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There is a little old lady by my dad’s house in Mexico that is known for her quesadillas and her tlacoyos.
The people in the neighborhood already know what days to go and line up for her incredible goodies. As with most food stands in Mexico, if you get there after she runs out, you’re out of luck.
Luckily, they are SO easy to make at home. Here’s how to make them…
What are they?
Tlacoyos are thick corn tortillas shaped in an oval and stuffed with beans. Then topped with something like beef barbacoa, pork carnitas, cochinita pibil.
Start by adding the masa harina to a large bowl. You need a bowl that’s big enough to mix everything.
Add salt. Don’t oversalt. Just like it’s hard to un-boil an egg, it’s also as hard to un-salt food.
Such an easy Mexican recipe, but there’s a trick to it.
Warm up the water in the microwave for 15 seconds.
You are mixing by hand, and you don’t want to burn yourself. If it’s too hot, add cold water.
Mix well. You want the consistency to be like wet sand.
Taste it. I know it sounds weird, but this is your opportunity to taste for salt. If it needs some salt, add salt and then mix some more.
Form a ball with the masa dough. Do you see the size in the picture above?
It is the size of a tennis ball. Game. Set. Match.
From here, pat it just like gorditas. This ain’t patty cake, and I ain’t no baker’s man.
Don’t make it too thin. It will look like a thick tortilla and can cover your hand.
Tlacoyos is a great recipe to use up leftover beans. Add about a tablespoon of refried beans to the center of the masa.
You can also use black beans if you like. Bean there. Done that.
Fold over the ends to seal up the masa. Sealed for your protection… and theirs!
At first, it will look almost like an empanada, the shape of a taco.
However, your goal (post) is to make this into the shape of a football. Welcome to the NFL, the National Frijoles League.
You want to form an oval shaped masa. Think of a football with two pointy ends minus the tackling and punting.
- Carefully, start to pat it and form it. Be very gentle with this or the beans will come out.
- If the beans come out, cover it with some more masa.
- Get some water. Dip your finger in the water and press the masa area to close up the hole.
If it’s a small opening, it’s ok. The tlacoyos will cook just the same.
- Heat up the griddle or skillet.
- Place the tlacoyos on the hot griddle and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side.
Touch the tlacoyos to make sure they are firm and fully cooked.
There are people who fry their Tlacoyos. They are amazingly good! It elevates them to a whole new level.
Making them on the griddle takes longer than if you fry them.
Note: I like my tlacoyos slightly burned. I will leave them on the griddle for up to 10 minutes before turning to get those burned spots. Yum!
Ideas for Toppings:
Chorizo con Papas
Chicharrón en Salsa Roja
Ensalada de Nopales
Easy, right?! You can even make them ahead of time. They last up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.
These tlacoyos are completely vegan and oh so tasty. It’s some of the best of Mexican street food. Hope you enjoy!
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- In a large bowl, combine the masa harina and the salt.
- Add the warm water.
- Gradually mix the dry ingredients with the water until it forms a large masa dough.
- It will look like wet sand.
- With wet hands, make a ball of dough. About the size of a tennis ball.
- Pat out the dough. It should cover your hand and look like a thick tortilla.
- Add 1 tablespoon of refried beans to the center of the masa in your hand.
- Fold over the ends to seal up the masa. It will look like a taco or empanada.
- Be careful not to squeeze or push out any beans.
- Slowly start to flatten the masa out until it resembles a long, pointy football.
- Heat the griddle or skillet.
- Place the tlacoyos on the griddle.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes per side.
- Remove from the griddle and place on a plate.
- Add desired toppings.
- Serve with salsa.