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Keeping corn and flour tortillas warm or reheating


rarerollingobject
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Perhaps this belongs better in the Mexican forum, but it's embarrassingly basic..

I preface this by declaring myself Mexican-disabled; Mexican ingredients are pretty much non-existent in Australia and noone I know has any experience with this, soooo...

I finally found a source of fresh white corn tortillas (in Sydney! gasp!). My question is; what's the best way to warm them, to eat as soft tacos? The packaging has no direction on this. Microwaving them for 60 secs works OK but still leaves them a bit stiff and powdery.

Normally I'd be off experimenting but I'm rationing my supply so can't afford any tortilla mistakes!

Google has not been helpful on this, presumably because it's so basic as to not require specification, but please take pity on a tortilla newbie!

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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Personally I use a small cast iron skillet preheated on about medium heat. Toss the tortilla into the skillet for a few seconds, flip when the trapped air expands the bubbles, then pull off quickly in a couple of seconds.

You have to work fast!

I have also seen people put them in an oven on warm, covered with a kitchen towel.

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There are two ways to go about this:

You can heat them in a skillet (I stack them as I heat them...heat one, slide the next under it, and so on) which works quite well, but you have to pay attention or you will have burnt spots...or icky still tortillas...

Or, you CAN do them in the microwave...but there's a trick...you MUST wrap them in a damp paper towel (I use two, and wrap 'em all the way around.) Make sure they're completely covered by the PT...and then...nuke em. Works better if you do like 6 at a time.

Enjoy.

Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it.

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Shalmanese: www.fireworksfoods.com.au

Next day delivery, plus all the chilli sauces, salsas, dried chillis, mole mixes and beans required. I ordered a WHOLE lotta stuff; it arrived today and I'm thrilled to bits.

Everyone else: in this heated skillet, would you use oil or oil-less?

Thanks for all the replies!

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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no question is a dumb question!

I like to reheat them in the microwave (6 at a time) with a damp paper towel wrapped around them for about 30-45 seconds.

Last weekend I grilled some carne asada outside and heated up the tortillas on my grill. I left them on until they puffed up - literally 5-10 seconds if the coals are directly underneath.

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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There are two ways to go about this:

You can heat them in a skillet (I stack them as I heat them...heat one, slide the next under it, and so on) which works quite well, but you have to pay attention or you will have burnt spots...or icky still tortillas...

Or, you CAN do them in the microwave...but there's a trick...you MUST wrap them in a damp paper towel (I use two, and wrap 'em all the way around.) Make sure they're completely covered by the PT...and then...nuke em. Works better if you do like 6 at a time.

Enjoy.

I was going to suggest this, only I prefer a damp dish towel. The advantage to this is that if it's a reasonably presentable towel, you can bring them to the table still wrapped and they stay warm.

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I don't even bother with the cast iron skillet, I just heat them directly over the flame of my gas stove and flip them using kitchen tongs.

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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I always put them in the microwave, as well -- after a day, fresh tortillas are usually a bit dried out, so the damp paper/dish towel helps moisten them up again. I often eat them for breakfast, slathered with salted butter. Yum.

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All of the above, depending upon the ultimate destination of the tortilla in question.

Microwave/low oven is best for stacks of torts that will be used for enchiladas or burritos. For enchiladas, an alternative way for corn tortillas is to dip then very quickly in hot oil, followed by a quick dip in hot enchilada sauce. Some recipes do away with the oil dip, and just soften them in the hot sauce. This only works for corn tortillas though. Flour torts are way too delicate to handle that kind of treatment, and will fall apart quite quickly.

Microwave/low oven heating always requires the dampness of either paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. If in the oven, then over-wrapped with aluminum foil.

For soft tacos, the dry skillet/skillet, open flame route is the way to go. It crisps up the tortilla everso slightly, even while making it more pliable, and gives it a very good charry-smokey taste as well.

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Since I moved 5 months ago, I don't have a gas stove anymore, so no heating over a flame for me. I do have a blowtorch though, but my wife already yelled at me for using it to sear tuna the other day, so it isn't allowed in the kitchen any more. :laugh:

I just wrap a stack in foil and toss it either in the oven, or on the grill for a bit. This works better than the microwave, and has the added advantage that, as long as it isn't too hot, it can keep them warm for a while.

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I use a sandwich griddle and put the tortilla in there for about thirty seconds on high. It heats both sides simultaneously and comes out perfectly. It's great for melting some cheese too when the cheese is placed on the heated tortilla. A wrapped tortilla burrito can be placed back on the grill for crisping if one so desires.

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what ellencho said, except without the tongs cuz i'm totally manly like that.

Use to use the skillet but now that I have a gas rangetop I just flip them sam tongs rapidly over the flame. I don't mind a few light burn spots since it adds a roasted flavor to the corn tortillas This method work great for frozen pita bread as well.

