We’re all brainwashed in various ways until some stimulus comes along and opens our eyes. Sometimes we fight change and sometimes a lightbulb just turns on above our heads.
I make an Indian-style dinner about once a week and usually include a homemade bread such as naan, chapatis or puris. I plan the kneading, rolling out and frying into my mealtime cooking and it’s never any trouble. So why then have I only been making tacos when I have tortillas from Trader Joes? Tortillas are just as easy to make as chapatis. I’d just never thought of making them by hand before. And now I feel like a dunce. But no time like the present to break a bad habit. Also check out the strangely lengthy ingredient list on a store-bought packet of tortillas. Especially those El Paso brand ones. Yuck.
I tried a few recipes before I landed on this one. Simple, tasty and easy to make—especially if you’re not precious about perfect circles. Sure a tortilla press would be handy but once you get into the rhythm of rolling out and frying it’s kind of fun (especially with good music or a cool podcast to listen to).
makes about 12 flour tortillas
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 or 1 1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1) Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt.
2) Pour in the olive oil and mix with your fingers until the flour has a crumbly texture. This is the fun part. The flour feels velvety soft.
3) Add in the water (I heated up water in a kettle and poured it in after it boiled). Start with 1 and 1/4 cups and add in another 1/4 cup if you need it.
4) Mix the dough until it comes together and then dump onto a floured work surfaced and knead for a few minutes.
5) Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into about 12 dough balls. Flatten them slightly with your fingers (not your palm) so they are like little thick discs. Cover with kitchen towel or tea towel so they don’t dry out and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
6) To cook, heat up a cast iron skillet if you have one or a heavy bottomed frying pan like me. Roll a dough ball out as thin as you can (paper thin) and as evenly circular as you can. I find that roll, turn, roll, turn, etc. works well.
7) Place the thin tortilla in the hot frying pan (no need to oil the pan) and push down gently on any big air bubbles. Cook for about 30 seconds, then flip over and cook the other side. Flip again and cook the first side a little more if you need to. Place the cooked tortilla under a tea towel so that it stays soft and doesn’t get dried out.
8) While it is cooking, start rolling out the second tortilla. Continue piling the cooked tortillas under a tea towel.
9) Serve straightaway or store in a ziploc bag when they have cooled down. Reheat gently in a frying pan just as you would store-bought tortillas.