Yes, you can make these yourself and, no, they’re not that difficult! This recipe takes you through making the soft tortillas first, then turning those into wedge-shaped chips.
I’ve always loved Mexican food – the heat, the colours, the intense flavours – but really fell in love with it after we toured the Yucatan Peninsula on a trip before we had kids. I’ve been making ‘proper’ Mexican food ever since that visit in the 90s. I really must write up my rich Mexican chilli con carne recipe sometime, as it’s really rather good (if I do say so myself). It involves two kinds of beef, dark chocolate and a baking stage in the oven – it’s not a mid-week quick chilli for sure, but worth the effort for a Mexican themed feast.
Many other recipes for chips just say to use store bought soft tortillas. If you know me, or have read this blog before you’ll have realised I’d think that was a total cop out. I don’t like doing things half-arsed. You may as well just go buy a bag of Doritos. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not snobby about packet tortilla chips: I love them and they’re great to go with an after-work, mid week chilli or with dips. But, if you’ve made the effort to make a good Mexican meal from scratch then it just seems odd not to finish it off properly. All that effort to do a homemade meal, then just open a packet? Nah. And anyway, these only take about 45 minutes – 30 minutes of which is allowing the dough to rest. So, they can be easily done while you’re waiting for your chilli con carne to cook.
I also have another tortilla recipe, which only uses plain flour (not with cornmeal/maize flour as this one uses) that can also be used as the base for this recipe too. Just follow that recipe to prepare the flour tortillas and then proceed from point no. 10 on the method below.
By the way, these are awesome with dips, or crushed over your favourite bowl of chilli.
Makes six tortillas, each cut into eight wedges, so 48 tortilla chips – though these are all a lot bigger than the ones you get pre-made in packs.
- Large bowl and a small bowl
- Rolling pin (a heavy one)
- Small frying pan (skillet)
- Kitchen paper towels
- Tongs or slotted spoon/spatula
Ingredients for the base corn tortillas
- Strong white bread flour – 100 g
- Fine cornmeal (maize flour) – 150 g
- Salt – 5 g
- Water – 150 ml
- Lard or veggie shortening – 25 g
- Chilli flakes – 2 tablespoons (maybe reduce a little if you’re a heat wuss!)
- Black onion seeds (optional, but ace if you have some) – 1 tablespoon
- Black pepper – a few twists of a pepper mill
Ingredients for turning into chips
- Vegetable or other plain oil for shallow frying
- Smoked Paprika
You can also add in any of the following to the dough to create variations on the chilli tortilla, or at the end in the flavour dusting:
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder and cracked black pepper
- Ransoms (wild garlic leaves)
- Finely chopped jalapeños (dry them in a kitchen towel first if you’re using pickled ones from a jar)
- Mix all the ingredients together and knead until just smooth
- Dust the top with flour lightly then leave to rest for half an hour under a tea towel or cling film. This doesn’t rise as there is no yeast but does need time for the gluten to begin to develop
- Split the dough into either six or eight equal pieces, depending on how big you want your tortillas. You can either do this by sight (chop the dough in half and so on) or, to get the tortillas as equal as possible, weigh the dough and work out the weight for an eighth or tenth of that total. Then weigh portions out accordingly
- Put your frying pan (skillet) on the hob over a medium-high heat
- Flour your work surface and roll out a ball of dough thinly (about 1-2 mm thick) and to as close to a circle as possible. Mind you, don’t worry if it’s a wonky ‘circle’ as that’s all part of the hand-made charm (please note these tortillas are a little more tricky to handle than my normal flour tortillas and will need a little extra flour on your work surface to stop them sticking)
- Pop the tortilla on the frying pan and toast on the first side until it is getting dark brown but not burnt. This will only be a minute or even less so keep a keen eye on it
- Flip over and repeat on the other side
- While the first tortilla is dry-frying roll out the next one, but bear in mind how quick they cook!
- Repeat until all tortillas are browned on both sides
- When the soft tortillas are made, cut them into eight wedges each (as per the image below)
- Have a few sheets of paper towel ready
- Also, have a small bowl ready and the salt and paprika to hand
- Pour a layer of oil into the same frying pan, to a few millimeters – it doesn’t have to be a huge amount of oil
- Fry as many tortilla wedges at a time as you can fit in the frying pan – fry for about one minute on each side, flipping them over as they puff up a little and brown lightly
- Take them out and place on the kitchen towel to get rid of any excess oil
- Immediately (while still hot) place them in the small bowl and sprinkle over a little salt and the smoked paprika, toss them so they are covered and set aside
- Repeat with all of the tortillas
- Serve when they are cooled and have crisped up. They’ll keep for a couple of days in an airtight container