Home » Costa Rica, eat/drink/sleep/shop, featured, How to...?

Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

Written by 23 February 2012 2 Comments

Tortillas are actually pretty easy to make from scratch, but no one ever suspects that.  So when I do decide to take the extra time to make them they are perceived as an impressive delicacy.  I mastered the art while living on an organic farm on the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains in Costa Rica, where they are as much of a staple in everyday meals as rice and beans.  They are usually made plain, but I prefer to season them up with whatever ingredients I have on hand.  Here is one of my favorite recipes:

IMG 41901 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

Garlic Herb Corn Tortillas (makes 10)

  • 2 cups harina de maíz (corn flour)
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 T finely minced garlic
  • 1 T finely minced herbs
  • 1 t oil
  • Dash salt

IMG 40961 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

1.) Chop up garlic and herbs.

IMG 41041 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

2.) Combine dry ingredients and garlic in a large bowl. Harina is basically finely ground cornmeal and you will be surprised how easy it is to find in most large supermarkets (at least in California). You can use any herb, fresh or dry, and for the garlic feel free to substitute onion or garlic powder.

IMG 41131 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

3.) Mix in water and oil.  I have the official ratio listed above, but I never measure. I just add a bit at a time until the dough is moist enough to stick together but not damp.  If it gets too wet add more harina, if it gets too dry add more water.

IMG 41211 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

4.) Let the dough sit for an hour or so covered with a damp towel.  It is ready to use after it is mixed, but experience has taught me it stays together better after resting.

IMG 41261 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

5.) Take a small handful of dough and make a ball about the size of a small golf ball.  Flatten the ball.  I use a tortilla press, which is basically just two pieces of wood and a hinge, but two cutting boards will work fine, as will a rolling pin.  If you use a press or cutting boards cover with saran wrap so the dough will not stick. Continue with rest of dough.

IMG 41571 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

6.) Heat up a pan on med-high heat.  I’m not sure of the exact temperature as I usually cook them on a fire.  Cast iron pans work best, but any frying pan will work.  I like to coat the pan with a thin layer of oil, but the locals prefer to prepare them without.

IMG 41811 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

7.) Cook the tortillas one or two minutes on either side until done.  Exact timing will depend on the heat of the pan and the thickness of the tortillas.

IMG 41791 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

8.) Keep finished tortillas warm under a towel, and serve immediately for a snack with salsa or part of a complete meal.  Enjoy!

IMG 41931 Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica

pixel Making tortillas from scratch in Costa Rica




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  • aluka said:

    Cool article! I’m glad you have enjoyed our food :)

  • Diana C. said:

    Excellent article about our area!!! Pura Vida!!!

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.