Make Your Own Mexican Street Food
By Jemma Dicks
Latin America is a land of diversity. From the arid deserts of Mexico to the steaming jungles of Bolivia, the majestic Andes in Peru to the glaciers of southern Argentina. Needless to say, the local cuisine varies almost as much as the landscape.
Those who have visited this part of the world often find themselves craving the Argentinean parillas and the Mexican street food long after they have left. Those yet to visit can only wonder if the fajita kits they buy in the supermarkets are as good as it gets.
Over the next few weeks I am going to explore this continent the tasty way! We can’t all jet off and head for the sun at the drop of a hat, so instead head for your kitchen and fire up your oven. Don your sombrero, whip out your pots and pans and join me on our gastronomic tour of Latin America.
First stop Mexico!
After a long flight, you’re probably feeling a little peckish. Hop in a taxi and head for the centre of town. Find yourself a nice, little café and indulge in a gordita or two.
Gorditas, or “little fat ones”, are small, filled cakes similar to a pasty. They are a good introduction to Mexican street food as they combine many of the flavours and ingredients found in most Mexican dishes. Gorditas can be stuffed with anything and are very easy to prepare. Why not give it a go yourself? Here’s how…
1 cup masa harina (a type of Mexican corn flour, easily available in supermarkets)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp flour
1 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water
Oil for deep frying
Place the masa, salt, baking powder and flour in a food processor. Mix, adding the warm water as you do so until a ball of dough forms. The dough should be neither wet nor dry and crumbly, but rather somewhere in between. Add a bit more masa or water to obtain the right consistency. Then, place the dough in a plastic bag and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Pinch off 6 chunks of dough, each about the size of a golf ball. Use your hands to flatten each one into a circle roughly 2 ½ inches in diameter and a ¼ inch thick. Keep unused portions of dough covered so as to prevent drying out.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep saucepan to around 185 degree Celsius. Fry the circles of dough, spooning hot oil over the top to encourage puffing, until golden brown. This should take less than a minute if the oil is at the correct temperature.
Drain the fried dough (gorditas) on paper towels, and then use a sharp knife to split each in half horizontally.
To assemble, place the thicker portion of each gordita on a large baking tray. Fill each with a filling of your choice. Replace the tops and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius. Top off with a sauce of your choice and accompany with a variety of salsas.
You can fill a gordita with anything, but here are a few recommendations to get you started:
Cheese and tomatoes
Peppers and tomatoes
Chorizo sausage with tomatoes and peppers
With bellies full and taste buds suitably tickled, it’s time for the next stop on our gastronomic tour of Latin America – Peru. First though, it would be a shame to leave Mexico without checking out all it has to offer. Whether you are looking to volunteer in Mexico or simply check out the best sights, check out my next blog for my top things to see and do in Mexico. Ariba!
It would be great to hear your feedback. What’s your favourite Mexican street food? Have you tried making gorditas using this recipe? If so, what were they like? Have you got a recipe that you think other readers would enjoy? Any ideas or tips are welcome. Please leave your comments below.
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