Sweet Potato Gorditas
Gorditas are the Mexican version of arepas. Made with corn masa, these delicious warm maize pockets can be filled with a variety of stuffings; from vegetables like nopales (cactus), rajas (made of poblano peppers), to meat dishes smothered in salsas (like chicken mole or pork in salsa verde), or simply filled with fresh cheese and refried beans.
They have always been a lovely memory from my childhood. in San Luis Potosi, the town where I was born, there is a place famed for its Gorditas called “Morales” which has been there since the late 1960s.
It is a place full of stalls and tiny family-run restaurants where Gorditas are the speciality. I don’t know how it all begun, most likely it started with one stall and then demand spread quickly given its popularity.
The senoras and cooks work their magic in the open kitchens, making them by hand and fresh to order. They are cleverly organised and food is quickly on your table once ordered .
I remember, back as a child sitting with a barrilito in my hand with my little legs dangling from the Coca Cola chairs, I would sip my drink feeling so excited in anticipation of what was coming. it was like getting a pocket surprise with every gordita, an explosion of flavour in your mouth. Even today I think my favourite one is the simple beans and slightly salty queso fresco.
My recipe for Gorditas is an interpretation from those memories as well as the things that I like to cook and eat today, I hope that you too will enjoy a bit of that Gordita magic.
Makes around 14, 8cm diameter Sweet Potato Gorditas.
2 cups of corn flour .
2 tsp salt.
1 cup of roasted sweet potato.
1 cup of hot boiling water.
2 tsp coconut oil .
In a bowl mix the corn flour, salt and roasted sweet potato, add the hot water and coconut oil and mix with a wooden spoon. Once all the ingredients are integrated, place the masa over your kitchen counter and knead briefly with your hands. Feel the masa and add a little more water if you think its a bit dry, or a bit more corn flour if you think its too moist. For gordita masa I think is better to have a more moist (but not sticky) masa.
Heat a non stick pan, then shape masa balls with your hands, then work with your palms passing from one to the other until you form round patties, make sure they are not too thick in the middle, this might take a little practice but you can do it slowly to start with, and until you become more confident working them quickly with your hands.
Place the round masa discs into the hot pan and cook both sides for a minute , or until the surface on both sides looks toasted and get a bit of colour.
Remove the Gorditas from the pan and while they are still warm insert a sharp pairing knife , carefully move the knife inside creating a pocket , try to get to all the inside of the gordita and finally cut about half way of the edge, and they are ready to stuff.
These are ready to be used but if you need to reheat then simply fill (normally with a hot mixture) and warm up over a hot pan, a few seconds on each side and they are ready to eat .
Note : To store them I have been using bee wax wraps to keep them fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days, I stack 5 or 6 in one wrap, you can use a ziplock bag equally and freeze them for up to 1 month, just make sure they are completely thawed before using and warm them up over a hot pan.