TORTILLA / TACO SHELLS
Basically tortilla are made using dried corn kernels in Mexico. It can also be made from fresh corn varieties or ready made Masa harina in the shop.
Masa harina is the flour readily available throughout which makes us to easily make the tortilla in home.
If your using dried corn kernels nixtamalization of corn is important to achieve the best end product.
Nixtamalization is the first step in making masa, a cornmeal that is the cornerstone of tortillas, tamales, sopes, huaraches, and so much more. It’s a process that was perfected by Mesoamericans centuries ago.
Soak dried corn kernels in a mixture of water and cal, or calcium hydroxide, also known as slaked lime or pickling lime (readily available in many spice shops or online), until they are soft enough to grind in a mill.
Cal is the mineral in limestone and gives ground corn the structure and flexibility needed to hold it together as a dough. Slaked lime can also be used.
Nixtamalization not only makes dried corn easier to work with, it also makes it more nutritious for humans to digest by releasing amino acids that transform the corn into a complete protein. It’s an ancient process that is still used today.
Nixtamalizing your own corn at home is easy. To make just under 1 kilogram (2 pounds) of dried corn, use 10 grams (about 2 tablespoons) of cal. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and stir in the cal to dissolve. The water should look milky. Add the corn and cook in the boiling water until the kernels are slightly softened and you can peel back the skin of the kernel with your nail (about 25 minutes).
The middle should remain hard—overcooked corn doesn’t grind well and will turn into a sticky masa that’s difficult to work with.
How long you boil your kernels depends on the type of corn you’re using, but for the heirloom Blanco Comiteco from Oaxaca that we are using here , it’s 20 to 25 minutes.
Then allow the corn to sit off heat in the liquid until it’s cool (or up to overnight), then drain it and rinses the corn clean, rubbing the kernels gently while leaving some of the skins on intact for flavor and texture.
At this point, the corn is halfway cooked— enough to be able to grind it into masa. It will finish cooking when it’s made into tortillas, tamales, and so on.
HOW TO MAKE TACOS AL PASTOR USING TORTILLAS?
TACOS AL PASTOR
TORTILLA | TACO SHELLS
Tortilla is a thin unleavened flatbread made originally from corn kernels, processed and pan cooked and served hot with other components like tacos etc in Mexican cuisine.
IF USING DRIED CORN KERNELS.
FOR NIXTAMALIZATION OF CORN
FOR MASA HARINA OR READYMADE TORTILLA FLOUR
FOR NIXTAMALIZATION OF CORN DRIED KERNELS
BOIL THE KERNELSBring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and stir in the cal to dissolve. The water should look milky.Add the corn and cook in the boiling water until the kernels are slightly softened and you can peel back the skin of the kernel with your nail (about 25 minutes).The middle should remain hard—overcooked corn doesn’t grind well and will turn into a sticky masa that’s difficult to work with.
Then allow the corn to sit off heat in the liquid until it’s cool (or up to overnight), then drain it and rinses the corn clean, rubbingthe kernels gently while leaving some of the skins on intact for flavor and texture.
DOUGH OR MASA MAKING
TO GRIND INTO MASASet up a hand grinder and arrange a bowl beneath its mouth. Place as much corn as will fit without overflowing into the hopper.Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water and begin grinding, gently pressing the corn down into the hopper.Test the texture of the ground masa with your fingers; you mayneed to adjust the grind or add another spoonful of water to make a finer masa.The ideal masa is finely ground, with a smooth, thick, and slightly sticky texture that holds together in a uniform dough when pressed.
TORTILLA MAKING AND COOKING
SHEET THE TORTILLAPlace a sheet of nonstick plastic on the bottom ofa tortilla press. (Don’t use Saran plastic wrap, as it will stick; plastic bags or even banana leaves work well.) With clean hands, place one masa ball in the middle of the press, then cover it with a second sheet of nonstick plastic.Press down firmly and evenly to flatten the dough.Open the press, remove the masa, and flip it over, pressing a second time to ensure it is even.The ideal tortilla is about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick.
COOK THE TORTILLAGently peel the tortilla off of the plastic and, using your fingertips, place it on the hot griddle or comal.Flip the tortilla using your fingers or a spatula as soon as you see that the edges are drying and turning opaque (about 30 seconds). When the tortilla starts blistering and rising slightly, flip it again (about 45 seconds).The tortilla should puff up after 10 to 15 seconds, a sign that all of the water has evaporated out of the masa, at which point it is ready to be removed from the heat.The best way to keep tortillas warm and moist is to wrap them in a clean towel or cloth and store them in a tortillero. If you don’t have a tortillero, wrap stacks of hot tortillas in cloth and place them beneath the lid of a pot, inside of a cooler, or in a closed container (ideally with a hot stone in the bottom). Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze (fresh tortillas can be reheated without defrosting). If reheating tortillas from the refrigerator, sprinkle with a few droplets of water before placing them on the griddle to reheat; if coming from the freezer, This step is unnecessary.