Some time back when my youngest was 8 months old i decided to have burritos for dinner. I figured that I could easily whip up a meat and bean mix and wrap all this into a tortilla and bake as per the instructions on the back of the cardboard box. All was going well with the dinner preparations and i was quietly jubilant on how this meal was going to go down as it was a favourite of mine growing up. All that fragrant spiced meat wrapped in a light, chewy tortilla under a blanket of melted cheese and salsa and a little family that could finally all ‘tuck in’ to ONE meal together. I placed some of the meat and beans in a bowl for the kids with grated cheese and carrot. The pièce de résistance- a warm tortilla, easy for little mouths to eat (excuse the French terminology for a Mexican dish)
After a few mouthfuls I looked around at the kids devouring the tortillas and then turned to the ‘stand in chef’ with the question spilling from my mouth ‘does your dinner taste really salty?’
We both were in agreement that something was indeed wrong and our meal was not tasting to dissimilar to drinking The Dead Sea. I deconstructed the burrito and tried each element individually. My detective mouth quickly concluded that the tortillas were the culprit and the salt in them dominated any other flavour in the meal. So pushed, prodded and scraped around the plate, my soggy sad tortilla was peeled away from its meaty filling and was left for the bin.
Meanwhile back to the children, they were both hoeing in and requesting another tortilla oblivious to my new discovery. I then had a thought – how much salt is in those tortillas? A quick rummage through the bin to retrieve the packet revealed all – 292mg sodium per serve. A quick google search for daily sodium intake recommendations ensued and needless to say i was horrified what flashed up in front of my eyes. Little Miss 8 months’ recommended daily sodium intake was 170mg per day (want to study the exciting facts click here). Yep, you read it right, in one simple tortilla, my baby had received nearly double her sodium intake! And Master 5 years received all of his daily sodium intake in one tortilla.
More googling followed –
Did you know excess salt in babies can cause kidney failure. Read more here if you wish
So needless to say, requests for seconds were denied, i declared myself ‘mother of the year’ and did what every mother needs to do when there is a need to vent – I headed to Facebook and declared my hatred for said Mexican food company and wrote them a little letter pointing out my concern.
Then what did I do? Vowed never to buy that product again.
Now this was all well and good until the next time I had an urge to get in touch with my Mexican side in the kitchen. But I was not going to relent. There were to be no package tortillas entering my kitchen. So, what to do? – Make your own.
I had no idea if this was going to be easy or hard so I put some time aside and gave it a go. Here is what i learned about making your own tortillas.
1. They ARE easy to make
2. They do take longer then ripping open a packet but you can make and freeze them
3. They do not have a shelf life of 12 months ( this my friends is a good thing)
4. They are far more tasty and delicious than any other tortilla you have ever had out of a packet and I know once you have tried one there is no turning back . N-O-N-E
So if I haven’t got anything through to you yet or if you are a skimmer and skimmed past all the above text please get this message. Packaged Tortillas have loads of salt in them – up to 2 times the daily recommended amount for littilies. Make your own tortillas. They do take a little effort to do but are easy and are way better and healthier than any packet tortilla
So what do you need –
Some plain flour, salt (only 1 tsp for the whole recipe which = 3oomg per batch which = 37mg per serve (ah…that sounds better), hot water and olive oil.
Add all the ingredients together in a bowl and bring it together with your hands. It is very quick and initially will feel quiet wet.
Plonk it on a floured bench and sprinkle with more flour. Give it a quick knead (literally took me 30 seconds) till it becomes a little smoother and less sticky
Then chop this neat little ball up into 8 little balls
Pop them on a plate, cover them and refrigerate for 30 minutes
When you are ready to go, grab your rolling pin and roll out to make a very thin smooth tortilla. I find as long as you flour the bench well and flour the top of the tortilla as well, it should not stick and is silky and pliable.
Get a non stick frypan and spray lightly with olive oil spray. You do not need much and adding too much makes the tortilla go stodgy and oily. Over a medium to high heat place the tortilla in the pan and and watch it bubble up. It is really quick. After about 1 minute it puffs up and has golden brown spots on the underside. Flip it over and give it a minute on the other side.
Do not overcook them as when the cool down they crack and are too crispy.
And that is it. Stack one on top of the other to keep them warm and pliable for serving. I have even frozen mine for another time by layering them between grease proof paper and placing them in a container in the freezer.
They are just delicious and have way less salt and God knows what else in them that enables them to have a shelf life of 12 months. I hope you give it a go and enjoy the multitude of fillings you can put in them.
1 1/4 cups (200g) of plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
2/3 cup of hot water
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and bring together with your hands. Place on a floured bench top and knead until in forms a smooth dough. Cut up into 8 portions and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Heat up a non-stick frypan to a medium/high heat. Lightly spray pan with olive oil spray. Remove dough from fridge and dust liberally with flour. Roll out dough to form a 1mm thin tortilla, dusting with more flour if necessary. Place tortilla dough in a pan and cook for 1 minute or until tortilla begins to puff up and is turning golden brown in spots. Turn over and cook other side for 1 minute. Stack tortillas one on top of the other and you are ready to serve.
I have experimented making them with other flours such as wholemeal plain flour or spelt flour. They have a heavier consistency but are still yummy.