What makes these gluten free soft taco tortillas special
I like the weight, chewiness and even the authentic aroma of masa harina, a precooked cornmeal. Adding all purpose gluten free flour makes the dough a bit easier to handle. Instead of oil, I used nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening because I like how smooth it makes the dough.
These make a super quick dinner. Fill them with a variety of chopped grilled vegetables, or with leftover grilled chicken or ground beef you brown quickly on the stovetop. There’s lot of potential here.
What’s your favorite way to eat a soft taco? My favorite way is black bean and corn salsa with tomatoes and freshly grated cheese, in a warm taco right out of the pan.
Ingredients and substitutions
Masa harina corn flour: In place of masa harina corn flour, a precooked cornmeal which is discussed fully in our recipe for pupusas, I have made this recipe successfully using corn flour. In the U.S., corn flour is finely ground cornmeal, and an ingredient we explore fully in our recipe for gluten free cornbread.
Instead of purchasing corn flour as fully ground, you can simply take any coarsely ground cornmeal that you have on hand, and grind it further. I grind a bunch in my personal blender or miniature food processor, and store it as “double ground cornmeal” in my pantry.
Shortening: I use Spectrum brand non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening. It is not Crisco. Instead, it’s sustainably sourced and significantly healthier than hydrogenated vegetable shortening.
If you don’t have or don’t want to use shortening, you can try solid-at-room-temperature virgin coconut oil. If you’re concerned about a coconut aroma, see if you can find triple filtered virgin coconut oil, which has absolutely no aroma.
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
3/4 cup (90 g) gluten free masa harina or gluten free corn flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons (24 g) non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum brand)
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) warm water, plus more as necessary
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, masa harina, salt, and baking powder, and whisk to combine well. Add the shortening and cut in with a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers (it doesn’t need to stay cold, so your hot little hands work fine here) until evenly distributed throughout the dry ingredients.
Add the water to the mixture slowly, mixing constantly. The dough will begin to come together. Depending upon the climate in your kitchen, you may need more water than 1/2 cup, and you made need less. After 1/2 cup, add the water sparingly by the tablespoon, kneading well after each addition. If the dough is crumbly, it is too dry and needs a bit more water. If it is sticky, it is too wet and could benefit from another teaspoon of masa. Add all ingredients sparingly. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until smooth and well integrated, cover with a towel, and allow to rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
Once the dough has rested, divide it into 8 to 10 equal parts (depending upon how large you want your tacos), and roll each into a ball. Roll between two either two sheets of plastic wrap or a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, split down the seams and then cut in half. Use a tortilla press (lined with plastic on both sides) if you have one – they’re worth the small investment.
Cook each round of dough in a heavy-bottom cast iron (or nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat for 20 seconds on one side (pressing the tortilla gently in the center with a wide spatula as it cooks), flip and cook for 10 seconds on the other side. The tortilla should be completely opaque and lightly charred in spots.
emove the tortilla from the pan, and place either in a tortilla warmer or in a moist tea towel, covered on both sides with the towel. Repeat with the remaining rounds of dough, and serve warm.