The Spanish word tortilla denotes two different classes of foods, depending on where the term is encountered.
A Flour tortilla -Wheat, Corn (Maize)
But it is the Mexican meaning of "tortilla" that is most familiar to North Americans, and possibly most of the world outside of Europe and South America, where the original Spanish meaning is best known.
The flour tortilla is used to make burritos and Enfrijoladas amongst others. Wheat tortillas are also a traditional staple of the peoples of northwestern Mexican states (such as Sonora and Chihuahua) and many southwestern US Native American tribes.
Maize tortillas are known in the Basque region of Spain as talo and were a traditional Basque farmers' staple until the introduction of railborne wheat flour suitable for bread. There are maize tortillas in other regions of Northern Spain, such as Asturias, where they are called frixuelos, and Galicia, where they receive the name of filloas.
In Panama, a tortilla is a deep fried cornmeal disk, slightly smaller than a hockey puck.
A tortilla as an omelette
In Spain and South America, a tortilla is any omelette, often a round, layered omelette (i.e., not folded over), most typically made with layers of eggs, very thinly sliced potatoes, such seasonings as the chef desires, and cooked in vegetable oil. It is usually served cold as an appetizer or bar snack. The terms Spanish tortilla, tortilla española or tortilla de patatas all refer to a common recipe in Spain, an omelette with stir-fried potatoes and chopped onion, often served as a staple food in Spanish bars and cafés. American versions of Spanish and South American tortilla are usually cooked in vegetable shortening, commonly with bell pepper and/or onion and/or chives; and typically served warm instead of cold.
Tostada is a Spanish word translating to "toasted" in English and, in Latin American cuisine, refers to a flat tortilla that is toasted or deep fried. It also refers to the finished dish using a tostada. Corn tortillas are used more than ones made of wheat flour for this purpose.
The tostada was created when tortillas went stale but were still fresh enough to eat. Not wanting to waste old tortillas, which was one of the staple foods of the Mexican people, beans, rice, meat, cheese and vegetables were spread onto the tortillas like an "open faced" taco. This invention became very popular and people soon began to fry fresh tortillas to recreate the dish.
A tostada is often served as an appetizer typically topped with a thin layer of refried black bean paste (frijoles refritos), chicken or beef strips or other kinds of animal products. These are usually topped with thinly chopped lettuce strips, sour cream, chopped onion, salsa and guacamole or sliced avacados. As a general rule, due to the flat construction of the tostada, the main topping (i.e. bean paste or meat) must be sticky or pasty enough to stay on the tostada. This helps prevent the other toppings or garnishes from falling off while it's being eaten.
Tlayudas, sometimes spelled Clayuda , is a part of Mexican Cuisine, consisting of a big crunchy tortilla covered with a spread of refried beans, asiento (unrefined pork lard), lettuce, meat (usually shredded chicken, beef tenderloin and/or pork), Oaxaca cheese or other cheese, and salsa. They are a popular antojito, or snack food, in Oaxaca, particularly around Oaxaca City.
The rules for topping a tlayuda are not strict, and restaurants and street vendors in Oaxaca often offer a variety of different toppings. Popular toppings include tasajo (a style of beef), chorizo, and cecina enchilada (thin strips of chili powder encrusted pork). The dinner-plate-sized tortilla is baked, not fried, either on a comal (tava), a grill, or directly on the coals. They may be prepared open-faced or folded in half.
- Tortillas: - Encyclopeadic page describing all variants of tortillas
- South American tortilla recipes - :
- Corn tortilla recipe - make them from scratch with masa harina
- Corn tortillas - a Thermomix recipe
- Wheat flour tortilla recipe
- Gorditas - Thick Mexican tortillas
- Quick tortillas - a recipe idea for using left over tortillas
- Burrito (or taco de harina) explained
- Enchiladas - a recipe and an expanation
- Homemade tortilla chips - Make superb tortilla chips from soft corn tortillas - better than anything you could buy!
- Cheese nachos - A cheese nacho recipe
- Frito pie - If you like Tex-Mex, you'll love this
- Easy frito pie - Make Frito pie-on the hoof!
- Sincronizada recipe - A Mexican speciality that can alos be found all over South America
- Quesadillas - A selection of quesadilla recipes
- Dobladas - Stuffed tortillas from Guatemala
- Enfrijoladas recipe - tortillas stuffed with re-fried beans and spices
- Chilaquiles - a fabulous recipe from two Mexican visitors
- Tostadas de guacamole y crema - A famous Diana Kennedy recipe
- Cheese pupusas - a stuffed tortilla from El Salvador
- Pupusa de Chicharron - similar to pupusas, again from El Salvador
- Spicy lamb tortillas - A recipe idea taken from crispy duck pancakes
- Duck fajitas - and a similar version, with crispy duck
- Spanish tortilla recipes:
- Capricorn, pea and mint tortilla - A Spanish-style tortilla with goats' cheese
- Potato and goats' cheese tortilla - Another Spanish-type with goats' cheese
- Tortilla Española - A Spanish tortilla
- Tortilla capuchina - another Spanish tortilla
- Tortilla 'batatas harras' - A spicy Spanish tortilla
- Squash, halloumi and chilli omelette - Spicy, with squash & Greek cheese
- Omelettes - Many omelette recipes
- Misc. tortilla recipes:
- Tortilla press - The device and also a great tip for making them without a press!