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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC


Masa-Mesquite Tortillas


Once you start making fresh tortillas, you’ll wonder what took you so long!  The superior flavor and texture of homemade tortillas put commercially made ones to shame. Whipping up a batch of fresh tortillas can encourage kids of every age to flock to the kitchen and join in; they are fast and fun to do. This recipe adds mesquite flour to organic masa harina, giving the tortilla an even softer texture and a sweet nutty flavor. Freshly milled chestnut flour would accomplish this too.  Mesquite pods are in the legume family. They are rich in fiber and protein with high levels of calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and magnesium, and carry a low glycemic load.


When making fresh corn tortillas, use only masa harina flour, the traditional flour of indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica that protected them from malnutrition from pellagra. It is “nixtamalized”, i.e. alkalized with slaked lime, which makes niacin in the maize bioavailable. Do not use regular cornmeal for tortillas, however. While appropriate for polenta or baked into cornbread and muffins, it will not make tender, pliant tortillas.


Prep 10 minutes         

Cooking 30 minutes               

Makes about twelve 6--inch tortillas


Suggested Equipment

A tortilla press; plastic grocery bag (with no printing on it), cut to line both sides of the tortilla press; a non-stick comal griddle or non-stick skillet, a large silicone or nylon spatula, and a large basket or bowl and two clean kitchen linens.


1 ¾ cups of organic masa harina

¼ cup mesquite flour

About 1 ½ cups very hot water


  • Mix the masa harina and mesquite flours in a large bowl. 
  • Slowly add very hot water, mixing initially with a spoon, and when the temperature is tolerable, continuing with your hand.  Add only enough water to create a soft, supple, and smooth dough that is not at all crumbly.  The moisture in the dough is essential for tender tortillas.
  • The exact proportion of water to flour is variable, depending on the brand and grind of your flours, and the ambient heat and humidity.
  • Cover the bowl with a damp cloth.
  • Pre-heat your non-stick comal or skillet for 5 minutes over a medium/medium-high flame.
  • Cut the plastic bag, making one piece to cover the bottom plate and another for the top.  Make the covers a little larger than the press plates.
  • Break off enough tortilla dough to roll into a 2-inch ball with your palms.  Make the ball as smooth as you can. Replace the damp cloth over the bowl to prevent the dough from drying out.
  • Open the tortilla press, lay a piece of plastic on it, and place the rolled ball of dough in the center. Cover with the other piece of plastic and close the press. Using the lever, press down firmly. Open the press, flip over the flattened dough with its plastic covers, close and press the dough a second time. 
  • Remove the tortilla from the press, gently peeling off the plastic on the first side. Lay the tortilla on your palm and gently, peel off the second plastic sheet.
  • Transfer the tortilla to the hot comal or skillet and start making your next tortilla as the first one cooks.
  • After 3 minutes check the underside of the tortilla in the comal. We are looking for light brown speckling over its surface. If it has darkened too much, lower your flame. If the color is too pale, raise the heat slightly. 
  • Flip the tortilla over and cook for another 3 minutes. Press around the perimeter of the tortilla with the spatula to cause the tortilla to puff up with steam to cook the interior. Don’t fret if you can’t coax your tortillas to puff up, they’ll still be delicious, but it is somehow satisfying when you can!
  • Flip it again, if necessary to lightly brown the underside to match the top, then transfer the cooked tortilla to a basket or bowl that you have lined with a clean kitchen linen. Cover it with another linen to keep the tortilla warm and to allow its steam to soften it further.
  • Repeat until you have used up the dough.  As you add hot tortillas to the bowl/basket, flip their order around, to keep them all warm and steamy. 
  • You may not have leftovers, but if you do, wrap them in plastic and refrigerate or freeze. To reheat, cover them with a damp clean dish towel and microwave for 1 minute – or steam for 3 minutes - and then toast briefly on your skillet.
  • Enjoy your tortillas with soup, stews, chilis, in nachos and enchiladas.



Masa-Mesquite Tortillas

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