Friday, April 29, 2011

Ole! Corn Tortillas In Time For Cinco de Mayo

Putting The Crunch Back In Your Tex Mex!

Find Printable Recipe Here

You can’t be a Texan without loving Tex Mex food. Steeped in tradition, heavily influenced by Hispanic culture for hundreds of years, Texans know Cinco de Mayo. Long considered a feast day, Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican heritage and pride.

May 5th, commemorates the defeat of French invaders by Mexican forces during the Civil War years in a tiny town named Puebla - in Mexico. But what most Texans mainly know about Cinco de Mayo is that Cinco de Mayo really translates in English to “party like it’s 1999 with great Mexican food and tequila, family and friends.”


Viva la Cinco de Mayo!
With the vibrant spirit of Cinco de Mayo in mind, I’m going to try to get in as many posts as possible to teach you about my first love.

Yes. Tex Mex food pre-dated my former steady - pasta. That means I had an avid affair with Tex Mex for many, many, many years before taking my fickle self over to cheat on it with pasta. Remember, I’m so old, pasta used to be called “spaghetti” back in the day.

Low Carb Corn Tostada with
melted jalapeno jack cheese.

What if I promised I could give back your corn tortillas? What if I told you, Nachos were in your future? What if I told you, you are only a tostada away from chips and salsa? What if I told you stacked chicken enchiladas beckon?

Would you jump up and down like a little girl and squeal with anticipation?

I Miss My Crunch!
Few things get to me in my chosen low carb way of life, like missing the satisfaction that comes from greasy, crunching. Yeah, you know. I’m talking potato chips here. Specifically, a brand spankin’ new bag of Lay’s Original potato chips. I’m talking tortilla chips – those never ending baskets of crunchy joy placed on your table at the local Tex Mex joint and served up with spicy, salty, salsa. MMMMmmmmm!

We are such black and white thinkers. When someone says “low” people think “no.”

Unfortunately, low carb as most people interpret it is “Atkins Induction” and as such, people jump to the conclusion low carb is devoid of anything other than 3cups of lettuce and great big gobs of abundant protein and fat. They think “low carb” means “no carb,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. And they think that Atkins is unlimited protein - when the reality is he advised eating a "moderate" protein or protein adequate diet.

Click To Enlarge Image
The reality is Dr. Atkins wanted us to spend a limited time in Phase 1 or Induction, resetting our metabolic pathways by limiting carbs to 20g or less per day, for a VERY LIMITED TIME. He actually advised dieters to walk into Phase 2 for the majority of their weightloss. OWL (Ongoing Weight Loss) ladder after the first two weeks. I don’t believe he ever intended we get stuck at Induction. But many did and do.

Because of the misunderstanding about Induction and the strictness of the Induction Phase, many perceive the Atkins Diet to be restrictive, monotonous, and impossible for long term eating. Newbies dispair of being able to only eat meat, veggies, and fats at 20g of carbs per day. But they are wrong!

Because, as you walk the OWL ladder, adding back healthy carbs, rung by rung according to your personal body response to each group of carbs, you add variety and great mix of veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes and more at a rate of 5g of carbs at a time. When you reach your personal CCL (Critical Carb Level) - the level where you stop losing weight, you reduce carbs by 5-10g and continue with your weight loss goals. 

For many people, that level looks like somewhere around 50-60g of carbs a day and sometimes more! I know many who eat 80-100g of low glycemic, healthy carbs per day who have brilliant blood fat profiles and have lost over 100lbs! And you can also be a vegetarian and succeed long term with this eating plan!

But as you raise your carbohydrate level on OWL, Dr. Atkins instructs you to lower your fat a bit as you go. (Please no nasty grams about this…lowering the fat does not mean LOW fat! He told us the kiss of death was eating both high carb and high fat – like the SAD (Standard American Diet). 

RANT Over! Shew!

Fluffy Chix Give Your Crunch Back!

Well, America? I’m going to give you the foundation recipe for crunchy chips, totally Atkins worthy and?

The recipe fills the bill about being low carb AND low fat too…or rather lower fat. We’ll be baking these tostada/tortillas and won’t be using any of the unhealthy, rancid, polyunsaturated fats like corn oil, vegetable oil, Crisco, safflower or sunflower oils, nor even Canola oil! And the corn tortillas are totally, ripping easy to make!

