We recently had a wonderful Mexican dinner – thanks to Sandra for hosting such a nice cooking evening. We started by making home-made real Mexican tacos from scratch, which were filled by a typical “picadillo” filling.
Below, we will take you on a photographic journey through the menu and recipes of that evening – text and recipes is provided by Sandra, while the photos are taken by me.
Hand-made corn tortillas
(Makes aprox. 25 tortillas / 4 to 5 people)
- 500 gr. White corn flour (PAN) – easily found in Turkish shops
- 600 ml. warm water (approx.)
- ½ teaspoon salt
Put the flour and salt in a bowl (big enough to let you mix it with the water) and mix. Add 500 ml of the water in, the rest we add little by little. Start mixing with your hands to smash all the lumps and get a homogeneous dough. You, then add some more water and continue. When the dough is homogenous, make a small ball with it and then press it with your palms, if you see many cracks around the edge then it needs a bit more water.
**Note: if the dough is too sticky, then add more flour.
Start heating the pan (use a pannenkoeken/crêpe pan) to a high temperature.
You will need a plastic bag (like the ones for sandwiches), cut it in 2 squares/rectangles. Place one plastic layer on the tortilla press, then a small ball of dough (around the size of a ping pong ball), then the other layer of plastic on the top and then you can press. The plastic prevents the dough from sticking to the press. You need to press from both sides because the press does not apply pressure evenly and you want the tortilla to be evenly flat.
Put the tortilla carefully on the pan and wait just around 10-15 seconds until the edges change color and it unsticks from the pan, use a flat turner to turn it over on the other side. You will leave it to cook for around 1 minute. The time is the SECRET to a perfect tortilla so you do need to concentrate on which tortillas need to be turned and on which side. After around a minute, you will turn it again, if you did everything properly, it should inflate. The vapor that forms inside will be responsible for cooking the inside layer, this is why if it does not inflate, the result won’t be as good. However, don’t despair, they’re still quite delicious and INFINITELY better than the ones you may get in supermarkets anyways.
After another minute (check constantly that the part of the tortilla that’s touching the pan is not burning) you can take it out and lay it on a cloth. You will repeat the procedure for each ball of dough until it’s finished. Do not put one tortilla on top of another because the condensation will make them stick together and break. They need to cool down before you can put them in a pile.
To re-heat, simply use a pan and turn them over until they’re soft again.
** You may do this for much more tortillas and then keep them in the fridge covered by a cloth and inside a zipploc bag to be re-heated. They last around 10 days even! You can even freeze them!
Mexican Picadillo (Minced) for Tacos
(Makes for 4 to 5 people)
- 400 gr. Beef or pork minced meat
- 1 medium-sized potato
- ½ carrot
- ½ onion
- ½ small can of green peas
- Salt, pepper, cumin, coriander (to taste)
Put some oil into a pan, add the diced onion (you may add garlic if you like too), and stir until brown. Add the meat and stir until all has changed color. Add the diced carrot, potato and the peas. Adjust salt and pepper and add any other spices you like. In Mexico, we add cumin and fresh coriander. You can also try adding a laurel leaf and taking away at the end. To make it spicy, add a whole jalapeño pepper, and to make it extra-spicy cut the pepper into dices (I recommend removing the seeds first). Add a little bit of water.
Cover and let it cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft, then uncover and wait for all the liquid to evaporate, the drier it is the better, otherwise the tortillas get wet and break.