One of my favourite memories from our US Holiday is on our very last day we made our way to Olvera Street.
We had read about Olvera Street on trip advisor before we left Australia, and with a love of all things Mexican (particularly the food), we knew we had to make a huge effort to get there. It was a wonderful place full of market stands selling Mexican wares and spotted with traditional restaurants.
Before we had even been to the US we had been on a mission to discover what Mexican food really was like. I had been making my tortillas from scratch for about a year, and dabbled in trying to make my own spice mix (never very successfully).
After we had eaten at Olvera Street we knew that buying the old El Paso Mexican kits from Woolies was just never going to cut it again! Ever!
And with some experience now with what ACTUAL Mexican food tastes like, we had a better reference point for what our food should be.
Now, I havent developed my own recipes, because I managed to find recipes that were pretty clean and gave me the right flavours.
I’m going to list all of the recipes (and resources) I currently use, so hopefully you can experiment and try them all! The flavours are so much better than those pre-made flavour sachets from the supermarket.
FOR THE TORTILLAS:
I bought my Tortilla Press from Chile Mojo
. I used to flatten them with a rolling pin, but the Tortilla Press is so much better; they stay round, and are an even thickness which in the long run, makes cooking them easier. There is also instructions on how to make your own wooden press here
I buy my Masa Lista Flour from Goodies & Grains
in the Adelaide Central Markets. You can make them with plain flour, but they just dont taste realistic and are too bland.
Now, the all important Tortilla Recipe. I have tried dozens and dozens of recipes, and NOTHING beats masa lista, salt, a drizzle of oil and water. If you need a recipe click this link
and it will download a doc from Chile Mojo for Corn Masa, Alternatively, go to the Chile Mojo
website and look up their recipes link.
The trick to cooking tortillas is to think of them as having three sides. Set your pan to really hot, don’t put oil or anything like that in it, and when it is heated slap a tortilla in, Leave it in there for 15 seconds for the side to set, then turn it over and let it cook. When it is ready you will see the layers start to separate and bubble a little bit – this should only take a minute of cooking time. When you see it do this, flip it again and it will puff up beautifully.
If you want nachos, just cut the tortillas up, brush VERY lightly with oil, put in the oven and heat up, then when slightly gold pull out and sprinkle with salt.
FOR THE SALSA:
There is no other explaining to do… THIS RECIPE
is the bomb! totally perfect and exactly how I had it on Olvera Street.
FOR THE SPICE MIX:
Well this has been a bit of trial and error – by far I have stuffed this up more than anything else. BUT I am pretty happy with this now (quantaties are for 500g of whatever meat you are using).
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
NB: I leave out most of the chilli powder for the kids and then add it in at the end for the grown up version. The paprika is plenty warm enough. As the kids get older I will add in a pinch more every 6 months or so.
For the meat mix, I don’t bother adding in any vegetables. Whenever I had this sort of spice mix in the US (in SoCal or AZ) vegetables (like onion, mushroom, carrot) were always added fresh on top, unless I was eating cooked chilli.
Well there you go! I really hope you try it.
If you are having nachos don’t forget to try the Chile Mojo recipe for Salsa Con Queso! YUMM!!!
Happy Mexican Night at your house 🙂