would be about 10 times more cilantro. :)

Ellen said...

Thanks! This is something different I will be making this weekend. I'm going to add lots of halopenos!

Anonymous said...

If you're still hungry for more, read A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture (by Denise Chavez). Sabroso!