Cornmeal

Dipping into Tortilla Chips

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Four kinds. 

From the top left – Plain, Black Sesame, 4C&G, and Thai Red Curry.

You know how sometimes when you’re experimenting in the kitchen and things are just SO easy and SO much fun that you want to keep playing around for hours and hours and hours?

That’s the kind of fun I had making these chips.

First, I made a small batch of plain ones.

I started out by simply following the guidelines for making tortillas on the back of a bag of masa harina – basically a very fine, dried, powdered cornmeal dough.  All I had to do was measure out some of the masa, add a little salt and some water, mix together, and – ta-da – dough.

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I divided this into eight pieces.

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Then I covered 7 of the pieces to keep them from drying out while I worked with one piece.

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I placed it between two pieces of freezer paper, shiny sides together with the dough in between.  You could also use plastic wrap, parchment, or wax paper.  And – at this point, if you have a tortilla press, go ahead and use that.  I don’t, so I just rolled out the dough in between the sheets of paper.

You have to be careful not to roll it too, too thin, because it will stick very stubbornly and end up in shreddy bits, like this:

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Let’s try again.

Here’s the ball of dough (I roll the piece into a ball so it ends up mostly round when it’s flattened.)

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Flatten the ball slightly…

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Place the second sheet of freezer paper on top, and carefully roll the dough until it’s pretty thin, but not too thin.  You’ll have to experiment until you have the right thinness for you.

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Carefully peel the top layer away from the dough…

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Carefully and slowly….

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There.  In looking at this picture (below) I can see the dough is a bit too thin at one edge, but, you know, life goes on and there’s no need to worry about it too much.  Set this aside and roll out a few more tortillas.

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Now, heat up a pan or griddle.  Don’t use non-stick.  And don’t use butter or oil or anything – you want a dry pan. 

When the pan is nice and hot, place one of your tortillas (or more if you have space) and let it cook until you see the edges starting to curl up.

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Flip the tortilla over and cook it another minute or so until it’s just starting to brown.  Set the tortilla aside to cool and cook some more of them.

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While you’re doing all this, heat up some oil in a pot.  You want it hot – around 360 to 375 degrees F.  Hot.

When your tortillas are cool, tear or cut them into smaller pieces – you’re now making them into chips – and fry in small batches, turning once, until golden brown.

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Drain chips and place on paper towels.  Sprinkle right away with some salt, if desired.  (If you wait, the salt won’t stick.)

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Try one.  Go ahead.  Isn’t that cool???  You made a tortilla chip!

I was so happy I decided to play around with flavors.

First, I measured out the masa and salt.  To that I added a few shakes of ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, chili powder, ground black pepper, and ground cayenne pepper. 

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When they came out of the oil, I sprinkled them with a mixture of coriander, cumin, and salt.  

After I made those, I made another batch!

To the masa and salt, I added about two tablespoons of black sesame seeds.

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And before measuring out the water I poured about a tablespoon or two of sesame oil in the measuring cup and then topped that off with water.

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I loved the look of this dough.

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Aren’t they gorgeous?

And for the last batch (had to pick up kids at work soon) I added a good tablespoonful of red chili paste to the basic dough ingredients. 

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Look at all those speckles of flavor!

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These were my favorite.  Very flavorful, with a little heat.

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Ta-da!

So go ahead and make some!  It’s fun!

Oh – a couple of tips…

* The thinner they are when you roll them out, the crisper they’ll be after you fry them.

* If, for some reason, you don’t eat them all that first day, they might lose a bit of crispness.  You can re-crisp them by placing them on a sheet pan in a hot oven for a few minutes.

~~~

Here’s the basic recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup masa

1 pinch salt

2/3 cup water

What to do:

Combine ingredients to form a soft dough.  Divide into 8-10 portions and roll out between two sheets of wax paper or press (between sheets of wax paper) in a tortilla press.

Cook, about a minute per side, on a hot, dry griddle or pan.  Don’t use non-stick.

Use these tortillas for tacos, if you wish, or cut into wedges and fry in hot oil (360-375 degrees F) until crisp. 

Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and enjoy!

Now feel free to play around with all sorts of flavors!

Have fun!

One thought on “Dipping into Tortilla Chips

  1. Oooh, rather inspiring, might have to try this one. Though ‘masa harina’ is hard to come by in the UK. Sure I can find some fine cornmeal though!

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