Tlacoyos are a very old traditional Mexican food - they have been around since pre-hispanic times. If you walk into any market in Mexico, you will inevitably find vendors (who are almost always women) making the most delicious antojitos. You can walk down the aisles and you can see stall after stall of food that emit the most wonderful aromas. The stall’s menus most likely include tlacoyos, quesadillas, sopes and huaraches, all antojitos made with fresh masa - and if you’re lucky, you will find the ones made with blue masa, which is not as common as the white or yellow.
Tlacoyos are typically filled with refried beans, fava beans or a ricotta-like cheese called requesón, but nowadays you can find tlacoyos filled with chicharrón, chilorio or a variety of other fillings. The fresh corn masa is stuffed with whatever filling is ordered, then expertly patted down by the cook to a torpedo shaped cake, taking care that the filling doesn’t poke through the masa. The tlacoyo cannot be too thick or it will be doughy and raw inside, as it cooks directly on the cast iron or clay comal.
Tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside, tlacoyos are topped with nopalitos, salsa, queso fresco and crema. They are so delicious you will find it hard to eat only one!
If you think about it, these Tlacoyos are a very humble dish made with very simple ingredients. Nevertheless, by using very well seasoned and flavorful beans in the filling and an amazing salsa, you can elevate this simple dish to something heavenly. Suddenly, simple becomes spectacular.
Next time you have some friends coming over, why don’t you recruit them into the kitchen and show them how to make tlacoyos? They will have fun making them with you and even more fun when you all sit down to enjoy the meal!
Masa Cakes filled with Beans
2 cups Maseca
1 ¾ cup water (or more, as needed)
1 cup refried beans
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup crumbled queso fresco
Salsa of your choice
½ cup crema
Combine refried beans and ancho chile powder. Set aside.
Combine Maseca and 1 cup water in large bowl. Mix until well blended, adding more water as needed until dough comes together. It should be fairly moist, but not sticky. It should clean the sides of the bowl as it comes together. Divide into about 8 equal portions; shape each portion into ball about the size of a smallish tennis ball. Keep dough covered as you work, so it does not dry out.
Heat a cast iron griddle over medium heat. Flatten one ball of dough at a time on your hand and place 1 generous Tbsp of beans in the center, folding sides of dough over beans to enclose them completely. If dough seems dry as you work, handle dough with wet hands. Once you have dough ball completely enclosing beans, flatten as you shape dough onto an oval shape. Pat it until it is about ¼” thick.
Place patty on hot griddle and cook about 4 minutes per side, until it’s lightly golden. It could take more than a couple of turns to cook completely. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t brown too much. Repeat with all patties.
Place cooked tlacoyos on a clean tea towel. This can be done up to four hours ahead.
Just before serving, heat vegetable oil on a medium frying pan. Cook tlacoyos in oil just until they are lightly golden and slightly crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Serve immediately garnished with your favorite salsa, a sprinkling of queso fresco and a drizzle of crema.
Makes about 8 Tlacoyos, serving 4.
This recipe was first published at www.thelatinkitchen.com