Chef's Table: Tortilla


Welcome to the first in a series of Mexican recipes that have been keeping me busy this last week or so. 

Happy Cinque de Mayo everybody!  The fiesta to celebrate Mexico's unlikely victory over France in the battle of Puebla.  Over the years it has become a day of much feasting, drinking and party games.

Mexican food is tasty, easy to make and spicy!

The best place to start is with a homemade flour Tortilla.  I always had my doubts about the packet ones, they look like cardboard. So I had a look through a few YouTube tutorials to see what I could come up with.

After about a dozen tutorials I got tired of trying to make sense of the accents and checked out BBC Good Food instead. (Never have I been more relieved to be British!) So, after all the trial runs, here’s what I’ve come up with, in simple terms:

  • 400 grams of plain flour
  • 300 ml of water
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Three tablespoons of oil

Take a mixing bowl and add all the ingredients into the bowl.  Stir well until a loose dough is formed.

Clean down a wide work top, and sprinkle liberally with flour.  Take the dough from the bowl and kneed it well, just like Paul Hollywood shows you.  Then break it into four equal balls.  Roll each ball out nice and thin.  Do not try and stack them, I learned the hard way that they just stick together if you do this.

Put a thick based frying pan on the hob, on the highest heat.  Do not add oil, just keep it dry.

One at a time, take the flat Tortillas and add them to the pan.  Cook for about thirty seconds, until they steam and bubble.  Then turn over and cook on the other side.  They should end up just nicely brown on both sides.  Once they are cooked, they can be stacked on a plate, and cling filmed for later use. 

The end result is thicker and tastier than a shop bought Tortilla, puffy and fresh tasting.  It can be filled with whatever you like, as a Fajita, Enchilada or Burrito.

But more on them soon. Go get practicing!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.