Getting back into cooking since 2009.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home-made tortillas

I haven't eaten any Mexican food that I've been particularly happy with in Perth.

I've found That Little Mexican Place to be bland, with none of the bold flavours you expect of Mexican food. We went there with a few friends on their opening weekend a few years ago (2006?) full of anticipation, after being tantalised for months by the promise of Mexican food in North Perth. The food wasn't awful, but it was a bit of a disappointment. The tortillas appeared to be microwaved, and they were certainly dry. The rice was mushy, the steak lacked flavour. The tamales were OK, but very expensive for what they are. The whole thing was kind of amateurish, and a poor representation of Mexican food. Still, I was determined to give the place the benefit of the doubt, so I retained an open mind.

We've been back a couple of times since, once for breakfast and once again for dinner. Neither visit has advanced my opinion of the place; it's not horrible food, and it's better than you'll get from the old generation of Tex-Mex places still lingering around Perth (Acapulco Annies, etc), but it's still a bit disappointing.
That Little Mexican Place on Urbanspoon

The Flying Taco is much better, with great tasting burritos, quesadillas and tacos, but I find the portions a bit small for the price.

Anyway, if you're not satisfied with what's available in restaurants, make your own! That seems to be Matt from Abstract Gourmet's ethos, and it's one I'm happy to subscribe to.

Soda posted previously about the big box of Mexican food supplies I bought her for her birthday. The first item we made using her swag was corn tortillas. You might think that tortillas are the sort of thing that's not worth making yourself. You'd be wrong.

Corn tortillas

-2 Cups of instant Masa flour
-1/4 teaspoon of salt
-1 1/4 cups of water

Here's how you do it:

You'll need some maize flour. You can get various kinds, but I used MASECA instant corn masa flour for these tortillas. It's sort of like a super fine polenta, but I wouldn't substitute it for anything else. It has a particular texture that is important for the tortilla dough.
Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix until you've formed a ball of dough. It should be smooth and pliable.

Cut or rip the dough into 16 equal portions, then roll each portion around so that you have 16 little balls of dough. You might need to keep your hands slightly damp to do this.

We used a tortilla press (part of Soda's birthday box of Mexican stuff), but you could probably use a rolling pin. It would be a bit more hassle though, so try and get hold of a tortilla press.

Cover each side of the tortilla press with glad wrap, set a ball of dough on the bottom of the tortilla press...

...and clamp down on the tortilla.

Now peel your tortilla off from the plastic wrap, being careful not to rip it.

Then just place the tortilla into a hot, dry pan for about 45 seconds on each side. They'll seem quite brittle when they come off the heat, but they become more supple as they cool a bit (also if you make a stack of them as you're cooking them, they kind of steam each other a bit, which loosens them up).

Serve with some kind of Mexican awesomeness, like the carnitas (left) and chorizo (right) tacos.


  1. heck yes! this seems surprisingly easy and a lot of fun. i will give this a try. do you know how much a tortilla press costs and where to get one?

  2. Hi Adam,
    You can get tortilla presses, masa and all sort of other Mexican goodness from here:

  3. You guys are going to have such a wild ride in L.A.
    I never realised it was possible to eat such a large amount of Mexican in such a small period of time (and we didn't even go to Taco Bell)!

  4. Hey Matt,

    I recently discovered your blog and am thoroughly enjoying it!

    Definitely a fan of mexican, will be making this v. soon for the miss's

    I was wondering if you were heading down to the Perth Good Food & Wine Show at all?

    I work for [yellow tail] wines, and thought you might be interested in checking out the Vinyl Bar that we’ve got going on. You can tell them your favourite type of music, and they will help chose the perfect wine blend to go with it. You then get your picture on your very own custom vinyl album cover to take home with you!

    Would love to see what sort of cover you get made, if you’re keen send it to me after the show and I can post it up on the website.

    I’ve also set up a website if you’re interested in checking out any extra info @

    If you want to trade links as well I would love to add your blog to our blog roll, let me know!

    All the best mate,

    P.S. Vinyl images will also be available to download from the [yellow tail] website @ after the show.

  5. where can you buy masa harina flour in Perth? Ive tried African food stores, flour shops and other variety supermarkets with no luck. I can order over east but $30 including delivery. Can anyone help please.

    Thanks, Craig

  6. Hi Craig,
    I'm pretty sure they sell it at Spanish Flavours in Wembley:

    If they don't stock it, they should be able to tell you who does stock it.

    As a last resort, you could try mail order:


  7. You can get masa flour at Re Store in Northbridge, and also at Kakulas Sisters in Nollamara. Check out Kakulas Brothers in William St Northbridge (across from the train station) for additional spices and chili powders. I dont know where you can get a press though.

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