This is a meal that is fun to make. Great for zesty lunch, light supper, it’s spunk-i-fied black beans stuffed into handmade fat and fast flatbreads. Gorditas (“little fatties”) are popular throughout Central America and truly quick. It’s vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free. You stuff it with any filling you like—from leftover chicken to tempeh.
- 2 cups masa harina, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups warm water
- ¼ cup corn or other neutral oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cooked frozen or canned black beans, drained and well rinsed
- 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder or guajillo chili powder
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the masa harina, cornstarch, and baking powder and mix to incorporate completely. Add the warm water, 1 tablespoon of the corn oil, and salt and mix well to make a dough; it should be just a bit sticky. Divide the dough into equal 8 portions and roll into balls, putting a bit of masa on your hands if need be to keep from sticking. Place the balls on a tray lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic to keep them from drying out.
- If you have a tortilla press, line it with 2 pieces of parchment (top and bottom) and gently press one dough ball at a time to a thickness of about ¼ inch. If you do not have a press, place a dough ball between two pieces of parchment and, using the bottom of a skillet, press down, again until it’s about ¼ inch thick.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the remaining corn oil, setting aside the other 2 tablespoons for each batch. Heat the oil until it shimmers; then peel the parchment away and gently place the gordita into the hot pan. After about 1 minute, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip with a spatula, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. The gordita will be lightly browned and crusty on the top and bottom, but a bit darker on the top (the darker side is the one that was cooked down first). Transfer to a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining gorditas, and place each on the platter with sheets of parchment paper between them.
- Make the filling: In a medium pot set over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until translucent and soft. Add the black beans, ground ancho chili powder, oregano and cumin, and stir to incorporate, smooshing about half the beans with the back of the spoon while the mixture heats. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until completely heated through. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Place the gordita, darker side up, on a work surface and, with a sharp knife, slice it open (horizontally) about two-thirds of the way through, leaving it attached at one end like an open pita pocket. Fill with about ¼ cup of the black bean filling. Repeat with the remaining gorditas and beans.
- Serve immediately with Yucatan Citrus Fruit Salsa.
- Unstuffed gorditas can be frozen with parchment paper between them. Separate, place on a baking sheet prepared with non-stick cooking spray, cover with foil and heat in at 300°F for 15 minutes or until very hot. You can then remove them, cut, fill and serve.
- They can also be deep fried from a slightly defrosted state in a skillet filled with 3 to 4 inches of corn oil heated to a temperature of 365°F. Turn halfway through and fry until they are puffy and a pale chestnut brown on both sides. The fried ones have to be served quickly to maintain crispiness.