Sunday, January 31, 2010

Corn Tortillas in Ottawa

So unless anyone can direct me otherwise, finding fresh(ish) soft corn tortillas in ottawa is impossible. You can get frozen packs from herb n spice and they are very affordable. However, a recent awesome puchase of a book called Tacos parlayed to avoid frozen corn tortillas at all cost. It also seemed to indicate making your own isn't so bad... so i decided to try it!

And it is easy, theres just a few things you need, and some investment involved.

A skillet i believe is key. I bought cast iron as it has the best heat distribution (and i've always wanted one). And they're not nearly as expensive as other stainless steel or fancy nonstick pans (this 12" was 50$ from Grace).

Masa Mix
Masa mix. This is basically ground white corn with a bit of preservative (calcium hydroxide in mr gouda, lime in the maseca brand). I used the goudas, but wasn't sure if it was stale (it had been in my cupboard for a while) so i bought the other... it definitely was not stale. I think it was 4$ for these 2kg bags. I would recommend the maseca brand as it has a more complete "recipe" on the back.

UPDATE: Geez, i forgot to mention where to GET masa mix! Thanks to a local blogger (thanks Minty!) the Sultan Supermarket at bank and hunt club carries this stuff.

Tortilla press
Tortilla press - this is a requirement. This one was the cheaper of 2 available from Grace (~20$ vs 30$). It was lighter, but larger, and larger and cheaper normally wins with me. Having something a little heavy may help to make flatter/thinner tortillas, but i think this one was fine.

I won't go into the nitty gritty of how to make em (the recipe is on the back of the Maseca brand), but after a bit of practice i'm pretty sure i could turn out dozens of amazing tasting, fresh, and versatile tortillas within 30 minutes or so. Highly recommended!

The one thing i will need to work on is keeping them warm while cooking - i've never been very good at that. They need to stay moist so i'm thinking wrapping in a wet towel and leaving it in the over at 200 or so... any tips or ideas would be appreciated.


  1. Freakin' brilliant Bob. Going to look into this myself here.

  2. I go to Mercado Latino on Montreal Road, but I like your solution too!

  3. Betsy, thanks for the tip - i didn't even know we had hispanic/mexican/latino groceries in ottawa! You posted that then i checked out this post on foodies:

    Sounds like theres another one called La Tiendita which is stuck on La Cabana restaurant near/on merivale, and it also sounds like there may be one in chinatown (WTF??). I guess i need to open my eyes a bit, thanks!!

  4. Indeed, I forget the name of it, but there's a Latin American grocery on the south side of Somerset right at Empress. It's in the base of an apartment building, beside a parking lot.

  5. Fresh tortillas... maybe the Ahora on Dalhousie would sell some otherwise? Haven't been there in a long time so not sure.