Tortillas de harina o maíz? Red salsa or green? I recently saw this post by a Latina Amiga. I was inspired to write on this topic. To me this is not merely a question of choice or that you prefer one over the other. It has to do with the dish you are preparing, the function, flavor profile, the durability and regionality. Most people believe this is a choice. Nowadays, to some degree it is, but ……………hold your horses. Typically, corn tortillas were used in Mexico. In my own home, ( I grew up in California) we were raised on homemade flour tortillas. But, it was a real treat when mi Abuelito, Higinio would make stuffed gorditas with frijoles y queso. Gorditas are always corn. The cuisine of Mexico was mainly based on corn.
One area of Mexico was different – the northern part of the state of Chihuahua. My maternal Abuelita was from Chihuahua, so I grew up on burritos. Here corn grows poorly, but wheat does well, and here some unsung villager of the late 19th century created the flour tortilla. Sometime afterward, someone rolled the tortilla around some meat and named it a burrito, after the burro colts that are born to pack animals of the region.
If you were making tacos dorados, you would use corn tortillas. You would never think of frying a flour tortillas. Then chimichangas came about, so there goes that belief. Which are fried burritos. But, chimichangas are relatively a new food.
If you were making tacos de carne asada you used corn tortillas. I also like to heat my corn tortillas on the grill and allow them to char a bit, it adds another dimension of flavor to my tacos de carne asada.
Personally, I would never use flour tortillas to make enchiladas, but many people do. To me they are way too mushy. I want something that will hold together, and not taste like raw pasty dough!
I also realize that corn tortillas are healthier than white flour tortillas. I try to stay away from both. But, I much prefer the flavor of a corn tortilla. Awhile back my GF, Bonnie Porthouse introduced me to La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style Tortillas made with a blend of corn and wheat, they are a little thicker than your regular corn tortillas. I like these tortillas for tacos de carne asada. Although, one night I fried them for tacos doradas, and did not like the flavor. I think it was a reminder, to not be eating fried food!
With the inception of carne asada puestos, taco trucks and fast food restaurants you now see salsa/chile self serve bars. They typically have a green chile made with tomatillos and cilantro. A red milder chile. And one, hotter then heck; which is probably chile de arbol or japones. Pico de Gallo, which is a fresh salsa made up of diced chilies (serranos or jalapeños) diced fresh tomatoes, diced onions, cilantro is to taste and a squeeze of lime livens the flavor. It is typically served with chips, a barbecued steak or carne asada tacos.
I once tasted a chile/salsa made with raw jalapeños, onions, garlic, tomatoes and they pulverized the heck out of it in the blender or food processor. I did not like the taste of mushy raw chile. Now, had they roasted all of these ingredients you would have had a different flavor profile of delicious goodness. I feel strange admitting, I disliked Sriracha. I knew people who were eating it on their ice cream. I’m not joking, when I say it was a gosh darn “Sriracha movemen!” Now, you rarely hear of it. There are many movements, phases, fads, trends, etc. I remember when Papa Hug and I went into the wine business in the mid 90’s, winemaker dinners were quite popular. Now you rarely hear of them; the big thing you hear about now is fancy car exhibits and people performing champagne sabering at wineries, hmmmm. Wonder what is next? I have diverted, let me get back on course.
Of course, there are many variations, degrees of hotness and flavor profiles for chilies. My Mama use to pound this into our head; not all salsas or chilies are for everything! But you can……More and more you see this now, all in the name of creativity and free- thinking! It’s a free for all. If you wish to add Nutella to your chile, go for it. Although, I prefer to keep mine in the fruit and vegetable family.
In the end, everyone will continue eating what they like, have fun cooking and enjoying what you make. Just don’t get me started on yellow versus white corn tortillas, lol.
Abrazos y Happy Cooking & Eating