Big Jim: Corn tortilla

2013-08-02T00:00:00Z Big Jim: Corn tortillaJim Griffith, Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Corn tortillas are ubiquitous all over Mexico, including, of course, Sonora, which is the home of the large flour tortilla.

First and foremost, they can be used to help the food travel from the plate top the mouth, either as scoops or as pushers. They are best when they are fresh off the comal or griddle – a rare luxury in these days of tortilla factories.

But then there are so many things that can be done with those little flat cakes. First of all, they can be folded around anything at all and become tacos. For years in the U.S. almost all tacos came in fried, U-shaped taco shells.

Not so in Mexico, where the choices are much greater. This latitude has come to Arizona, enriching our culinary options. Akin to the taco is the tostada, which has as its base a fried, flat corn tortilla.

They can be soaked in red chile sauce, rolled around meat or cheese, doused with more sauce and some cheese, and baked in the oven, to become enchiladas - things soaked in chile.

If you substitute beans for the red chile, they are enfrijoladas.

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About this blog

Jim Griffith is the former director of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona, and co-founder of Tucson Meet Yourself. He’s also the author of seven books on the folklore and folklife of our region, most recently “A Border Runs Through It.” His books can be purchased at

If you have questions or suggestions for Jim Griffith or this blog, e-mail

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