Authentic Taco’s Vegetarian too
Making tacos this way takes me back to the smells of the taco vendor in Mexico City in a little neighborhood called Tasqueña. You would hear a steam whistle to advertize his presence on the block and the smells of onions, garlic, and corn tortillas grilling, would waft into your window beckoning you further to fish your purse for some pesos and go out to buy one of his delightful creations. It’s been a couple of decades since I’ve been there but the aromas are imprinted on my brain as if I were there yesterday.
The man’s wife would press and warm up the tortillas and he would take them and scoop anything you would want into the freshly made shells. I always wanted beans, onions, green chili, tomato, and queso. At home I don’t have the contraption that presses the tortillas but I came up with a method that gets the job done just fine.
To start, I measured 1/2 cup corn flour (masa) put it in the processor, then added almost the same amount of water. Sometimes you need the whole measurement but I hold back a few tablespoons in case I don’t need it all. This time was true. About two tablespoons more of the water would have been too much. Just a 45 second roll in the hopper made it come together in a nice, easy to handle ball. I was only making four tacos, two each for my husband and myself. For more, just double the amounts of masa and water. Next it was time to press out the tortillas. To make a six-inch shell you need a ball of dough about the size of a golf ball. Since the dough would stick to any surface I used plastic cling wrap to manage the rolling and transferring to the skillet. On a baking stone I laid out the plastic wrap, put the dough ball on it, and folded it over to also cover the top of the ball. I have a glass pizza plate that I used to smash the dough into a six-inch circle. This plate worked out great because I could see through it and gauge the size and thickness easily. I could see where I needed to apply more pressure and make an evenly pressed tortilla. So once I had a tortilla the size I needed, I had a skillet heated, place a dime spot of olive oil in the middle and carefully unwrapped and transferred the tortilla to it. They took about a minute or so on each side on medium high heat to get done. So doing them one by one, wrapping, smashing, unwrapping and cooking, I was then ready to fill them. Hubby wouldn’t be home for another few hours so I put them in the refrigerator to keep a while. These keep for over a week if sealed tight in the ‘fridge.
Now for the filling: I made some pico de gallo from a special variety of brown tomato which I diced finely, some finely diced onion and a green chili. I added a dash of vinegar, a large clove of pressed garlic, salt and cilantro flakes. If it weren’t winter I would have chopped some fresh. I let that chill a while with the tortillas until time to eat. Then at last it was time to put all this labor of love on the table. In the skillet, I place a tortilla spread with refried black beans, and shredded cheese (I cheated and used some pre shredded). If you wanted a totally vegan meal you could add avocado instead of cheese. I let that heat through, added the pico de gallo and folded them into a pair of delicious tacos garnished with more pico and a dollop of sour cream to take it to the top I sprinkled a bit more cilantro on and we proceeded mange bueno.