Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

There I was thinking that my cuisine was getting too boutique and customised.
The major issue was my penchant to serve corn tortillas instead of rice with, for instance, tonight's delicious Sri Lankan curry.
But in India, in the state of Punjab, a corn flat bread , Makki Di Roti, is prepared and eaten .
The DIY is a world-away version of a classic Mexican corn tortilla.
It may be referred to as a 'roti' -- and used accordingly at table -- but I'm telling you corn tortillas go so well with curry.
Aside from the culinary marriage, a tortilla made from nixtamalized corn 'masa' is going to be a lot better for you than a bowl of white rice.
And tortillas are really filling. None of that hungry soon-after feeling. For instance, here's the comparable GI:

White rice, boiled 73 ± 4
Unleavened wheat bread 70 ± 5
Brown rice, boiled 68 ± 4
Wheat roti 62 ± 3
Chapatti 52 ± 4
Corn tortilla 46 ± 4

Of course, all you have to do is make your own tortillas.
After 8 months of practice, that's easy. What you need to do is exploit any opportunity you can to make them -- like for a curry and at least weekly taco events.
Like Taco Tuesday!
Why not Curry Thursday?

So tonight -- which I think was a Sunday -- we had a Japanese dish,Oyakodon which should be  a rice bowl dish that combines chicken and  egg as toppings.

But we ate it on tacos.

Why bother, you ask?

I'm not a silly billy you know because I'm trying to reduce my carbohydrate intake...and a homemade corn taco contains 7-12 grams of carbohydrate. A slice of bread has around 12-15 grams.

With a nutritional profile a lot better than white flour (and white bread ) corn works for me. It may have the edge on wholemeal breads too as a taco is whole corn -- without the gluten that comes with wheat.

Two homemade tacos fill me adequately.The mix I don't use, I put away in the fridge 'til next time.

Mind you, I add pork lard -- as is the tradition -- although other oils will do (I guess -- it's your tablespoon choice). And my quirk is to sprinkle in Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)  which adds to the nutritional profile and taste.

With tacos you also save on the washing up. Even the mixing bowl comes away clean as the ball of corn and water separates from the sides.  No cutlery is an option.

Of course, we also eat tacos with Mexican food. Strange as it may now seem. Therein rests a major culinary adventure.

Taco plus whatever and salsa... Tis an art form. But anything goes on a taco. Think of all the layers you can throw on.

It is a truly remarkable culinary canvas.

Meat, salad greens, nopales, cheese, avocado, fruits, onions, sour cream, herbs, cabbage, mayo, chili, beans....even tomatoes!

But you'll need to master the DIY and I wouldn't try that without a tortilla press as the presses make the prep so easy and quick...and fun!

A taco afterall, is built from the ground up. You eat the plate, so to speak.

[As one does with Swedish rye crisp bread --Knäckebröd*-- another flat bread, that traditionally is the size of a dinner plate.]

But get real: a taco is much smaller than your any or everyday supermarket wraps based on the Middle Eastern Pita breads. Check the video. Dribble is very likely.

*Knäckebröd: homemade Knäckebröd is my pantry standby. They keep for ever seemingly. Whole rye baked with other seeds like pumpkin, sunflower ...and Nigella.

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As an aside corn flour -- Masa -- keeps extremely well in the larder. Compared to wholemeal wheat flour or the very vulnerable whole rye flour or rye grain which I need to refrigerate.So you buy up a supply and work your way thought it.

Currently I have 10 kgm of masa on hand.

Yes, I'm seriously taco-ed.

And there is one further tip. While you can make your tacos ahead of your other meal prep, you need to keep production warm. Bugger the teatowell --what you need is something taco specific -- in size and well insulated.

Thereafter it's all production line cooking.

While a Styrofoam box is a common fixture in Mexico -- like a wee ESky (it is a 'thing') -- I found one of these in an Op shop  which is perfect.

Just saying: I use the standard 2 cup of Masa recipe which will make 10-12 tacos. Enough for 4 people or, with reserved dough refrigerated, to feed as little as two (or one!). Flour+Salt+Fat/Oil+Hot Water.

If you don't have a press, use a rolling pin and lay the ball of dough between a folded sheet of ziplock bag (that thickness, split open)  plastic. Press down flat as you can and  give it a roll.

Tonight we had Pork Tinga-- with tacos. Not that you have to have Pork Tinga with tacos, but the recipe was so simple and easy to do in my pressure cooker I amused myself -- kitchen time wise -- making up a great batch of tortillas.

I'm getting so good at the craft that they 'puff' now. As in pocket.

Another trick in the making of tacos is to use two fry pans. Normally your everyday cooktop doesn't have a broad  frying surface you cook food directly on.

To speed up the tortilla making process, start each taco on one fry pan ( a very hot _++++ one) then when you flip it, transfer it to another fry pan, which is less hot. With tacos there's no mess, no greasy residue -- so it's no big deal running an extra pan.

It's quicker and you're more in control of the process.

Which means that ultimately there is nothing like a home and freshly made tortilla. Forget the supermarket isle -- this is the real thing -- taste and texture wise.

No doubt the (wheat) flour tortilla was embraced because the diameter can be engineered wider. Wheat being so elastic with its springy gluten. After so long being exposed to wraps  it can be a surprise to encounter a corn tortilla that barely covers your opened hand which can only fold rather than roll on roll.

Even in Mexico, a heavy immigration of folk from Lebanon impacted on tortilla cuisine as Arab flat 'Pita' bread styles merged with local tastes.

But, different from pita etiquette,  a corn tortilla  dribbles...dribbles comestibles you may like to recover from the fall.

It's all part of the feasting.

[This is why you'll see so many folk learning forward over a plate -- or beyond their personal dribble zone -- to eat...]

Unlike with sandwiches or crispbreads -- or even pitas -- a taco filling can be wetter.  Size seems to encourage it being used as a shovel just right for your cake hole. And after the first or second bite, you can shove the rest into your mouth -- just like stuffing a goose.

Ya can't do that!  What? Well yeah, I really loved Salmon tortillas tonight. 

It be Taco Tuesday here at our place.
Shiver me timbers and pound the Masa.
Gettin' to be a real taqueria ..

[I limit myself to 3.]

Could I eat tacos EVERY day? Could I what!



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