How to Cook Puffy Gorditas

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Mexican cuisine's answer to the pita, the "gordita" translates to "little fat one" and is so named because it puffs up and is much thicker than tortillas. The puffy flatbread is commonly cut open much like a pita, revealing a pocket for stuffing with your favorite Mexican foods, such as carne asada, grilled vegetables or beans and cheese. The no-mess pocket makes gorditas a widely available street food. Traditional gordita preparation begins on a hot griddle, but the flatbreads are finished in hot oil, where they puff up, resulting in a crispy shell with a soft interior.

Things You'll Need

  • Masa harina
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Tortilla press or rolling pin
  • Griddle or skillet
  • Sauce pan
  • Cooking oil
  • Tongs
  • Plate
  • Paper towels
  • Knife
  • Mix masa harina corn flour with water and allow the ingredients to rest for about half an hour so the masa harina absorbs the water and reconstitutes. Use about 1 1/4 cup of warm water for every 2 cups of masa harina. You can use fresh masa, if desired, which doesn't require reconstituting with water.

  • Add flour, baking powder, salt and vegetable oil to the reconstituted masa harina to make the gordita dough. For every 2 cups of masa harina, you'll need about 2 tablespoons of flour and vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add more masa harina, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the dough sticks to your hands.

  • Divide the dough into equal portions and roll each portion with your hands into a ball shape about 1 1/2 times the size of a golf ball. You can make about four gorditas for every 2 cups of masa harina in the dough. The size of the dough balls and number of gorditas you can make largely depends on the desired size. Snack-sized gorditas are pressed only 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, while meal-sized gorditas might be 4 to 6 inches in diameter.

  • Press the dough balls into circles about 1/4 inch thick, using a tortilla press or rolling pin.

  • Place the gorditas on a hot griddle or skillet and cook until both sides are slightly brown, but the edges remain soft and doughy, usually about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Cook all the gorditas on the griddle before moving to the frying step so you don't overcook them while trying to monitor the griddle and hot oil. Set the griddle-cooked gorditas on a plate while you finish the rest of the gorditas.

  • Fill a saucepan or skillet with about 1/2 inch of cooking oil, such as peanut oil or vegetable oil. Preheat the oil so it sizzles when you add the gorditas. A deep fryer works well if you have one.

  • Drop the gorditas in the hot oil one at a time. Fry the first side for about 15 seconds, flip it over, and fry the second side for about 30 seconds, or until the gordita puffs up and the outside is crisp.

  • Remove the gorditas and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the oil. Continue frying the remaining gorditas. Insert a knife in the edge of the gordita and slice about halfway around to open up the puffy pocket and stuff the pocket with the filling of your choice.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's possible to cook gorditas only on a griddle only avoid the fatty grease or to use only the frying method. Traditional gorditas employ both methods, which helps to achieve crispy, yet puffy gorditas.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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