Mexico likes its stars humble and with both feet firmly planted on the ground. Just think of Pedro Infante or the famous wrestler El Santo. Both were incredibly famous, but always felt almost within reach for most Mexicans.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the tortilla, the star of Mexican cuisine, is just like that. This flat bread is the leading actress that holds it all together but stays humble and approachable.
As often happens with many traditional Mexican foods, the precise origins of tortillas are unknown. We have only sparse hints here and there. For example, pots for Nixtamal dating from the 4th century BC have been found in the ancient city of Teotihuacan.
Nixtamal, or Nixtamalization was a process invented by the ancient peoples of Mexico and it’s still used to this day. It 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.
A Tortilla for Everyone
While the yellowish soft corn Tortillas are the standard, this food is so important to Mexico’s everyday life that it’s inevitable to find local variations. Blue tortillas are common in Mexico City and in the states of Hidalgo, Puebla and Morelos. Flour tortillas are a staple in the diets of northern states like Sonora and Chihuahua. In Tabasco and Yucatan, they love “pechunques,” thick tortillas made adding beans or “chicharrón” (fried pork rinds) to the corn dough before cooking it.
One of the most fascinating aspects of tortillas is how versatile they are. You can roll them and eat them plain. If you add meat or beans you have a taco. You can tear a piece of your tortilla and use it as a substitute for a spoon. And if you don’t finish the tortillas you made for dinner, don’t worry: You can always fry them and enjoy some hearty chilaquiles the morning after, or a delicious tortilla soup, further proving that this humble star is willing to play any role in order to please its audience.
At El Pollo Norteno we love all aspects of Mexican cuisine. We love Its history, the stories that surround it and, above all, its delicious flavors.
We have locations in Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Anna. Contact us today, order online, or call 866-MI-POLLO to savor our chilaquiles, a tasty torta, delicious birria or our amazing chicken grilled to perfection over real Mesquite charcoal!