And LC Corn Tostadas are another Fun-ctional Food Hero! They make a great dip, salsa, and cheese delivery system.

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!

Let the Tex Mex begin!!!(Oh yeah! And don’t get scared. There are a couple of “specialty ingredients” in this corn tortilla recipe, but they are ingredients that you should keep in your pantry, because they are very versatile and easy to use, making low carb baked goods possible once more. And they are pretty cheap. So I will share where to get these items at the end of the recipe, OK?)

STEP 1 - First you make the "Masa."


Open a 14.5oz can of White Hominy and a can of baby corn. Drain hominy and baby corns and measure out 1/2c hominy and 4 baby corns. That’s for one recipe. But I double the masa recipe and keep it in the ice box so I can easily and quickly make the tortillas. (The masa doesn’t freeze very well though).

Combine the hominy and baby corn in the bowl of your food processor, fitted with the knife blade. Add 2 tablespoons of homemade lard or bacon grease and 1-2 tablespoons of water (add the water a little at a time). Pulse the mixture and scrape down the sides until mixture comes together and forms a smooth paste as pictured below.

(Note: Do NOT use the lard you find on the super market shelf! It’s filled with transfats and is completely EVIL.)


Take a little ball of the pureed masa and squeeze it in your palm. It should stick together in a moist clump, but won't be wet.

STEP 2 – Combine masa portion with remaining recipe ingredients. Remember, if you double your masa amount then you should double the amount of remaining  dry ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:
3 Tbsp LC Bake Mix of Your Choice (I use Jenn Eloff’s, see recipe below or click on link to read more!)
1 Tbsp Resistant Corn Starch (or 1/2 tsp xanthan gum as the substitute--or use 1 tsp glucomannan powder--or 2 tsp unflavored gelatin plus 2 tsp powdered egg whites)
2 Tbsp Organic, Non-GMO Yellow Corn Meal (Bob’s Red Mill)
2 Tbsp Corn Bran--or use Oat Fiber

1/2 tsp Baking Powder, GF
1/4  tsp Xanthan Gum (this is in addition to any substitution above - Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4-1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Add all of these ingredients to food processor and pulse until mixture is well combined.
OK, the recipe calls for a Low Carb Bake Mix and Jen Eloff over at Splendid Low-Carbing makes an incredible low carb bake mix. She also just came out with a really excellent gluten free low carb mix and the best news is it uses regular, non-specialty ingredients you can find anywhere! And if you aren’t allergic to almonds, you will be in business and will be able to make this bake mix up for use on anything from muffins to cookies and cakes!

I’m going to take a chance she won’t mind, and list her latest gluten free recipe here. She really is a great girl and is so helpful to all the low carbers out there – especially those who are gluten free.

She’s a thriving cookbook author (I think it’s 5 or 6 to date)! Really, go read at her site Splendid Low-Carbing. You won’t want to quit reading!

Gluten Free (GF) Low Carb Baking Mix by Jennifer Eloff


Gluten Free Ingredients over at Splendid Low Carbing
1-3/4c Almond Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
2/3c Gluten Free Oat Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
2 tbsp sifted Coconut Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4tsp Xanthan Gum

Combine all ingredients into a large container with a lid. Cover container with lid and shake well to combine. Make sure mix is thoroughly combined before using. Shake the container prior to each use.

For more complete instructions and tips please visit Splendid Low Carbing and read about Jenn’s new Gluten Free Bake Mix.Sadly, if you are allergic to almonds as I am, you will have to make substitutions to Jenn's new GF Mix. Since I stay away from flax, which can sometimes work as a traditional almond substitution, my general substitution for ground almonds for this type of recipe is:

Substitution For 1-3/4c Almond Meal:
1/2c Sesame Seed Meal (ground fresh from seeds)
3/4c Pumpkin Seed Meal (ground fresh from seeds)
1/4c Coconut Flour, sifted after measuring
1/4c chia meal or golden flax seeds if you eat them (ground fresh from seeds), or use more sesame seed meal.

