Chili-Cilantro Tortillas

About 2 years ago I bought a tortillado—a tortilla press—with intentions to have all scratch-made Mexican meals. It took me a while to break it out, and the results of recipes I tested were mixed. This summer, however, I ran across a recipe from Mexico in my Kitchen that I’m so pleased with I haven’t tried to change it. It’s my go-to for scratch-made flour tortillas. The only thing on my “to-do” list was to experiment with embedding flavor into them … thus chili-cilantro tortillas.

But during a recent exploration of foods that are not so healthy for you, I was reminded that shortening may not be the best ingredient to include in your diet. I wondered what would happen if I made a tortilla using vegetable oil instead of shortening. I knew it might be challenging to get air into the tortilla, but beyond that I was not quite sure. To be honest, I prefer the chili-cilantro tortillas made with shortening, because they rise better. Still, using oil will work.  As for flavor, the chili and cilantro come through subtly.

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Under Pressure

Both the shortening and oil-based flour tortillas worked well in the tortillado, as did corn tortillas I made. The other day I even used gingerbread cookie dough to press out a crispy ginger biscuit. I love my tortillado—it presses a tortilla quickly and easily, without having to add more flour to the dough and with virtually no mess to clean up! Use plastic sheets on either side of the press, center a dough ball, press the plates together, and lift—perfect tortilla!  If you don’t have a tortillado, you can roll out your tortillas. I’ve pressed them out with my hands as well. You’ll need a little more time to make them and will create a bit more mess to clean up.

About Chili-Cilantro Tortillas

These low sodium, vegetarian flat breads are good with traditional Mexican cuisine or can be used to fill a variety of handheld tacos: the only limit is your imagination. For a completely vegetarian experience, I recommend a slaw with guacamole and perhaps a plant-based protein. I think I’d even use them to dip into dal or a curry in place of naan. For non-vegetarians, these would be suitable for about any taco you’d like to make with them. Or change up your avocado toast and make it an avocado tortilla.

“They are so damn ‘intellectual’ and rotten that I can’t stand them anymore….I [would] rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than have anything to do with those ‘artistic’ bitches of Paris.”

— Frida Kahlo
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Chili-Cilantro Tortillas

Homemade flour tortillas are fun to make, especially if you have a tortilla press (even if you don’t) and fun to eat, too. Roll ‘em out, cook ‘em up, fill ‘em up, eat ‘em up. Mmmm….
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken chili, cilantro, flour tortilla, low sodium, non-vegetarian option, quick bread, tortilla
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Rest dough 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 pieces
Author Lisa Kamolnick / Food Passages

Equipment

  • tortillado (tortilla press) optional

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ C flour
  • 3/8 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cilantro
  • ¼ C vegetable oil
  • ¼ to ½ C hot water

Instructions

Prepare dough

  • Mix dry ingredients well.
  • Mix oil in dry ingredients with fork until it resembles coarse meal.
  • Add a little of the water at a time. Do not over moisten. You have enough water when the dough holds together.
  • On a work surface, knead dough until it is smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 6 pieces.
  • Roll these pieces into balls, somewhere around ping pong ball size.
  • Place in bowl or on plate, cover with damp towel and rest about 30 minutes.

Press or roll out tortillas

  • After resting the dough balls, heat skillet or griddle to medium.
  • If you have a tortillado (tortilla press), place ball between plastic sheet(s) and press to shape tortilla.
  • If you do not have a press, use a rolling pin on your work surface to shape the tortilla. The best way, according to the blog Mexico in my Kitchen, is to mash the ball with your palm, then roll the pin from the center back and forth with turns until you shape it in a circle. This will increase prep time.

Cook

  • Place tortilla(s) on skillet/griddle. Cook about 20 to 30 seconds. When air bubbles start to form on top of the tortilla, turn it.
  • Cook the other side about 20 to 30 seconds. The tortilla should puff up. (Puffing is slight with this oil-based version.)
  • Immediately remove and place on a plate covered with a towel.

Notes

Serving Suggestions
Use for soft tacos or other Mexican dishes, or to scoop up a variety of foods. Switch out avocado toast for an avocado tortilla. 
Tips
  • Silicon mats are good surfaces for working with tortilla dough, as they require little to no flour to work the rolling pin.  Too much flour will dry out your tortillas.
  • When cooking your tortillas, look for the brown spots. No brown spots, heat is not high enough. Dark brown spots, heat is too high.
  • If not used immediately, refrigerate in plastic bag. 
Recipe Links
For a shortening-based recipe, check out Mexico in my Kitchen.