The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook: Make Your Own Condiments and Essentials (Quarry Books, 2013) by Erin Coopey is the perfect guide to learn the process of making your own homemade tortilla chips. Boasting over 90 recipes, these tortilla chips will have you vowing to never buy them from a store again.
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These tortilla chips are very rustic. These are more like the chips that you might eat in Mexico — hearty, corn-flavored totopos. Compare them to a store-bought chip and you’ll be blown away by the flavor.
Homemade Tortilla Chips Recipe
• 2 cups (232 g) masa harina
• 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus more sea salt for sprinkling
• 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups (295 to 355 ml) warm water
• About 8 cups (1.9 L) rice bran, canola oil, or lard, for frying
1. Put the masa harina and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium-size mixing bowl and begin adding the water slowly, stirring constantly, until the dough is pliable but not sticky. The texture should be like pie crust. You should be able to roll it into a ball.
2. Knead the dough until it is well blended and evenly moistened, about 2 to 3 minutes. If the dough cracks while kneading, add a little more water. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.
3. Next, divide the dough into 12 equal balls, 1-1/2 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter, about the size of golf balls. Cover the balls with a towel again and let them rest for another 5 minutes.
4. In the meantime, preheat a large, ungreased cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
5. One at a time, place a ball between two layers of plastic wrap or waxed paper and flatten using a tortilla press or heavy skillet. I use a tortilla press because it’s quick and gives you an even thickness, but you can definitely use a skillet instead. The finished tortilla should be very thin, no more than 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, and about 5 inches (13 cm) wide. Peel the tortilla away from the plastic wrap carefully so it doesn’t tear.
6. Place the pressed tortillas onto the ungreased griddle and cook between 45 seconds and 1 minute on one side and then flip to the other. Cook for an additional 45 seconds to 1 minute. When the tortilla starts to puff up, remove it from the pan. I cook the tortillas as I press them, instead of pressing them all and then cooking them. That way, the tortillas don’t dry out.
7. Allow the tortillas to cool slightly. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them into 6 wedges each. Spread the wedges out onto baking sheets or a clean counter and cover with dry kitchen towels. Allow to air-dry for at least 2 hours. Sometimes I allow my chips to dry overnight. The drier the tortillas, the crispier the final chips. Make sure they remain covered while drying so that they don’t curl at the edges.
8. Next, heat the oil in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with paper towels or brown paper bags for draining the chips.
9. Working in batches, fry the chips until just golden, about 5 minutes. They will continue to brown a bit even after you remove them from the oil, so don’t overbrown them. Drain the chips on paper towels and sprinkle generously and immediately with salt.
10. Continue to fry the remaining chips. As you need space on the paper towels, transfer the finished chips to a bowl or a baking sheet in a warm oven (175 degrees to 200 degrees F [79 degrees to 93 degrees C]) until all the chips are fried. The chips can remain in the oven for up to 30 minutes.
Because of their thickness, these chips have a tendency to get soft when you try to store them. I recommend eating them within a few hours of making them for the best flavor and texture.
Note: Do not substitute corn flour or cornmeal for masa harina because they are made by a different process. Masa harina, also called masa de harina, is available online or in the Mexican food section of your grocery store. If you have a Mexican mercado in your area, it may sell fresh masa (premixed dough) by the pound, which can be substituted in place of the masa harina and water.
Tip: What is Masa Harina?
Masa harina is a finely ground flour made from dried field corn that has been treated with a lime and water solution. It’s a traditional ingredient in Mexican cooking and is used for tamales, tortillas, and sopas.
More recipes from The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook: Make Your Own Condiments and Essentials:
Reprinted with permission from The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook: Make Your Own Condiments and Essentials by Erin Coopey. Published by Quarry Books Publishing, 2013. You can buy this book from our store: The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook: Make Your Own Condiments and Essentials