As you have probably noticed following our culinary adventures, things aren’t always what they seem in Mexican cuisine. For example: are tortillas Mexican or Spanish? The answer is both delicious and surprising.
Are Tortillas Mexican or Spanish?
If you want to know if tortillas are Mexican or Spanish, the answer is “both.” But everything depends on what you mean by tortilla.
If by tortillas you mean the corn flatbread used to make tacos, then they are Mexican.
But if you mean the omelet-like dish made with eggs and potatoes (also known as “tortilla de patatas”), then we’re talking about a Spanish specialty.
The similarity between these two terms is explained by the fact that “tortilla” literally means “small cake,” so at least in theory it can be used to refer to a wide variety of dishes.
The good news is that both Mexican and Spanish tortillas are delicious, and you should try both. In fact, why not eat a (Spanish) tortilla with a (Mexican) tortilla? Tortillas for everyone!
About the Origin of Mexican Tortillas
When it comes to Mexican food, some dishes bear the influence of both Mexican and Spanish cultures. However, tortillas are 100% Mexican, down to the process used to transform corn into dough, known as nixtamalization.
Nixtamalization consists in boiling the corn with an alkaline substance in order to soften the corn kernels and remove their outer layer.
Nixtamalization enhances the nutritional properties of corn because some proteins can be assimilated only after being transformed by the alkaline substance.
Just like tortillas, this is a really ancient process. For example, pots dating from the 4th century BC and determined to have contained nixtamal have been found in the ancient city of Teotihuacan.
To learn more about (Mexican) tortillas, check out our previous blogs, “Can Tortillas Be Frozen?” and “3 Amazing Facts About Tortillas.”
El Pollo Norteño: Authentic Mexican Food
Craving delicious, authentic Mexican food made with ingredients of the highest quality? El Pollo Norteño has you covered!
Visit any of our five locations (Anaheim, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, and Lake Forest), order online, get in touch through Facebook, or call 866-MI-POLLO to enjoy our vast selection of authentic Mexican dishes.