Sunday, October 22, 2006

Making Tortilla the Chacala Way

Probably everyone remembers La Gringa's post about making tortillas in Honduras. This is my friend and beach landlady, Esparanza, making tortillas, this morning. Most days, however, one of the Tortilla Boys comes zipping up on his moto, with a load of tortillas in the cooler strapped on his bike. Always just in time for breakfast and then again about 2pm, for lunch.
But on the days when no Tortilla Boys show up, Esparanza starts her outdoor fire, and goes to work. As the only woman in a household of between 4 and 7 men, she makes a lot of tortillas. Luckily two of her boys and her daughter are at University, so there's usually only her husband and the three sons still living at home. Plus two next door with their wives.
The stove is made of bricks piled loosely on top of each other until they are waist high. A very very smokey set-up. The cooker is a piece of curved, concave painted metal.
This is the tortilla dough, and the tortilla press.Esparanza rolls up little balls of dough, and used the tortilla press to make uniform tortillas.And cooks them over the fire....
This is Esparanza's youngest son, Carlito, who is seven or eight.
He was helping her this day, with the firewood.Just so you know, the tortilla cooking area is outside, and separate from where Esparanza cooks meals in her indoor, but open, kitchen.
The brick fireplace is surrounded by her garden, and occasionally a truck or two.


La Gringa said...

You make it sound like my tortilla post was famous. lol

These are corn tortillas, right? Boy, that is really smokey. Not good for the lungs. Do you know why they cook them outside? Is it to save on the gas or because it's cooler outside?

I haven't seen anyone here in La Ceiba (besides me) use a tortilla press, wood or metal. They always make them in their hands.

Interesting post. Thanks!

Mary said...

Interesting post to me, too.

Here in Panama the tortillas are very different from yours or from La Gringa's in Honduras. They're a little bit like a small, thick cornbread pancake, fried. Bright yellow.

It took me a while to overcome my expectations of Mexican-style tortillas and in fact I didn't like them at first. But I do now, though still not as much as the flour tortillas of Mexico.

I have no idea how to make them (I buy them already made in the local mercado), but they're good with rice and beans.