What’s for dinner?
Corn and beans.
How about lunch?
Beans and corn.
If you’re traditional Tarahumara, that’s how you menu plan. Easy! When 90% of your calories come from those foods, that’s where you put forth the effort.
So I’ve been practicing making hand made corn tortillas. It’s not as hard as I feared, but it definitely takes more effort than cooking a pot of rice or baking some potatoes for your staple starch!
2 C pinto beans, soaked and rinsed
6 C water
1 small, or 1/2 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic split lengthwise
4 dried chilis
pinch each cumin seed, coriander seed, and Mexican oregano, lightly crushed
Combine all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until done, about 1 1/2 hrs. When the beans are fairly soft, you can season with salt, if you like.
Make the Tortillas
Buy some masa harina, which you can find in any supermarket with an “ethnic” section. I used Bob’s Red Mill. I followed the package directions to mix 1 C masa harina with 1 3/4 C hot water by hand before resting. I used a Mexican tortilla press with wax paper to prevent sticking, but you could also use a rolling pin. Trust me, the tortilla press works much better! If you’re a fan of Mexican food and want to cook it yourself, invest in a press and learn to make tortillas by hand. They are leaps beyond anything bought at the store.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Pinch off a golf ball size chunk of masa and roll a bit in your hands before lightly flattening on the press between wax paper or plastic. Press and hold for a few seconds. Gently remove and place in the skillet. Cook for about a minute. Peek to see if the first side is done. Flip the tortilla and finish cooking. The second side doesn’t take as long. Remove to a tortilla warmer, or wrap in a towel. VERY IMPORTANT! The tortillas must “rest” for awhile covered, or they won’t be soft and pliable. Don’t worry if they seem too dry coming out of the skillet, they will soften while resting. Cook up all the masa.
There are many ways to build a taco, but the basics here are to scoop some beans in a tortilla, add a little hot sauce and then some fresh salsa. Other toppings could include guacamole, shredded cabbage or lettuce, chopped tomato, cilantro, grilled or sauteed peppers, etc. Many possibilities, but what makes it Tarahumara is the simplicity: corn and beans. Repeat as needed. Run lots. Enjoy life.