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Los Barrios Puffy Tacos - A Special San Antonio Treat


The puffy tacos at Los Barrios in San Antonio are Sandra’s favorite. They are made from fresh masa which puffs up when it fries. Her favorite puffy tacos are from Los Barrios. (She always orders the ground beef ones.)

 Here is the puffy taco recipe from Diana Trevino’s Los Barrios Family Cookbook.” (Note: Yes the recipe really calls for frying the tacos in 250° oil.)

Puffy Tacos

(makes 12-15 tacos)

 3 cups corn masa mix  (can be found in Latin markets and some large supermarkets)
 1 ½ teaspoons salt
 2 ¼ cups warm water
 Vegetable oil for frying

            1.         Combine the masa mix, salt and warm water in a large bowl and mix until a smooth dough forms. Pull off pieces of dough and roll them into balls about the size of Ping-Pong ball.

            2.        Cut a quart-size resealable plastic bag open down both sides, to form a rectangle. Use the bag to line a tortilla press as you shape the tortillas, so they do not stick: Lay one side of the plastic over the bottom of the press, place a ball of dough in the center, and fold the other side of the plastic over the dough. Shut the top of the tortilla press firmly down on the dough to shape the tortilla.

NOTE: If you can’t get your hands on a tortilla press, a clean countertop will do. You will still need the plastic so that the dough does not stick to the counter. Place the dough ball on one side of the plastic, cover with the other side, and use a heavy skillet to press out the tortilla.

            3.        Meanwhile, pour 2 inches of vegetable oil into large deep pot and heat to 250°F.

            4.        Drop a tortilla into the hot oil and, using a metal spatula; repeatedly douse the tortilla with the hot oil until it begins to puff up. Flip it over and, using the spatula, make an indentation in the center of the tortilla to form a taco shape. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.(Caution: Be very careful when making these. Make sure there is proper ventilation, and do not allow the oil to get too hot.)

            5.        Fill each taco with 2 tablespoons of cooked ground meat or shredded chicken, Guacamole, beans, and cheese or choose your favorite filling. Top with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.


Sandra Rohrstaff
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