Thursday, 11 October 2012

Vegan MoFo: Home Made Soft Taco Shells

We love Mexican food in our house - how could you not being a veg head? All those wholesome bean varieties, salsas, salads, fresh vegies and punchy flavours! Being in Australia, Mexican foods are pretty limited in the way of ingredients apart from Old El Paso sort of kits. But I have found a couple of good Mexican ingredient importers online based in Sydney, so I've been able to order a few things to try. We also ventured a couple of years ago into growing our own tomatillos, as I found some organic seed, and it's not something you can buy at the markets (not that I've ever seen). I was so impressed with them as the following Spring there was a bunch of volunteer plants, so I don't think I'll ever be without them! 

A request for some upcoming catering possibly involves a taco bar. The tortillas in the shop are always a bit too thin, a bit too big, and tend to tear easily. They also taste a little funny, probably from those little sachets they put in to stop them drying out and such. I want a robust taco that can stand up to some fillings! I had a look at some soft taco shell recipes, but couldn't really find anything that wasn't a basic corn tortilla or didn't involve eggs. Strange...maybe I'm looking in the wrong place, or maybe I'm too picky? What the hey, I'll just make up my own and hope for the best!

I made a yeast mixture with some warm water, salt, and sunflower oil. When it went all bubbly I added a half half mixture of bakers flour and masa, and worked it a bit, adjusting until I got the right feel in the dough. Don't ask me for measurements, this is a work in progress! I let the dough sit covered for a couple of hours, and then rolled out balls of dough into about 6 inch rounds, a good size to fit snug in the hand, dusting with masa and piling them up. I even got to use my vintage Indian rolling pin (so I bought it for Indian roti making, but don't judge ok?)

And this is what I ended up with! I fried them off in my wok (the heat distribution always works really well when I make Indian breads this way). The texture reminded me a bit of naan bread, but the taste of corn was definitely prominent. They were soft, a little flaky inside, and much thicker than regular tortillas.  All in all, I was pretty happy with the first try, they didn't break when we folded them over some char grilled corn salsa, beans, and guacamole. When I've perfected it I might post a recipe...

Finally I've got a moment to update this with an actual recipe! Makes approx 15 taco size tortillas.

1 1/4 cups bakers flour
1 cup masa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon sunflower oil (not essential, but easier to work the dough)
approx 1 3/4 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast

In a bowl put water, yeast, sugar, salt, and oil. Allow to bubble and add flour and masa. Add a little more water if needed. Like any baking, temperature of the day, moisture in the air, and in the flour itself all takes part, so add enough water so that you have a soft and slightly sticky dough.

Take golf ball size pieces of dough and roll into a ball. Squish down between your palms and either roll out with a rolling pin or if you have one, put between two pieces of greaseproof paper into a tortilla press...OR you can use the bottom of a heavy saucepan or frying pan and push down. they should be fairly thin, remember they will puff up!

Lightly oil a heavy based frying pan, wok, or even a BBQ hotplate. Cook until toasty one side, most of them puff up when you are ready to flip. Cook off the other side for about a minute. Put them aside and keep warm in a teatowel.


  1. I've always wanted to make my own tortillas but it seems a bit daunting. Hope you perfect your recipe so you can share it!

  2. There's a restaurant in Portland that calls these "gorditas," fat corn tortillas. they top them with all kinds of goodies (including soy curls), but you've no hope of folding them up -- must be eaten with knife and fork.

    1. ooo, they sound pretty good! but alas, I need ones that fold over for this one, so I'll tweak it a bit I think!