Making corn chips is very easy. Lucy decided it was one of the things she wanted to sell at the Kidsfest Market back in July. I was nervous about a six year old and hot oil but we had a big talk about the dangers and Karl took over the overseeing halfway through as he could see me getting more anxious. Obviously the message got through, because part of her selling pitch was “I made them myself and I didn’t end up in hospital!”
Making corn chips is a great way to use up tortillas that are getting stale or if we have made tortillas ourselves and they didn’t quite turn out right or we didn’t use them all up straight away. The quality of the tortilla seems much less important in making chips than eating as fresh tortillas. Disappointing tortillas, say if you bought them thinking they would be great, still seem to make tasty chips. We have regularly made chips from defrosted tortillas too, without any problems.
To make tortillas we use about a cup of masa harina flour, add a teaspoon of salt and mix with enough water to make a dough that is soft enough not to crack when moulded but not really sticky. If we are organised, we leave it to sit for about an hour. If not we crack on making the tortillas. We split the dough into little balls for flattening. These days we use our tortilla press as it is fast and easy but previously we stuck the balls between two pieces of gladwrap and flattened them using a pot with a suitable diameter. The dough is quite soft and with the pot and leaning on top, they flatten pretty well. We cook them one at a time in a hot pan with no oil, flipping once a side is cooked.
However we have ended up with spare tortillas, this is how we make the chips. We chop the tortillas in half and then into wedges, usually about six a tortilla. Once all the chopping is done. We heat up the oil. It needs to cook the chips fast so it needs to be hot! The first chip is usually a sacrificial one, to test if the oil is the right temperature – hot enough to start bubbling and cooking the chip immediately but not too hot that it goes dark brown and horrible before we can get it out again. Our lovely little deep fryer sadly broke and these days it seems only large sizes are on the market, which is a shame. The small size was perfect for not using as much oil to fill it and for the amounts we do at home – mostly corn chips, falafel, Fiby’s Egyptian chicken nibbles and more recently churros! So for us it is out with the small saucepan and turn on the extractor fan full blast.
We cook about three to four chips a time in the small saucepan and they tend to float up when suitably golden brown and cooked. Then after shaking off any excess oil, we tip them onto a paper towel to soak up any residual oil. We usually sprinkle them with salt and cinnamon and they are ready to eat. They seem to last quite well in a plastic bag once cool too. You can just make the chips after cutting by drying them out in the oven at a low temperature until crispy but the deep frying definitely makes them tastier.
Try serving them with dips – here is our guacomole recipe
So it really is child’s play, just a bit time consuming frying them up.