Tortilla power

It was The Actionettes present…nuns a-go-go! club last night, and yet again our lovely lady Castanette kept our dancing strength set to ‘high’ by providing us with some lovely home cooked tortilla…

It is so delicious and I had asked for the recipe before, and when she sent it, it was written so beautifully I asked if I could post it here; so here you go…

Castanette’s delicious vegan tortilla
Do not be scared at the length of the instructions. I have detailed
every process in the way I make it, which will make it easier for you
especially if you have never made a regular tortilla (the Spanish way)
before. I advise that you read it all before you start, so that you
know about any special considerations or tips, and then you can use
the step-summary I have put at the end to make it easier. Any
questions, just ask!

So here it goes! This is how I made the one I brought to the club


For the batter (I found all this stuff at Morrisons!):
125g/4oz chickpea flour
pinch salt
1 tsp olive oil
290ml – 1/2 pint vegetable stock, made up with vegan bouillion

6-7 medium potatoes (I normally use Maris Piper as they are smooth,
not grainy, and so they’re easy to peel and slice and look and taste
nicer when fried)

– Sunflower oil (quite a lot actually, at least half a bottle, normally
a whole one)

– Onion (a small one normally does the trick, this is so that the
omelette doesn’t taste of the flour and stock so much)

Optional: black pepper and parsley – again, to give it less of a taste
of the batter.

So let’s cook!

When I made it I prepared the batter first because I wasn’t sure how
it was going to turn out and if you wait too long with the potatoes
peeled and sliced they turn black, which is not nice, and also because
if you leave it to stand for about half an hour before using it the
starches break and that gives it a nicer texture and taste. It’s very
simple tho, you only have to mix the ingredients together and beat
them until they are smooth, and while it stands you can peel and slice
the potatoes, which is the most tedious bit of the process and gives
you wrinkly fingers.

Now, people differ on the shape of the potato slices. The way my mum
does it and I do too is that they have to end up being thin small(ish)
potato squares. I have now got used to using a chopping board as it
makes the job much easier and there’s less danger of chopping a finger
off. I find it difficult to explain in writing (as a Spaniard I need
lots of hand gestures to accompany my words) so if you have any
questions please ask and I will mime it to you. The essential thing is
that the slices have to be quite thin, as that way they will be cooked
more easily and mix better with the batter.

Once the potatoes are ready, I normally put the salt in before frying
them. Some people prefer to put the salt in once all ingredients have
been mixed just before frying it all in the pan, but I think if they
are actually fried with the salt already on they taste better.

Then you slice the onion as finely as possible, so you don’t find
actual onion chunks in your omelette but still keep the taste. They
don’t have to be microscopic slices, only small!

Now you have to deep-fry the potatoes and the onion. If you are using
a bigger frying pan and are only doing a panful of potatoes, you can
put the onion in a bit later than the potatoes, as it will not take as
long to be ready. If you are doing more than one panful, I would
suggest that you put the onion in on the last one for the same reason.
You have to fry the onion before mixing it with the batter because if
it is still raw when you are making the actual omelette it’s high
chance it will still be half-cooked once you’ve finished and this
believe you me is not nice. You should not reuse this oil, as it will
have been overheated and that’s no good for you.

Ok! So now we’re prepared for the final mixture. The batter should be
ready (and yawning ostentatiously, looking at its watch) and so we are
going to put the fried potatoes and onion in the bowl. You have to
make sure that it is all more or less homogeneously mixed. At this
point you can try it for salt again and add more if it’s not enough.
Here’s where you add the black pepper and parsley too. We are now
ready for the actual omelette making!

Now, it is essential that the pan you’re going to use is a non-stick
one, otherwise this will end in disaster, with hard-achieved omelette
mixture all over the kitchen (mind you, this might happen anyway on if
the first turning goes wrong, which is quite likely especially when
you make it for the first time, but don’t fret). Women before Tefal
were real heroes: how they got to make perfect omelettes without
non-stick pans I will never know. Anyway! You put only a little bit of
oil in the pan just to cover the bottom and make sure the mixture will
not stick. I have found it that it’s harder with vegan tortilla, as
eggs are normally quite slippery anyway, whereas this mixture is a bit
more liquid and tends to stick more, but it should be fine. The oil
has to be really hot before pouring the mixture into the pan. I always
check it by putting a little bit of the mixture (with the tip of a
fork, for instance) in the oil, and when it starts swelling and
sizzling you know it’s ready. So, now that the temperature is right,
you pour the mixture into the pan, flattening it with a wooden spoon
so that it’s evenly distributed. When the mixture starts swelling and
sizzling at the edges, it normally means it’s ready for the first
turning (high-pitched violins here). You can double-check by grabbing
the pan and trying to make the omelette slide in it. If it does, then
you’re all set for the turning. If not, maybe it is just a bit stuck
on one of the edges. If you un-stick it with the wooden spoon it is
normally fine.

SO! This is probably the most important moment in the omelette-making
process. If the first turning goes wrong, you will still have a
lovely-tasting dish, but instead of an omelette it will be a
nondescript mass (which is fine by me, but you know, it will always
look better if it’s properly finished). For the turning you need a
plate that is slightly larger than the pan and as flat as possible.
This will make it easier to slide the omelette back into the pan to
cook the other side once you’ve turned it. Grab the pan firmly by the
handle and put the plate over the pan. I would suggest that you do the
turning over the bowl you’ve been using for the mixture; this way, if
something falls off the pan you might be able to put it back in. Now
you’re ready to turn (drum solo here please). It has to be a sharp
move, trying to keep the plate right on the pan otherwise everything
will slide out. Once you’re turned the pan upside down and the plate
containing the omelette is underneath it, slowly lift the pan trying
to keep the plate horizontal. If everything has gone ok, the pan
should slide off easily and you will now have an omelette-like mass on
the plate. Now you have to put it back on to the pan. You don’t need
to add more oil. To put the omelette back, place the plate (with the
omelette on top) right on top of the pan and slide it back in slowly
and trying to keep the shape. If the edges look irregular you can make
them even with the wooden spoon.

Ok, so the hardest bit is over. Now you only have to turn it a couple
more times. It is better to turn it more often, so that the middle
gets cooked while the outside does not get burnt. Ideally it should
look a bit golden on both sides. If you like it a bit runny, you can
leave it as it is. If you like it more cooked, you can take it off the
fire and cover it, and leave it for about 10 minutes. This will keep
the heat and help it cook, whereas the sides will not get any more
brown as there is no actual source of heat underneath.

Ok, so we are all done now. Let’s recap. Here’s a summary of the
instructions so that once you’ve made is a couple of times you can
follow it more easily.

1 – Prepare the batter
2 – Peel and slice the potatoes. Add salt
3 – Peel and slice the onion
4 – Deep-fry potatoes and onion
5 – Mix with the batter. Add black pepper and parsley and more salt if
6 – Put mixture in pan with a bit of oil. Turn carefully.
7 – Keep turning until done
8 – Eat! :)

I hope you find this useful!

1 Response

  1. ilona says:

    wow! i skimmed that recipe but it looks amazing…

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