Tacos with anything?

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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  • I always keep a lot of masa -- nixtamalized  corn flour -- in the cupboard. Needless to say in times of distancing from the shops, I'm moderately self sufficient.

    The only thing we need to fret over is milk. We don't eat bread or pasta or potatoes or rice. We need the milk to make the Filmjölk yogurt and for our tea and coffee.

    Now that I look for fewer excuses to go shop my purchasing habits are limited to carrots, a cabbage and what the garden is not supplying this week. While my supply collapses over the Summer heat, we rely on spring onions for 'onions' in recipes. I've started to explore chives as a substitute for when the spring onions aren't there to be had.

    Generally, we eat a lot of greens.I do at least. I don't eat fruits either much or often -- 'cept lermons and limes -- so I know a green when I see one. 

    These two manuals have been my go-to bible.

    These are the new online links in case you cannot find them from my previous appreciation.

    As for the regular shopping list essentials:olive oil, lard, cream(inclu 'sour'), milk, garlic, spices, coconut milk/cream, tinned tomatoes, tinned black beans, coffee beans, loose leaf tea, olives, cheese, and salt. 

    Meats vary as price rules, but I always have bacon (and anchovies) as a flavour go to.

    I offer you my shopping list because what we eat has a lot to do with the tortilla habit and the ready  day to day shift from Latin American/Caribbean cuisine to and from Asian, especially Sri Lankan,  tucker. This is the current mode of consumption.

    I eat less Middle Eastern food today because it is carbohydrate dense. Ruled by wheat, you see.

    As for Asian staples: our last big pack of polished rice I fed to the chooks.

    This means I turn to my veg garden to supply what I yearn for: the herbs, leafy greens, tomatoes, spring onions (and chives) , sweet and chili peppers, leafy greens in abundance, the few root veges I can grow (like radishes) ,beans, leaf celery,  squashes and gourds. When available: fresh corn.

    But, whatever the season, there is always leaf greens...and, in my case, nopales (prickly pear paddles).

    Don't get me started on that seeming exotic: I eat prickly pear every day. I loves the stuff.

    There is nothing as simple to make which is so delicious to eat as huevos con nopales "eggs with nopal"on a tortilla.

    Life's pretty straight without tacos...

  • If you want to taste a corn taco, an Argentinian (not Mexican!) acquaintance recommended those offered by the  Guzman y Gomez franchise.


    Their $5 corn taco is a good example of a tortilla. The filling isn't exciting, nor the salsa...but the underneath is OK and receives my  thumbs up.

  • I found this recipe by Chef John. Here.   I love the guy.  I get a lot of my recipes from him.  He has two easy options for the press. If I become a convert, I'll think about getting myself a press but I want to make sure I'll use it before I spend the money (and take up more valuable cupboard space). 

    I also found this place at Woolloongabba https://www.pennisicuisine.com.au/default that sells Masa at half the price of Pepe's (well, to be fair, one is a retailer and the other a restaurant). 

    • 01F4511-750x900.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710xI buy my masa in bulk on line. But it's worth noting that Minsa Yellow (or Blue) Corn Masa Flour is GMO free.It's also dearer than other brands. Price if you shop around for it is $6-7/kgm..

      As for Chef John, I do recommend using pork lard in the masa mix. That is the Mexican way for flavour delighting and makes prep easier.

      No waste with masa. I am batching at the moment, so just prepped two tortillas for tea with carnitas(pork) and fried nopales,

      Life doesn't get much better than that...

      If you are stuck for salsa ideas, my long term favorite site is Clays. You can make salsa out of anything!

      I'm getting into the Yucatan mode and using oranges in cooking more often. Great tweak.

      I always loved steamed chicken in the South East Asian style but I think Yucatan steamed chicken (in banana leaves) tops it. Both steaming methods go so well with tortillas.

      But then,  I'm an ideologue on a journey...


  • Yesiree. It is so true...Nutritional munificence is a masa corn taco.


    • I need to master a flat bread of some description.  Something I can whip out fairly quickly, with minimal fuss and no additional equipment.  

      • That was my starting point...

        If you have the masa, tortillas are very quick to make.

        1. Mix the ingredients
        2. Knead briefly
        3. Divide and rest for 5 minutes
        4. Flatten
        5. Heat in fry pan.

        No mess results. Unlike wheat. Nothing sticks to anything.

        The most time taken  is the cooking of the 'dough': one side >then the other>then flip again.

        And you can prepare the tortillas BEFORE you cook the topping or make the salsa.

        We eat them with Mexican foods, Stir Fries and Curries.

        Every second night!

        Any leftover dough will keep for another excuse as will cooked tortillas.

        There is a learning curve. The knack is getting the ingredient proportions right: masa+salt+hot water+ fat/oil.

        Since I have given up all grains but -- to good effect I say -- this is my indulgence.

        Two tacos are very filling. And the toppings are limitless.

        One cup of masa will make 6 tortillas.

        • I guess it's the press that puts me off Dave.  

          • Online there are many ways to make the tortilla without a press. Worth a try a few times.

            But remember you need to get some masa too. You can get locally grown corn but it isn't nixtamalized.

            You can get a press in Newmarket from HERE from Pepes

            Pepes also sell masa.

            If you have juniors about, using a press is a lot of family fun. If you make 'em often it is a standard tool. No sweat.

            Using tortillas is another, very different, way of eating. It's like the way flat breads are used in the Indian sub continent and Sri Lanka -- in that they serve as edible cutlery.

            if you go to Pepes to gear up make sure you get anchiote paste. I'm planning to make my own once I get a berry supply. I luvs the stuff.

            That and Chipotle Chili. (smoked chili). You gotta get into the Yucatan groove.

            Don't forget that Woolworths offer a home brand corn tortilla really cheaply. Not a great taste but enough to embrace the taco habit. They also sell Mission brand corn ones.

            I've got my daughter taco-ing by stocking up and freezing the Woolies tortillas. Before I went with the press, I spent a year using bought tortillas. But the homemade is where the taste thrill is at.

  • 67298920_10157539081618185_7979274157579829248_n.jpg?_nc_cat=105&_nc_oc=AQkB2kw5BMZNpEQQi51r_43ryu_5vgN0ptj2d80rrhWa5rr-3s8Umyau-ilLdIsXBfc&_nc_ht=scontent-syd2-1.xx&oh=7fa966a27be42b4449ec64218e8c03f9&oe=5DE843B5&profile=RESIZE_710xIt 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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