Friday, May 6, 2016

Nacho Dad's Tortilla

Back in January, when it was snowing in most of the U.S., I wrote a post about some things I missed, as well as things I didn't miss, about not living in the United States. For the most part, the only things I really miss (other than seeing my siblings from time to time) are certain American foods that aren't so easy to come by here in Negros Oriental.

In the earlier post, I mentioned the difficulty in getting a decent hamburger. The situation is a little better. I should have mentioned the burger at Gabby's Bistro.....the burgers there aren't half bad. Pretty good, as a matter of fact.

The pizza situation hasn't gotten any better. The cheese and the toppings in most pizza places are OK, but you can forget about getting a good crust. Just not available.

One food item that my son and I really miss is the burrito. Not only are there no Mexican restaurants but there aren't even the fast food pseudo-Mexican eateries, like Taco Bell, here. Most of the grocery stores in my old home town sold prepackaged tortillas. When push came to shove, you could always make an OK burrito with those, but finding tortillas here are another kettle of fish, so to speak.

The closest thing to a burrito in Dumaguete, is a food borrowed from the Middle East, called a shawarma. There are lots of overseas worker from Philippines in the Arab countries, and I suppose the shawarma was brought here that way. Unfortunately, a shawarma isn't a burrito - heck, a Filipino shawarma isn't really a shawarma. The shawarmas available in Dumaguete have the ground beef, cheese. It's almost burritoesque, except for the shredded cabbage and garlic sauce. Don't get me wrong. A Dumaguete shawarma tastes pretty good, but it's not a burrito and will never be an adequate replacement when a burrito is what you're craving.

Tonight, I took matters into my own hands. I was going to make burritos for supper tonight, or die trying.

Getting the meat is easy. We don't have to worry about chili powder either; we've loads of that too. Cheese - also no problem. The only catch is the elusive tortilla.

I love the Internet. You may not be able to download a tortilla, but you can download a tortilla recipe.

I'm posting the recipe I used tonight to make home made tortillas. They turned out rather well - a little smaller than the recipe says, but still tasty. Sorry, no photos. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Homemade Flour Tortillas


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil or non-hydrogenated lard
3/4 cup lukewarm milk


Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Add vegetable oil to the lukewarm milk and briefly whisk to incorporate. Slowly add the milk to the flour mixture. Work the mixture with your hands until it turns into a sticky dough.

 Place dough onto a surface dusted with flour. Knead vigorously for about 2 minutes or until dough is no longer sticky.

Return dough to bowl. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 10 -20 minutes so it becomes easier to roll out.

Divide dough into 8 balls of equal size. Cover and let rest again for another 20 minutes. Avoid letting them touch if you don’t want them to stick together.

Dust a clean pastry board or surface with flour.

Remove each piece of dough one at a time. Press it out into a 5-inch circle then flatten with tortilla press. If using a flour dusted rolling pin, roll out the tortilla from the center out until the tortilla measures a little less than 1/4 inch thick and is a 7 or 8 inch circle.

Transfer the tortilla to a dry preheated skillet or griddle. When the tortilla begins to blister, allow it to cook for 30 seconds, flip it and cook the other side the same way.

Remove the tortilla, place it in on a clean paper towel and cover loosely with foil. Repeat for remaining tortillas.

Wrap extra tortillas tightly in plastic, removing any air pockets. Tortillas freeze well and will keep frozen for several weeks.

To serve tortillas which have been frozen, thaw them at room temperature, wrap in foil then heat in a warm oven.

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