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Belizean Flour Tortillas

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Recipe adopted from Flavors of Belize by Tanya McNab.  [Recipe makes (10) 6-inch tortillas].

For the past week or so, I've been wanting to play around with a few new ideas and make some tacos for the blog.

Now...just to clarify, when I say tacos, I don't mean store-bought tortillas topped with ground beef with pre-made seasoning, grated cheddar, and diced tomatoes.  I'm talking big-boy tacos; aka street tacos.

But the more I looked into it, the more I found out how diverse they can really be.  So I dialed it back for this initial post.  Rather than looking into a specific type of taco, I decided to first conquer the one thing that'll make or break homemade tacos: the tortilla.  Just as bread makes or breaks a sandwich, or crust makes or breaks a pizza, the quality of tortilla makes or breaks a taco.

I asked around for recipes and got one from some friends who had visited Belize last summer and fell in love with the tacos there.  After giving the recipe a try, I have nothing but good things to say about it.  The ingredients are already in your kitchen, the dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand in three minutes, and it takes maybe 30 seconds to cook each tortilla.  And the best part is that the payoff  in the end is considerably higher than the little effort needed to make them.  So for your next taco party, give these a try and prepare to be blown away.


9 1/2 ounces (~2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup water

Olive oil, for brushing


Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and shortening into a medium bowl.  Use a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the dry ingredients.  Add the water and mix until a dough comes together.  Transfer to a floured surface and knead by hand for three minutes, until the dough is smooth.  Divide into 10 equal pieces and shape into balls.  [Side note:  You'll end up with just over a pound of dough, if you're into scaling].  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Use a rolling pin and additional flour to roll the tortillas into paper-thin shells.  If needed, gently shape and stretch by hand after rolling.  Brush both sides of each of the tortillas with oil.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, cook the tortillas one-by-one, roughly 15 seconds on each side, or until they get some nice color.  Serve immediately, or else freeze individually, and then stack, wrap with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze.

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  1. WOW, this looks amazing! So rich in colour and flavour.

  2. Can I substitute shortening for oil?

    1. I haven't tried it before, but I see nothing wrong with doing that. You may have to adjust the flour amount slightly, but it should still turn out fine.