the masa gods have spoken and they choose erik. seriously. i can’t make masa-based things to save my life but every corn tortilla-puffy taco shell whatever he touches is pure gold. i think he can break my gordita failure streak and we will be attempting this soon, but for now, here’s erik’s puffy tacos…
recipe from The Tex Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh (which is an indispensable cookbook in my home and was given to me by my wonderful, bestest friend, Joy)
2 cups masa
1 1/2 cups water*
1 teaspoon salt
oil for frying
garlic cloves, minced
jalapeno, chopped up
salt and pepper
chopped onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro, sour cream, other things of a taco topping nature
*erik says the amount of water called for on the masa bag is a big fat liar. he says he uses a 50/50 combination of masa and water and says it works out well. so we’re guessing he’s using 1 1/2 cups of water. you’ll know if the texture is right because if it’s too dry, they won’t form into balls and if it’s too wet (as mine are always wont to be) they stick to the freaking plastic wrap when you press them. this is why i don’t make corn tortillas from scratch. far too much stress. geez. food shouldn’t be this difficult.
so, combine the masa, salt, and water. mix well. line your tortilla press with plastic wrap. roll your masa into balls, place in your press, and press out tortillas. meanwhile, in a pot or something semi deep. heat up some oil (enough oil to make it an inch deep in the pan). this would be a good time to use a thermometer and check your oil because it HAS to be at least 375. it takes a little bit of time to get it up that high so this is also a good time to get your beef done. in a little bit of oil, erik sauteed onion, garlic, and jalapeno until the onion is translucent. add the ground beef and cook, breaking up into pieces. season with salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin. cook the beef until all the pink is gone. when your oil has come to temperature, CAREFULLY slip a tortilla into the oil. it should start to puff up very quickly (mine never do – they just lay there but his puffed right up!). use a spatula to flip a little bit of oil onto the top of the tortilla. also use the spatula and press it the middle of the tortilla to crease it a bit. fry for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the pot and drain well on a paper towel lined platter. repeat all this frying with the remaining tortillas you pressed out (there should be quite a few of them with 2 full cups of masa. i think we made 8 and still had a ball of masa leftover for 4 tortillas for erik to eat his scrambled eggs with this morning). serve immediately, with some refried beans smeared on them, some ground beef scooped on top, and whatever taco fixings you like.
this is the delicious puffy taco.