March 23, 2019

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Quinoa Tortillas – My First Epic Fail

Money has been a little tight lately, so I have tried to make some more homemade food.  Pretty much all the food I cook is already homemade, but I’m talking even more homemade.  For example, for lunch the other day we had nachos with homemade tortilla chips (but made out of store-bought tortillas).

Well, if I can make homemade tortilla chips, why not go a step further and try homemade tortillas?  I’m not sure how, but I came across the idea of quinoa tortillas.  I’ve loved the other recipes that have involved quinoa,so I thought it sounded like a good idea.  And it could go with some leftover salsa chicken I had!  As I searched for a recipe, I found one that seemed to have some ingredients that were already in my cupboard: quinoa, brown rice, olive oil, and salt.  Thinking I had everything in hand, I was hoping to have my tortillas done and dinner on the table in no time.

As I looked closer at my recipe, I noticed what I thought was quinoa in the ingredients was actually quinoa flour.  So now I was not only going to make tortillas for the first time, but quinoa flour.

I found some instructions for the flour that I thought sounded pretty easy to follow: rinse the quinoa, sauté it in a frying pan over high heat until it starts to pop, set it aside and let it cool, then run it through a food processor/blender until it becomes flour.  So, I set out to make my flour.

I pulled out my strainer to rinse the quinoa, only to realize the quinoa was smaller than the holes in my strainer and was going to pour out with the water.  So, I put a bowl underneath the catch the water while I rinsed it.  My tired brain didn’t realize that the bowl would catch the quinoa AND the water!  So, quinoa got a little over the sink as I tried to drain out the water without losing too much quinoa.  This was followed by several different batches of roasting quinoa.  Quinoa was EVERYWHERE by the time I was done cooking.  It was falling out of the pan as I moved it to a bowl, or falling out as I stirred it.  Did you know that quinoa can catch fire if the stove is hot enough?  Yeah, found that out!

I soon ran out of all my white quinoa, so I had to result to my red quinoa.  This made an interesting color when combined with the white.  I ran all the roasted quinoa in my food processor, only to have about 3/4 of it turn into flour.  I soon moved it to the blender in hopes of it turning into finer flour.  There were still whole grains of quinoa in places, but I thought it would be ok.

The second ingredient was brown rice flour.  This was one was so simple to make compared to the quinoa flour!  I just measured out a cup of dry brown rice, put it in the blender, and pulsed until was really fine.

I put all the flour in a large mixing bowl, plus the 1 tsp of olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water the recipe called for.  As I mixed the “dough,” it was too crumbly.  Nothing was sticking together at all!  I kneaded it some more, but still no improvement.  I looked at some other quinoa tortilla recipes online, and thought the water to flour ratio was too low on the one I was using (1 1/4 cup of water for 4 3/4 cup of flour).  So, I added another 3/4 cup of warm water.  Rolled out the “dough” as best as I could, then put one tortilla in the frying pan.  There were no bubbles like I thought there might be.  There was just a flat  . . . thing that ended up getting cooked.  I took a bite, and it tasted awful!  It was flour and water – no taste at all.  I eventually just gave the kids the salsa chicken without the tortilla so they could have something to eat.

While we ate dinner, I looked at other recipes for regular tortillas, trying to figure out what mine was missing.  It wasn’t looking like regular tortilla dough.  I thought maybe I was missing some kind of “fat”.  All the recipes for regular tortillas I found used vegetable shortening, lard, or other oils.  I don’t really use shortening – I substitute it with applesauce.  However, there was none on hand.  So I took a 20 minute break to make some applesauce.  After looking for some instructions on how to make applesauce, I soon had a small batch that I slowly added to my tortilla recipe – plus a little more water.

I mixed the “dough” some more, only to have it become more sticky.  I wasn’t going to spend any more time trying to make more quinoa flour or brown rice flour, so I just used what was left of some whole wheat flour I had.  When that bag was gone, and the dough was still too sticky, I resulted to some white flour that I had left over.  I felt the dough was finally at a consistency that I could work with.  I took a 1/2 hour rolling out individual tortillas, and then putting them on the pan (the fire alarm went off in the process).  They were still incredibly flat, and still incredibly bland.   They were also a little dark (probably from the red quinoa I had to use).

With no other choice, I decided to try making them into tortilla chips.  I used only four as I was tired from cooking (what should have have taken a half hour had taken four).  When they came out of the oven, there was some improvement, but not enough to make me want to eat them.  The instructions I found said they would only be good for a few days, and there was no way were were going to eat them in that time.  So, as much as I didn’t want to, they were all thrown away.  On the bright side, I did some have delicious applesauce waiting for me as I cleaned up!

I’m not sure where I went wrong.  I think a big problem might have been my homemade quinoa flour not being fine enough.  I may have added too much water, too much flour, shouldn’t have added the applesauce – there were a lot of things that I probably should or shouldn’t have done.  I may try these again in the future with real quinoa flour.  Maybe after I’ve had some more practice making regular tortillas!

 

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