3 cups masa harina (corn that has been soaked in lime and then ground into flour), available in Latin markets or from Bob’s Red Mill
- 2 cups hot water
- Tortilla press (two heavy books or cutting boards can be substituted if you don’t have a tortilla press)
- 2 nilos (thick, round sheets that can be cut from a zip-top plastic bag, about 8 inches in diameter)
- Comal or griddle
1. Combine the masa harina and water in a bowl and stir until the consistency is like Play-Doh. Cover and let sit for 1 hour.
2. Divide the masa and roll into balls that fit into your palm, about 1½ inches in diameter.
3. Placing the nilos above and below a ball of masa to keep it from sticking, flatten in the tortilla press until it is a thin disc, about 6 inches in diameter and ⅛ inch thick.
4. Gently transfer the flattened masa, still covered with both nilos, to the palm of one hand. Remove the top nilo and flip to the other hand. Remove the second nilo and transfer back to the other hand, catching only ⅓ of the tortilla with the edge of your hand.
5. Quickly drop the tortilla onto the comal by passing your hand, palm up, over the comal. Cook over medium-high heat for about 1 minute, until the edges start to come up from the pan. Using a spatula, flip the tortilla and cook for another minute. Flip the tortilla a third time and cook for a final 30 seconds.
6. As you remove the tortillas from the heat, stack and wrap them in a clean dishtowel or linen to keep them hot. Serve immediately.
Makes 12 tortillas
Photograph by Albert Elbilia
Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, April/May 2014