Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free salt and pepper set - offer ends 26 March, 2017

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

1980s recipes

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Roti canai

Here, we've made the dough in a food processor, but it's really quick and simple to do by hand as well. If the dough seems a little too wet just add a little more flour.


You'll need

360 gm (2 cups) masa flour (see note)


  • 01
  • Place flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt, then add 250ml warm water.
  • 02
  • Mix with your hands to a soft pliable dough (2 minutes), adding more water or flour if necessary.
  • 03
  • Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and rest for at least 20 minutes.
  • 04
  • Divide dough into 16 and roll each piece into a ball.
  • 05
  • Line a tortilla press (see note) with two squares of baking paper, cut to fit.
  • 06
  • Working with one ball at a time, press gently but firmly in press to form a thin disc, then set aside on paper.
  • 07
  • Heat a dry comal or pan over medium-high heat, peel baking paper from tortilla (be careful, it’s fragile) and cook tortilla, turning twice, until lightly browned (30 seconds on each side). Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • 08
  • Stack cooked tortillas in a basket lined with a tea towel as you go and rest to steam gently and soften slightly (3 minutes).

Note Masa flour is available from Asian and other select grocers and The Essential Ingredient. Tortilla presses and comal griddles are available online from Monterey Mexican Foods.

The basis of any good taco is a good tortilla. We're not talking about those crunchy corn-chip things (they can stay on the supermarket shelf), but we're not talking about the most time-consuming traditional version either. A really good soft tortilla, any purist will tell you, is made from corn which has been boiled and steeped in a solution of lime (calcium hydroxide, that is, not the citrus) to loosen the skin, washed and then ground to form a dough known as masa. The liming process, known as nixtamalisation, changes the nutritive qualities of the corn and alters its flavour. Making tortillas this way, however, is more of a chore than most Mexican cooks are prepared to bother with, let alone Australian ones, so here we're going to deal with tortillas made from masa flour (also known as masa harina or harina de maíz), a white or yellow nixtamalised corn flour made by drying freshly made masa. (If you want to explore traditional tortilla-making in more detail, our go-to author is Diana Kennedy.)

Even with this simplified method, some initial outlay is required, and the flour, though available at some specialist shops, may need to be ordered ahead (Essential Ingredient stores often carry it; Melbourne's Casa Iberica is another standby). The one thing you can't really do without is a tortilla press. It's not much more than two pieces of metal with a hinge and a handle, and shouldn't set you back much more than $25. A comal, a flat, heavy iron griddle to cook the tortillas, is a plus, but we've also had excellent results using a Scanpan. Monterey and Fireworks Foods online stock both presses and flours and ship nation-wide.

It's very much worth doing, because it's dead easy, and because there's a world of difference between a freshly made tortilla and the sort you buy in shops. A fresh tortilla needs only some fried eggs, hot sauce, avocado, spring onion, chilli and lime to make a meal, but also provides the perfect vessel for barbecued seafood, thinly sliced steak, or slow-cooked pork, greens, or whatever else your stomach desires.

The keys to tortilla perfection are getting the consistency of your dough right, then letting it sit, cooking it right and, crucially, letting the tortillas steam, wrapped in a towel, in their own heat at the table.

If your dough is too dry, it will crack in the press; too wet or sticky, it'll be impossible to peel from the plastic or baking paper you've lined your press with. Some cooks use Ziploc bags, cut into squares, to line their presses; we prefer baking paper. If we're making tortillas for a crowd, we'll stack them on the sheets, peeling them only when they're ready to be cooked, but if you're only making a few, you can reuse the linings, peeling the tortillas off and either cooking them immediately or draping them over the edge of a bench or board. (It's much easier, incidentally, to peel the lining from the tortilla than the tortilla from the lining.)

The cooking is just as straightforward: bring your comal or pan to medium-high heat without any oil, gently slip in your tortillas one or two at a time, allow them to brown on one side, flip and brown the other side, flip and cook briefly on the first side again to finish, then transfer to a basket lined with a towel. Don't worry if they seem a little stiff straight from the pan; they'll soften in the towel. The important thing is not to let them get cold. Reheating tortillas doesn't really work, but the cuisine of Mexico has as many recipes for leftover tortillas as Europe's cookbooks have for stale bread, whether it's cutting them into chips to fry, slipping them into sopa de tortilla, or putting them to a hundred other good uses.

At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people

Featured in

Mar 2011

You might also like...

Spring recipes


Tequila and sangrita

Crab and avocado tortillas


Churros with champurrado

Quick chicken mole


Quesadillas with cheese and chorizo

Crushed avocado, chilli and lime with crunchy tortillas


Soft tacos with black bean mole and flank steak

conversion tool

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.