Gorditas mean “little fat ones” in Spanish, and during big family dinners it also means full, satisfied pansas. Making gorditas is a treat because it does involve a little bit of labor like homemade tortillas or making tamales. Unlike tamales, you don’t need to schedule your life around making them. With minimal preparation you can have puffed, crispy gorditas ready for dinner in no time at all.
Calorie counting aside, gorditas are a great traditional Mexican dish and they’re made year round in Latino households. Cousin to the chalupa, sope, Salvadorean pupusa, and the Colombian/Venezuelan arepa, these corn flour cakes are typically flattened by hand and fried until golden brown. Cutting a slit into the fried corn cakes will allow you to stuff your gordita with different types of cheeses and meats for a savory meal any day of the week.
In my household we cannot have gorditas without cheese, and I’m not just talking about garnish. For this recipe I used Cacique® Enchilado cheese because it melts, yet it can hold its shape so it doesn’t just ooze out of the gorditas. The enchilado cheese is rolled in paprika, so you also get that great smoky-sweet aroma in your cheese. Of course feel free to sprinkle more cheese atop your gorditas if you have left over.
These little corn cakes are pretty forgiving too because they can be pinched, pulled, rolled and re-rolled. That being said, gorditas are best eaten within within minutes after frying, which, if your family is anything like mine, is not a problem at all.
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WHAT YOU NEED
- 2 1/2 cups corn flour (masa harina)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons lard (or shortening)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus enough for frying
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 4 pasilla peppers, roasted, peeled, sliced thinly
- 6 ounces Cacique® Enchilado, crumbled
- 1 1/2 cups refried beans
HOW TO MAKE IT
- In a large mixing bowl combine the corn flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in the lard with your hands, then slowly add water and mix until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll into balls. (If the dough seems brittle simply wet your hand before rolling the dough.)
- Using a tortilla press, gently press the dough balls into flat ¼ inch thick rounds. (If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can roll them out with a rolling pin or simply shape them with your hands.) Begin heating the oil for frying.
- Once your oil is hot enough (about 360-370°F) begin frying your gorditas. They should be golden brown and slightly puffed. To make sure the inside is cooked, you will need to fry each gordita for about 2 minutes each side. Allow to drain on paper towels.
- While you are frying the gorditas, sauté the onions in a medium skillet over med-high heat using 1 tablespoon of oil. Allow the onions to soften and become translucent, about 7 minutes. Mix in the strips of pasilla chiles and Cacique® Enchilado. Allow to cook until the cheese starts melting, about 3 minutes, then cover and remove from the heat. Reserve until the gorditas are ready.
- To Serve: Cut a wide slit into each gordita, making a pocket to hold the filling. Spoon some beans in the gordita first and then fill with the cheesy rajas and onion mixture. Additionally, serve with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes and Cacique® Crema Mexicana.