Tostada literally means “toasted” in Spanish. It’s a corn tortilla that’s fried until crisp, drained and then used as a base for toppings. It’s a nice little twist on a crunchy taco because it’s more versatile and you can fit more toppings on it! The best part about tostadas is they’re quick and great with leftovers. If you’ve made a big batch of frijoles, make these and use up some of that pinto beany goodness.
Can I also just say that these are amazing when made fresh? They’ve got nothing on those stale-grease pre-made shells from that old-company-that-shall-not-be-named.
Ingredients you’ll need
Corn tortillas (I get the 10pk Woolies home brand and they’re fine.)
A cast iron pan for frying
Your choice of topping
Have all your toppings ready and set aside. Get your pan nice and hot, then add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom, maybe 1cm deep.
Add your first tortilla to the hot pan with some heat-proof tongs and flip immediately, then back. Keep turning occasionally after this, and carefully, until it’s golden brown evenly on both sides. As long as your pan is hot enough, they should only take a couple of minutes until golden. Pick them up with your tongs delicately, as they should be crisp and prone to cracking now and place on a plate prepared with paper towels to drain. Set aside and repeat process until you have enough shells for your guests.
Once they’re all done and are cool enough to handle, spread a thin layer of refried beans to the base. You want to do this because this will act as a tasty adhesive for more toppings. After this is done, get creative! Add your favourite crumbly or shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream and hot sauce. Try them with shredded chicken, carnitas, seasoned beef mince, avocado, onions, salsa, prawns, the possibilities are endless!
How easy was that? The only thing left to do, is eat and enjoy your delicious tostadas.
(Pictured: hubby @wombat1974)
Carnitas literally means “little meats” in Spanish and is a type of braised or roasted pork in Mexican cuisine. They’re usually cooked and rendered in their own fat. They’re also delicious and so easy!
1.5 kg pork shoulder or rump
cold water to just cover
2 teaspoons salt and cumin to taste
A large cast iron pan or heavy pot
Choose a piece of pork that has a decent amount of fat on it so that it will brown properly on its own. If the piece you have is lean, you can put a little bit of vegetable oil into the pan (as opposed to lard.)
If there is skin, remove that. Cut the meat fat and all, into slightly larger than bite-sized chunks. Cover the meat with water (not too much to start, just enough to cover) in a seasoned deep cast iron pan (making this dish a few times will season a new cast iron pan well.) Add the salt and cumin and bring to boil uncovered.
Lower the heat to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the water has evaporated — between 1-2 hours, depending on the size of your pan. By this time the meat should be cooked, but not falling apart. If the meat is still hard when the water has evaporated, add more water and continue cooking until tender.
Once tender, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the meat until all the fat has cooked down. Keep turning the meat until it’s browned. It will almost look crispy. This will take another hour.
You now have carnitas! Good whole or shred by hand once cooked and add to tacos, burritos or by themselves. They’re delicious with any combination of the following accompaniments: lemon or lime juice, fresh diced onion, sliced radishes, salsa, guacamole or avocado slices, jalapeño and/or chopped cilantro (coriander) in a heated corn tortilla taco.
Carnitas taco shown with frijoles, guacamole and a tomato salsa containing diced onion, cilantro, jalapeños.