Once you learn how to make tortillas with just two ingredients, you’ll never want to eat store-bought again. Making tortillas is as easy as mixing masa harina and water together. The trick is getting the dough just wet enough so that it doesn’t flake.
Masa harina is made from corn flour treated with a lime solution and is the main ingredient in so many Mexican dishes from sopes to tamales. Fresh masa harina is best, which you can find at some farmers markets or Mexican grocery stores. Sometimes Mexican restaurants will sell you some of their fresh masa harina if you ask! Otherwise, Bob’s Red Mill makes a very good one.
If you plan on making tortillas from scratch frequently, it might be worth investing in a metal tortilla press. However, if you don’t mind slightly imperfect circles, a rolling pin and some plastic wrap will do just fine. In fact, if you don’t have a rolling pin a wine bottle works perfectly, too. Many tortilla recipes do not require you to put oil in the pan, however I find it makes the tortillas extra crispy and delicious.
Homemade Corn Tortillas and Tacos with Quinoa and Avocado
Makes 8 tacos
1 1/2 cups masa harina
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt + more
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 avocado, sliced
8 medium carrots (or other vegetable to roast)
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 tablespoon lime
smoky hot sauce such as Buffalo brand to serve
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
First make the tortilla dough by kneading the masa harina, 1 teaspoon salt and water together in a bowl with your hands. Depending on the brand or freshness of your masa harina you may need to add more water or masa. Once the dough is combined just so it’s not flaky, place a damp cloth over the bowl and set aside for 15 minutes.
Toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
Make the quinoa by combining 1 cup quinoa and two cups water in a saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil and then lower heat, simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in black pepper, set aside.
Mix the onion, cilantro and lime together and set aside.
Prepare your tortilla rolling station by having a bowl of extra masa harina or plain flour near you to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Use as needed. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap down on a clean counter surface. Grab a small handful of the masa harina dough and roll between your hands until your perfectly round dough ball resembles a golf ball. Place the dough ball on the plastic sheet, cover with another plastic sheet and use a rolling pin to flatten out the tortilla to a 6-inch circle. First roll gently from side to side, then up and down, taking care to move slowly and not press too hard. Don’t worry if the dough is not a perfect circle, use a butter knife to slice away the misshapen edges so you have a circle. Repeat until you have 8 tortillas (you may have some leftover depending on the size)
Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Heat a splash of olive oil and transfer a rolled tortilla to the pan. Cook for two minutes, then carefully flip to the other side and cook for an additional two minutes. Repeat until all tortillas are cooked. Set aside on a plate inside the still-warm oven until ready for use.
Assemble the tacos by placing about 1/2 cup of quinoa, then a carrot cut in two, a few avocado slices, and a few spoonfuls of the onion mixture. Generously douse each taco in hot sauce and serve.
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Photos by Ally-Jane