One of the things that I love about Mexico is the open air markets that pop up across neighborhoods throughout the city each day. These bazaars are called Tianguis. In my suegras (mother-in-law)neighborhood, Tianguis is usually on Sundays and Wednesdays, but you do not have to travel very far to find another local Tianguis on any given day. For me, I just love wandering through these markets, especially once I get to the section that is selling food. One memory that I have is going to a Tianguis with my suegra and I stopping by this stall with a little old lady and her large comal, a pot of refried beans, and a large bowl of fresh corn masa. My suegra put up three fingers and the little old lady took a ball of masa, formed a thick tortilla in her hands, stuffed it with beans, and flipped it back and forth between her two hands. Once she has formed a large, mostly flat, football shaped cake, she slapped it on the hot comal. A few minutes later, I had this delicious toasted treat called a Tlacoyo.
Tlacoyos are a simple, but delicious antojito that are oval shaped fried or toasted cakes made of masa. They are similar to fresh corn tortillas, but are somewhat torpedo or football shaped and fatter. They are usually stuffed with refried beans, requeson, fava beans, or chicharon (pork rinds) or other ingredients. The toasted or fried Tlacoyo is traditionally consumed with only salsa and cheese. We usually just pile on some fresh sautéed nopales, salsa, and cheese, but you can experiment with all sorts of toppings here. Start with some shredded chicken or chorizo and don’t stop until you have topped it with some fresh queso canasta or queso cotija!
Forming your Tlacoyo takes a bit of skill and a LOT of practice. As I made them, I had a few failures, but by the end, we had made a few perfect Tlacoyos to shoot and eat! Maybe someday in the future I will shoot my own videos, but until then, you can view a YouTube video on how to make Tlacoyos here : How to make Tlacoyos.
Tlacoyos de Frijol
- Frijoles de Olla
- Salsa Roja or Salsa Verde (see below)
- Sauteed Nopales (see below)
- Queso Fresco or Queso Cotija
- 2 cups Blue Corn Masa Harina or Maseca Masa Harina
1. In a large mixing bowl dump in the masa harina and make a well in the center.
2. Start adding water with about 1/2 cup at first then mix in the masa just as you would to make fresh pasta dough.
3. Continue to add water at little bit at a time until you form one cohesive mass of dough, it should be a little bit on the wet, tacky side.
4. At this point you can follow the YouTube video or you can follow my method (warning: this takes a bit of practice to perfect and it is difficult to write a procedure!) Take a little larger than a golf ball size bit of masa and form an oblong mass, take it to a tortilla press and LIGHTLY press out a rather thick tortilla.
5. Take the thick tortilla and spread some beans down just the center of the tortilla. Then fold one side halfway in and then the other side halfway in, then fold down the top and bottom to cover the beans completely.
6. Take it back to the tortilla press and press it out lightly to form a long torpedo shaped, or football shaped thick tlacoyo.
7. Place it gently on your heated comal and toast well on both sides.
9. Once you have all your tlacoyos toasted, spead a bit of corn oil on both sides of the tlacoyo with your finger or a brush, then fry until crisp and golden.
10. Take your tlacoyo, spread some fresh sautéed nopales, put a liberal spoonful of salsa on top of the nopales, then add some crumbled cheese and serve!
Fresh Sauteed Nopales
6-8 Nopales (Cactus Paddles)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon corn oil
Pinch of Salt
1. Clean the nopales by cutting off the needles and the nodes, and then cut the stem and the edges off the paddles.
2. Cut each nopal into thin strips about 1 inch long in length.
3. Once they are all cleaned and cut, place in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes or until tender.
4. Rinse under cold water.
5. Take a medium sautee pan and about a tablespoon of corn oil and heat until shimmering.
6. Add the nopales and sautee for about 2 minutes.
7. Add the oregano and salt and toss well. Continue to cook for about 1 or 2 more minutes.
- 3 Tomatillos
- 6 chile jalepeño
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 peel of onion
- 1/4 cup cilantro loosely packed
- Salt to taste
1. Toast the tomatillos, jalepeño, and garlic on a comal.
2. Once they are all nice a toasted (but not burnt!), halve the tomatillos, peel the garlic, and remove the stems from the jalepeño. You can also remove the seeds and veins from the jalepeño for a slightly milder salsa.
3. Place in a food processor with the onion and the cilantro.
4. Pulse until you get the consistency you desire, less for a chunky salsa, more for a smoother salsa.
5. Spoon into a serving bowl, add the salt, and mix well.