Edited by scubadoo97 (log)
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Not that New Mexicans corner the market on Mexican foods, but many people forget that we're part of the United States :blink:

So with that ragtag claim to pseudo authority aside, I only microwave tortillas when I'm desparate. Even in stacks, if they aren't eaten relatively quickly they start to get that radiation stiffness that's only appropriate for Catholic communion wafers.

My preferred method is to slap those suckers on top of whatever I've been cooking to keep the food hot and warm the tortillas (basically steaming them) while I'm slurping down the margharita. So...use them as a lid...my final answer.

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Rarerolling -- not exactly on your topic, but if you are actually getting tortillas overnight mailed to you I thought it might be relevant -- I have recently started making my own corn tortillas, and have become a total convert... While it is a bit of an effort, I think the results are amazing -- I was never really a store-bought corn tortilla fan, but home-made are another animal -- I started making them, and now can't get enough! Seems like this way you'd get fresher tortillas, they'd likely to be cheaper, and you could keep the ingredients for them on hand for those Mexican food cravings!

Looking at that site you linked to, I see they sell the yellow corn and white corn masa required to make the tortillas -- basically the recipe I use is 2 cups masa to 1 cup water, which makes 12 tortillas... They get rolled out between sheets of plastic wrap, and then (without the wrap) get cooked for a few minutes on each side in a cast iron skillet... Sooooo good!

Emily

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Rarerolling -- not exactly on your topic,  but if you are actually getting tortillas overnight mailed to you I thought it might be relevant -- I have recently started making my own corn tortillas, and have become a total convert... While it is a bit of an effort, I think the results are amazing -- I was never really a store-bought corn tortilla fan, but home-made are another animal -- I started making them, and now can't get enough! Seems like this way you'd get fresher tortillas, they'd likely to be cheaper, and you could keep the ingredients for them on hand for those Mexican food cravings!

Looking at that site you linked to, I see they sell the yellow corn and white corn masa required to make the tortillas -- basically the recipe I use is 2 cups masa to 1 cup water, which makes 12 tortillas... They get rolled out between sheets of plastic wrap, and then (without the wrap) get cooked for a few minutes on each side in a cast iron skillet... Sooooo good!

Emily

This is a good idea - I did actually buy some masa at the same time, with the vague intention to make tamales. This is perhaps quite ambitious considering I didn't even know how to heat tortillas, but I'm pretty adept at Chinese sticky rice parcels so figure they're comparable skills.

I ALSO bought a comal from that site so I think I will scratch the tamales and parry forth to the tortillas...thanks! :biggrin:

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You can read my tutorial on how to make fresh tortillas --Tortillas 1 2 3 a Tutorial.

To heat cold tortillas my wife uses the comal - or steamed over food as suggested. For quick crispy tortillas I put them in the toaster. My wife thought I was crazy. It works. By the way tortillas left on the comal for too long tortillas get hard, corny and wonderful. The best slightly burnt crunch there is.

Jmahl

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi folks --

I'm thinking of throwing a mexican taco party, but something has me stumped. Imagine there'll be six people, each eating three tacos. That's at a minimum 18 corn tortillas to heat up in my dry cast iron pan for a minute or so on each side. Even at just a minute each, that's 18 minutes doing them one at a time, and makes it hard for everyone to eat together and get that hot-off-the-griddle toasty corn flavor. Is there some way to do these in larger batches? In a hot oven perhaps?

Thanks in advance!

Emily

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Hi folks --

I'm thinking of throwing a mexican taco party, but something has me stumped. Imagine there'll be six people, each eating three tacos. That's at a minimum 18 corn tortillas to heat up in my dry cast iron pan for a minute or so on each side. Even at just a minute each, that's 18 minutes doing them one at a time, and makes it hard for everyone to eat together and get that hot-off-the-griddle toasty corn flavor. Is there some way to do these in larger batches? In a hot oven perhaps?

Thanks in advance!

Emily

In the oven will work - but the texture changes. There is nothing like fresh. To make 18 tortillas with a little practice is nothing.

If that will not work for you then for a softer texture in the oven wrapped in a slightly damp cloth and then in foil to keep the tortillas from drying out.

Hope this helps.

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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I was in Mexico City about a month ago and met the editors of Culinaria Mexicana and they gave me a stone from Veracruz that was rounded and flattened and you put it on the fire or in a microwave and then it goes into the tortilla basket and it keeps the tortillas warm for a good long time! It really worked. They sell it online, I think, but also at their compound in DF, which will have a wonderful store, kitchens and more once they're up and running 100%.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

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I was in Mexico City about a month ago and met the editors of Culinaria Mexicana and they gave me a stone from Veracruz that was rounded and flattened and you put it on the fire or in a microwave and then it goes into the tortilla basket and it keeps the tortillas warm for a good long time! It really worked. They sell it online, I think, but also at their compound in DF, which will have a wonderful store, kitchens and more once they're up and running 100%.

Steve, is this something you're going to carry in your store? If so, sign me up for half a dozen.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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