Tortillas mean Mexican food, wherever they go and wherever they are. Its creation dates from several centuries back in time. Nowadays, they are known worldwide and even manufactured in large quantities -around 60,000- due to its demand. Is it just creativity, a typical meal or there’s more behind it? Let’s find out.
Althought it can be confused with Spanish tortilla just by its name, the product itself has no comparison. Tortillas are a thin flatbread made out of dried and finely ground corn.
Who made the first tortillas?
Among all the secrets of the mesoamerican inhabitants, this stays as one of them. Many stories reflect the first time tortillas were made by the very first time, but its creation can be trully traced to about 10,000 B.C.E, at on of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico.
1. «Small cake» origings
Tortillas was not the name it was given at the very begining. This pliable flatbread wwas first named tlaxcalli in Mayan language. The convertion of its name happened when Spanish conquistadors, in 1519, saw it for the first time. Straight from Spanish language, they dubbed them with the name of tortilla that means «small cake» in this language.
2. Nixtamalization, the secret to softness and vitamins
The process of nixtamalization is what allows the corn to get soft and pliable. This happens when the maize is boiled in alkaline water -through adding lime to the water, typically-, dried kernels soak in it overnight and become soft ad chewy. But is by grinding the mixture what will leave this soft masa (dough) ready to be transforme into thin and skrumptious tortillas. You want to know more about the process? Just check below.
How to prepare nixtamalized kernels for tortillas
- Add 1 1⁄2 quarter ofprepared lime water 1/2 pound kernels of prepared lime water
- Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Let the mixture up to 8 hours either overnight in the fridge or at room temperature.
- Finally, grind and add water to bring to life fresh tortillas.
3. The older you were, the more tortilla you got
According to an old mayan tell, age determined the amount of tortillas you could eat. A baby could eat half tortilla, a kid just 1 piece. Only from your teenage you could have two or more pieces in any meal. Of coursed this has completely change through time and now it’s only a tell.
4. A Special Food for Spacial Missions
An astronaut, Mexican we must say, decided to take tortillas on the space mission. This happened on the year 1985, being the astronaut Rodolfo Neri. More than a few reasons to let this become a staple on space explorers’ food. Lasting 18 months stored, matching with any kind of ingredient -from banana to shimps-
5. 6 Hour Prep
Making process of tortillas can take from 5 to 6 hours. As all traditional recipes, they have a very specific prep that can take more than a few hours. This has its main reason on letting the kernel sit tigetherwith the lime water -the alkaline solution that allows us to ingest all vitamins corn has.
6. Colorful Tortillas (corn of different colors as pic)
There are 64 types of corn in Mexico. Yes, there’s no mistake 64. In which 59 of them are originally from this country. They vary in color, hardness, size, rows of kernel, distribution of the kernels on the corn, structure and color.
Among all this wide variety, 5 are the most known among them: Maiz Palomero (to make popcorn), Cacahuazintle (for pozole and esquites), Jala (to make elotes, gorditas, pozole and pinole), Nal Tel (atole, gorditas, tortillas and antojitos), Chapalote (typically eaten in pinoleand street elote).
PICTURE OF VARIOUS CORN OF MAIZE (VARY IN COLOR).
7. Now you see tortillas, now you see nachos
Delicious, sometimes crispy, others crunchy, best accompanied with cheese and the perfect match of any dip salsa, Nachos are just a gift from heaven. And they are even easier to make than what you think. By now you might be wondering how to prepare easy nachos? If you have any leftover tortillas from you Mexican food night -or you just have tortillas in the fridge.