Grind all the seeds up separately in a coffee grinder, blender or grain mill. Sift coconut flour and combine thoroughly. Again, I keep this mixture made up in big freezer bags and store it in the freezer between uses. Then I simply shake the bag up well before each use. Quick and easy.

STEP 3 - Make the dough balls. Each ball should weigh about 1oz.
Another useful tool to have hanging around is a scale. Lest you think these are expensive, you can frequently find them living at a Salvation Army Thrift Store. They cost a buck or two! And you can quickly toss the balls onto a scale and weigh them to make sure you are getting the same size tortilla each time.

STEP 4 - Squish the dough balls onto a baking mat.
(There really isn’t a great substitution for a baking mat, unless it would be the quick release aluminum foil. I got these blue cheap silicone mats at Tuesday Morning (a close-out store in Houston) for $3.99 each. They clean up great and allow me to press the tortillas directly onto the mat and bake them without getting unintended creases in the tortillas – which might create breaks. The tortillas peel off the mat very easily after par-baking.)

To squish the dough balls, use a sheet of plastic wrap placed over the dough ball, and press firmly using a flat bottomed plate. I use old, clear glass, luncheon plates my sister gave me for a birthday years ago. The tortillas should be thin (less than 1/8” and closer to 1/16” of an inch). I press 3 tortillas to a mat. Then lift the mat onto a sheet pan and bake them.

Bake at 350° for 3-4 minutes. This is the par baking stage. At this stage, the tortilla will be pliable, but it will be fragile and break if you try to bend it.

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas and chopped
salad with homemade vinaigrette and avocado.
Yes, that’s the drawback of this recipe. The tortillas aren’t heavy and bendable enough to use for taco shells or soft corn tortillas. But they make great stacked enchiladas of all kinds! And if you take the next step, you will have crispy, sturdy, corn tostada shells once more! Ole!

If you only want to use these for layered corn tortilla dishes, store them between sheets of wax paper or parchment paper in a plastic bag until ready to use. They keep a couple of weeks in the ice box.

STEP 5 - If you want to proceed to the crunchy stage, read on! Place tortillas on a sheet pan and with the oven at 250°, bake tortillas until they are crispy and lightly toasted. Don’t cook on higher heat, because they will brown before they melba. You want to dry these out without a lot of browning! This will take between 20-45 minutes, so just keep checking them until you know how long it takes in your particular oven.

Congrats!!!! You now have crunchy, corn tostadas!


STEP 6 - Now use them!

For so many things!

Tostadas, salad crunchies, chiliquillas, King Ranch Casserole, nachos, Mexican pizza.

But they also remind me of toasted pita chips, so prior to baking a second time, you can cut the par-baked tortillas into quarters or 1/8’s and sprinkle them with a bit of paprika and bake them. They go great with hummus and baba ghanoush!

Find Printable Recipe Here

Low Carb Corn Tortillas and Corn Tostada Shells

Low Carb Corn Tostada Shells - crispy and delicious.
Yield – About 8-9, 1oz Tortillas
Difficulty – Easy
Prep Time – 15 Minutes
Cook Time – 3-4 Minutes (Par Baking)
20-45 Minutes (To Melba Tostada Shells)


1/2c White Hominy, drained and processed
4 Baby Corn, drained and processed
2 Tbsp Lard, melted (homemade lard, bacon grease, butter or ghee, or olive oil)***
2 Tbsp Egg Whites

2 Tbsp LC Bake Mix of Your Choice (I used Jenn Eloff's new GF Mix)
2 Tbsp Corn Bran
1 Tbsp Resistant Corn Starch (or sub out 1/8tsp Xanthan Gum)
2 Tbsp Organic, non-GMO, GF Yellow Corn Meal
1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum (this is additional to the sub above)
1/4 tsp Baking Powder,GF
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt

In bowl of food processor, blend hominy, baby corn and melted lard together to make a smooth puree. Add 2 tbsp water to further puree mixture. Scrape sides of bowl to thoroughly puree the masa mixture.

In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together and stir well to combine. Add dry ingredients into bowl of food processor and pulse to incorporate into the corn mash.

Remove from food processor bowl and knead a couple of times with your hands until you are satisfied the corn "masa" is well combined.

