Gordita means “chubby”, and in Mexico, it is a generic name for a patty, a very obsequious term which includes those formed from any dough, filled or dressed before or after cooking, cooked on the grill or fried, have sweet or savoury ingredients, and so on. In Central Mexico, specifically Mexico City, unless specified otherwise, a “gordita” is formed from masa (nixtamalized corn dough), and filled before cooking, traditionally with either refried beans, or chicharrón prensado, although nowadays there are many other fillings, such as pastor, carnitas, cochinita pibil, or stringy cheese. At old-fashioned street stands, they used to grill the patties first, and then crisp them with just a little oil; more recently, and especially at restaurants, they directly deep-fry the patties in plenty of oil or lard. For gorditas with chicharrón prensado, another method is to press the patty into a flat disc before deep frying, to get an extra blast of crispiness.
I chose the traditional fillings of refried beans, and chicharrón prensado (homemade from my previous post.) I cooked them using the two-step method of grilling then crisping, and also made a few fried flattened discs with chicharrón prensado.
Mexico City Style Gorditas – Gorditas estilo CDMX
Ingredients (for 8 pieces)
Vegetable oil, or melted lard, as needed
Corn Dough (masa):
2 cups nixtamalized corn flour (masa harina, such as Maseca™, or Bob’s Red Mill™)
1 ½ cups water, plus more as needed
½ tsp salt, or to taste
1 cup chicharrón prensado, 1 cup refried beans OR half a cup each (try my recipes, above, or from store)
½ cup onions; peeled and chopped
½ cup cilantro; washed and chopped
Salsas, to taste, for example, cooked green tomatillo, or spicy chile de árbol (click here for my recipes, or from bottle)
Prepare masa: Mix all ingredients for the masa in a bowl, making sure to hydrate all the flour (photo below, left); form a soft dough, and allow to rest for ten minutes, covered (photo below, right):
To test for adequate texture, take a portion about the size of a lime, roll into a ball and gently press to form a thick disc; if it appears cracked, add one tablespoon of water to the dough, mix thoroughly. Repeat test until dough is not cracking and still malleable and not sticky.
Mix chopped onions and cilantro in a bowl, and set up along with other ingredients, from top left: masa, with two portions on the side, green cooked tomatillo sauce, and red spicy chile de árbol sauce; bottom from left: chicharrón prensado, chopped onions and cilantro, and refried beans:
Take one portion of corn dough (approximately 1/8), and form a ball. Press the centre with one thumb, and continue pressing outwards, while turning, to form a cup; place some crumbled chicharrón prensado in the cup (photo below, left), or a scoop of refried beans (photo below, right):
Close the cup by pinching the edge towards the centre (photo below, left). Form a ball again, then press and pat to form a thick disc (photo below, right):
Continue with the rest of the dough portions and fillings to form eight patties.
Optional: Take a patty filled with chicharrón prensado and place it in a tortilla press lined with a plastic bag (photo below, left). Press lightly, to flatten the patty into a thinner disc; some filling will show. Pat around the edge, to smooth out (photo below, right):
In the photo below, a thick disc with filling (left) and a flattened disc showing filling (right):
The patties may be cooked with a two-step method, first grilled and then crisped, or directly deep-fried.
For the two-step method: Warm up a dry grill or skillet (no oil) over medium heat. Add a single layer of patties, spacing so they do not touch. After a few seconds, start rotating the patties with fingers, to grill evenly on one side (photo below, left). Once dry and cooked on one side, flip (photo below, right), and repeat on other side:
Once the gorditas are cooked and grilled on both sides, pour just a couple of teaspoons of oil (or lard) on the grill (photo below, left). Rotate gorditas again, to coat the bottom side with oil; once crisped, flip and repeat with second side (photo below, right):
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
For the deep-fried method: Pour enough oil (or lard) in a thick pan over medium-high heat so the patties will float. Once the fat is hot (around 375ºF – 190ºC), carefully drop a patty in; the fat should start bubbling (photo below, left). Fry until golden brown, then flip and continue frying, to crisp the other side (photo below, right):
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
Prepare gorditas for serving while still hot. Slice horizontally through the middle with a sharp knife, preferably serrated (photo below, left). Open as a pocket, showing the chamber formed with the filling, ready to receive toppings and salsa (photo below, right):
Fill with chopped onions and cilantro, and finish with Mexican sauce of choice, such as spicy chile de árbol , as shown below:
Serve immediately. Below, left, two gorditas cooked with the two-step method, and, right, a deep-fried flattened gordita with chicharrón prensado:
An iconic antojito (“little craving” – street food snack), Mexico City Style Gorditas bring back cuddly memories of old Mexico City neighbourhoods, for me, of Tacubaya, Roma, and San Pedro de los Pinos; those gorditas now long gone, across from Public Middle School #8 “Tomás Garrigue Masaryk” (Av. Primero de Mayo 172), were an awesome treat after school.
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I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #542, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.