by the handful

Nutritious culinary and healing recipes collected from the North American garden, orchard, forest, river and ocean

Cassava Grain Free Tortillas

There are several foods that really stick in my mind from my childhood and one of them was those flour tortillas my mom would buy in bulk from the ladies at church. The simple combination of flour and lard rendered a chewy and crispy tortilla that tasted better with each bite. If you have been following me for any length of time you would know that I have no fear of a little animal fat or saturated fat in moderation, in fact I think it’s a necessary part of the diet. If you are not a wheat or grain eater, this and many other baked goods are off the table or at least need to be made differently. In our house we mostly eat corn tortillas but a flour tortilla does sound good from time to time. In this recipe, Cassava flour is substituted for the traditional wheat flour. Cassava flour is made from the Yucca tuber, which is actually native to Latin America, whereas wheat is definitely not. Coconut oil or palm shortening can be substituted for the lard (making them vegan) and the tortillas will work just as well. This recipe makes tortillas the size of the traditional corn tortilla since a tortilla press is used to make them. This recipe makes 6 tortillas but I almost always double the batch.

1 cup Cassava flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

a good size pinch of salt

2 Tbsp Lard (sub coconut oil or palm shortening)

1/2 + cup warm water

a tortilla press

wax or parchment paper

Add first three (dry) ingredients to a large bowl and sift with a fork to mix. Cassava flour is light and can become airborne, so sift gently. Next add the fat into the middle of the flour in the bowl. Drizzle the hot water right over the fat and begin to work the fat first and then to mix into a batter.

You will eventually need to ditch the fork and use your hands. At this point add more water in tablespoon increments until you have a thick, dry and solid, but not crumbly dough.

Divide the dough ball in half and then divide each half into 3 equal balls. You will have 6 total. Work them until they are firm and do not have any creases. Set the balls aside on a plate.

Set a cast iron skillet on the stove and bring heat to med-high.

Rip off 2 sheets of wax or parchment paper. Place one on the bottom of tortilla press and set a tortilla ball in the middle. Next place another sheet on top and press your tortilla. Carefully remove the tortilla from the paper as this is the one spot they can rip and get imperfections. If the tortillas seem too sticky just dust with a little Cassava flour while pressing.

Carefully lay the tortilla in the skillet and let sit for at least a minute. Use your hand to move the tortilla; if it sticks it is not done, it should slide around the pan easily. Flip with a spatula and continue on the other side. It’s hard to say how long to cook each one, it’s more about instinct and observing the look and feel of the tortillas. They should have some golden brown spots on both sides and also still be pliable rather than too crispy to bend. 

After removing each from the skillet, place on a dry tea towel and fold over to stay warm. It is usually necessary to lower heat as you go through cooking the batch of tortillas.

Last step: you know what to do with them…

 

 

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