500g masa flour
600ml warm water
a pinch table salt
50ml vegetable oil
vegetable oil spray, for cooking

There is no doubt that handmade tortillas are far superior to store-bought versions, plus they are fun to make. They also enable you to use yellow, white or blue masa flour. Even though nixtamal (the process of soaking and cooking corn in limewater) is the traditional and most authentic way to make masa, it’s very labour-intensive. Store-bought masa is absolutely fine to use and the results are pretty much the same. You will need a tortilla press to make tortillas. You can easily pick one up at your local Latin American supermarket or online. Don’t pre-roll the masa dough into balls, as they will dry up, causing the tortillas to crack. If you are not eating the tortillas straight away, make sure you place them in a tortilla warmer. Keep in mind that handmade tortillas are meant to be eaten as you make them.

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1.Combine the masa, warm water, salt and oil in a bowl until you have a soft and non-sticky dough.
2.Lightly spray a comal or heavy-based frying pan with oil spray and place over medium-high heat.
3.Place a square of plastic wrap over the bottom half of a tortilla press.
4.To make 16cm tortillas, roll 50g of the dough into a ball and place it in the middle of the tortilla press.
5.Cover with another square of plastic wrap (this stops the dough sticking to the press), then close the tortilla press and gently press to flatten the dough into a 3mm-thick tortilla.
6.If you are making 11cm tortillas, reduce the quantity of dough to 35g for each tortilla.
7.Open the tortilla press, remove the top layer of plastic wrap and flip the tortilla onto your hand.
8.Remove the bottom layer of plastic wrap and place the tortilla in the pan.
9.Cook for about 2 minutes, then flip over and cook for another 2 minutes.
10.Transfer the tortilla to a tortilla warmer or folded tea towel and repeat with the remaining dough, using more oil spray as needed.

Recipes extracted from
Comida Mexicana by Rosa Cienfuegos
RRP $55, published by Smith Street Books,
Photography ©Alicia Taylor
Food Stylist ©Deborah Kaloper
Illustrations by Evi O

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