Mexican food satiates the appetite with savory spices, hot chiles, and delicious ingredients engulfing all the senses. At times some of the meals may look the same making it hard to distinguish between the two foods. Flautas and taquitos are two different dishes, which look very similar but are defined by the types of tortilla used.
Flautas are made with flour tortillas and taquitos are made with corn tortillas. Though they are filled with meat, rolled into a flute like shape, and then deep fried, they each have their own superbly unique flavor.
Corn tortillas are made with masa harina (corn flour), salt, and warm water. Flour tortillas are made with unbleached all-purpose flour, salt, shortening, and warm water. The corn flour and the all-purpose flour give the tortillas distinct flavors separated by distinct textures, tastes, and smells.
Corn tortillas are smaller and when fried the dough shrinks into a hard, crisp mass. Flour tortillas are a bit larger than corn tortillas and when fried they blow up with air and turn flaky. For an appetizer of chips and salsa, both flour and corn tortillas make good chips to compliment a homemade salsa.
To understand the difference between corn and flour tortillas, the following recipes are provided.
A quick an easy recipe for corn tortillas:
4 cups of masa harina
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups of hot water
Place the masa harina, salt, and water in a large bowl. Knead all ingredients by hand until the dough comes together as a soft ball. Continue mixing for approximately three minutes until the dough is an elastic consistency.
Divide the dough into approximately 18 equal portions, place on a damp towel, and cover with plastic wrap. If using a tortilla press, place one dough ball in between two pieces of plastic wrap on the tortilla press.
Cook the tortillas on a comal, a heavy skillet, for 30 seconds on one side. Flip the tortilla and cook on the opposite side for one minute. Then turn again and cook for 30 more seconds. When the tortilla puffs just a little bit, it's ready.
A simple flour tortillas recipe:
3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of salt
1/3 cup of shortening (vegetable oil can be used, but is not recommended because it will make the tortillas taste vastly different)
1 cup of warm water
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and shortening kneading the mixture into a crumbly ball. Slowly add water and mix until it is like a soft dough ball. Once you have a dough ball, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Once the dough is smooth, cover with plastic and set it aside for one to two hours.
Divide the dough into approximately 12 equal round portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into eight inch rounds.
Cook the tortillas on a hot comal, a heavy skillet, for 30 seconds. Turn the tortilla over and cook for approximately 30 seconds on the other side until the tortilla puffs up and is brown. Serve tortillas when they taste the best, right off the skillet.
A little butter and salt on a warm freshly made flour tortilla is very tasty.
Using these easy-to-follow recipes to make homemade tortillas, flautas and taquitos can easily be made.
The next time you want a crispy deep-fried taquitos made with corn masa or a flaky fried flauta prepared with all-purpose flour, you'll know the difference and be able to share with others.