Separate into 1oz dough and roll into balls. Let sit for 15-30 minutes refrigerated.

Smash dough balls onto baking mat with a plastic wrap covered plate sandwiched between two pieces of plastic wrap in a tortilla press, available at many Mexican markets.

Parbake for flat tortillas at 350° for 3-4 minutes. Remove and let cool a minute or two. Remove from baking mat and allow to cool completely. Store cooled tortillas between layers of parchment or wax paper. Or you can microwave each tortilla on a piece of parchment paper for about 40 seconds, then brown each side in a dry skillet as you would real tortillas.

If tortilla dough is too dry, add more egg whites a tablespoon or two at a time until you reach that "masa consistency" similar to the feel of very pliable tamale dough.

Tortillas freeze well.

If crispy tostada shells are desired. Place par-baked tortillas onto baking sheet and bake at 250° for 20-45 minutes until crisp and golden. Check frequently to make sure they do not over-brown. Remove and let cool completely. Store in large zip lock bag or air tight container. Keeps 1 week, refrigerated and 3 months in the freezer. Freezes well.

***Note: Do NOT use store bought lard found on a shelf in the grocery store! That kind of lard is extremely bad for you and is full of transfats. Never. Never. Never!!! OK?

SusieT's Notes:
I only give these corn tortillas 3 forks out of 4.

Why? Well, because I’m from Texas, silly! It’s a corn tortilla – a foundation of Tex Mex and I want and expect a corn tortilla to be TRULY versatile. I want to have a soft fish taco with them. I want to make crispy tacos. I want to roll them into traditional enchiladas.

I want, I want, I need, I need.

But cry me a river, cuz I’m still experimenting with these corn delights. And the par-baked tortillas make a delicious stacked green chicken enchilada, while the crispy tostadas are like a party in a piƱata!

So I will keep working on the recipe to perfect it and please be sure to check back with us and report any tweaks you make! I’d love to hear about them. As tostadas and flat tortillas, however, they are truly worthy and completely worth the time to make them!

Nutritional Information Entire Recipe: (Does not include Resistant Corn Starch)

Nutritional Information Single Serving: Only 2.2 Net Carbs per Tortilla! Ole!
(Does not include resistant corn starch - xanthan gum version only)

Sources For Special Ingredients

Resistant Corn Starch
Coconut Flour
Almond Flour

Honeyville Grain:
Corn Bran
Resistant Corn Starch
Coconut Flour
Almond Flour

Bob's Redmill:
Almond Flour
Coconut Flour
GF Corn Meal
GF Baking Soda

Find Printable Recipe Here


  1. Clever, recipe, Susie! Thanks for the heads up, links and everything. You are a sweetheart! ((HUGS))

  2. Thanks Jenn, you know I have to say that Barbo over at LCF inspired this recipe. A couple of years ago, she was hungry for corn tortillas I think?

    And that got my brain cells working over time...I don't remember a day when I DON'T want corn tortillas. So all of a sudden it was life or death and then I heard myself say, "Hey y'all! Watch this!"


  3. Hi, I can't wait to make this! I have a question though. What is corn bran? I go to amazon and all I get is the cereal... Thank you again, this looks amazing!

  4. Oops nevermind, found the site you so graciously mention in the end of the recipe. :D

  5. I'm from El Paso. And I think I love you.


    1. Welcome El Paso! :D I will look forward to you trying these. We love them. You can also score them prior to drying (melbaing) them and you will get tortilla shells that eat JUST LIKE NACHOS! I'm screamin' can you hear me?! LOL. Yes, that dog hunts!!!! :D

  6. My masa mixture is too watery, it the brand? Should I dry the hominy and paper towels

    1. Yes, I use Jaunita brand hominy. It could also be that you did not drain it or the baby corn enough? I would add more hominy to it until it looks similar to the texture I show in the picture above. Sorry you are experiencing this!

  7. Love that you've come up with a low carb corn tortilla. I'm a New Mexican and have missed those the most! But I have a question on what to do with the egg whites? They're listed with the ingredients, but not with the directions until further down to be used if the masa is too dry. Could you please clarify what to do with them? Are they even needed? Thanks!


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