Freshly-cooked tortillas for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Freshly-cooked tortillas for breakfast, lunch and dinner

There’s nothing like on-the-spot-freshly-cooked tortillas to accompany your Guatemalan meals. If you grew up eating freshly-made tortillas, the aroma near a tortilleria (tortilla-making place) can be as haunting as the one coming from a panaderia, bakery; just ask Guatemalan or Mexican for the matter. Tortillas, in case you don’t know, are maize or corn based cakes about the size of pancakes or hot cakes which are used instead of bread to accompany and/or as edible utensil in the Mesoamerican gastronomy.

© 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Eric

    I can smell the tortillas from here, ja-ja-ja! You see, Rudy, here in the snow-bound corner pocket, we are all very jealous of our neighbors to the south, who grew up with fresh tortillas 3 tiempos. I didn’t grow up in La Antigua, but I do miss the fresh tortillas…and the lovely tortilla ladies, pues. Now I’m hungry…

    • Tom de NY

      You can have them here in the snows of the north. Pues en mi casa somos todos gringos de pura cepa and we make them nearly every day. In fact I was making them (along with black beans!) during this last monster snowstorm. Just buy a bag of Maseca or Masarica at the supermarket and follow the simple instructions on the package.

      Of course it won’t help you with regard to the lovely ladies, but the whole tres tiempos thing is an pretty easy fix.
      Donde hay chapines, pues hay maiz y frijol. If your local supermarket doesn’t stock the masa flour look for a bodega. Buen provecho!

      • Hi Tom de NY, I guess Maseca or Masarica are valid substitutes for those leaving in the monster snowstorm country, but certainly can not be compared with masa made from fresh corn as the one shown in the many pictures about tortillas in AntiguaDailyPhoto, right?

        • Tom de NY

          Hola Rudy! Pues no me veo como “foodie” en absoluto pero a mi me parecen casi iguales. Of course I think everything tastes better in Guate, so my judgment is questionable on this! But seriously, I see the local immigrants eating them with gusto, so they can’t be all that bad.

          You know, on my first trip there I shared a house with a German guy who delighted in telling me how great, even superior, his country was. Having been stationed there for three years in the Cold War I agreed with him, as I loved my time in Germany.

          One day at dinner, however, I just had to “win” (pues somos machos), so I began to talk how glad I was that back in NY I could still easily get tortillas, plantains, and other Guatemalan delights.

          He said, “Stop! No more! Don’t rub it in!”

      • Eric

        Pues, gracias Tom de NY, pero ya tengo manera para encontrar tortillas frescas. There is a town close to me with a large chapin population, and that means tortillerias with the ladies making tortillas by hand, from fresh ground maiz. Y, de veras, la duena de mi corazon es una chapina que hace tortillas deliciosas.
        As for the ‘Maseca’ thing, pues…En mi opinion humilde, Rudy es bien gracioso en decir ‘valid substitute’… ja-ja-ja

    • How about some freshly-made tortillas with freshly-made requesón for the refacción Eric?

      • Eric

        Claro, mano! Damelo! Ji ji ji ji … as long as we can get a Moza or two to wash it down…

  • Willy

    Not as easy as the ladies make it look. On a visit to a family in Ciudad Vieja last summer to learn the fine art of Guatemalan tamal making, I had a chance to throw a few tortillas. Mine were nothing close to the round efficiently made ones as shown in the picture. I provided everyone great entertainment as well as a few laughs that afternoon. Nonetheless, the homemade tamales were delicious and the tortillas tasty although odd shaped. I’m still surprised that more people haven’t gone to the tortilla press. Although it’s labor intensive, it’s a great warm treat after it comes off the comal.

    • Tom de NY

      In one of Rudy’s other pictures of this same young lady you can see a tortilla press in the background, so it’s not likely these particular ones were shaped by hand!
      At home we make them both by hand and with a press. I prefer the first method, and my wife the latter.
      The hand-shaping is tricky at first, but with practice it does get You have to keep turning it around and around as you slap it from palm to palm. That’s the only way to keep it round. More difficult is getting the right degree of moisture: not too dry, not too wet.
      I encourage everyone who’s missing them to try making them at home. They might not always look right, but the smell and the taste will help you overcome the disappointment!

      • Tom de NY

        De hecho, you can see her press in this picture as well!