I have been interested in Mexican food for a while now. I wanted to know more beyond the commercialised Tex Mex/Nachos/Tortilla and Burrito market that we automatically think of when we mention Mexican. Furthermore, I was eager to learn to make my own corn tortillas!
Not being able to find masa harina flour (which is a corn maize flour) in a normal deli/supermarket/gourmet store I ordered some Mexican pantry staples online from www.fireworksfoods.com.au. Along with my two bags of masa harina flour, I also purchased a packet of dried ancho chilli,s a jar of tender cactus leaves (sliced) and 2 bottles of liquid smoke (one in hickory and one in mesquite flavours). Why not? Impulse cooking purchases which I have yet to use. I was also very close to purchasing a tortilla press, but I refrained (for now). I received the delivery within 2 days, which was perfect timing for a day in the kitchen over a weekend.
Now I will admit my tortilla making didn’t really turn out as such and I certainly need to practice a little more. The mixture was either to dry or then to wet! As I dry fried them, they cracked and fell apart. They came out a little thick and clumpy and not pliable….I need to perhaps refine the water/flour ratio. So no photos of tragic, misshapen, unedible tortillas, however I did turn the tortilla into a tostada! Kitchen comeback or what?!
So, what is a tostada?
It is similar to a tortilla, but deep fried. This was a way of using old tortillas that were not fresh enough to use as a tortilla…similar to toasting bread to use up day old (or more) bread in the western world.
They are Mexican but are also found in the American Southwest.
Tradition toppings for tostadas range from seafood and stews to traditional taco toppings (called ‘guisados’) and anything that is sticky to keep the topping on while eating it.
So what did I put on my tostada?
crumbled feta (because I didn't have any quesco fresco (which is a fresh mexican cheese)
fresh salsa (onion, coriander, tomatoes, shallots)
roast pork belly
This was delicious! The fatty roast pork belly melted into the refried beans and the fresh salsa and cheese were perfect accompaniments.
Now I just need to get back into the kitchen and perfect that tortilla!