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There’s a whole group of foods in Mexican cuisine know as “Antojitos“. The word roughly translates as “little cravings” and you can find then in lots of street stands and restaurants across the country.
This is the first post of a series where I’ll try to explain a few of the many items made with corn masa and although names may vary depending on the region of the country that you’re in, think of this as your beginner’s guide where I’ll focus mainly on the traditional way we eat them in the center of the country.
Masa, the staple of Mexican cuisine, is used for so much more that only tortillas and tamales. Each specific dish has its own name, its own shape, topping, filling and way to eat .
Tlacoyos are oval shaped patties that can de stuffed with beans, fava beans, a ricotta style cheese (requesón) and sometimes with chicharrón. They are also known as Tlaoyos, tlatlaoyo, clacoyos, etc. Toppings may vary but nopales, salsa, fresh onion, cilantro and cheese are the usual and you can eat it the same way you would eat a pizza slice, pick it up with your hand and bite right into it.
Tlacoyos are a very typical thing to find out in the streets, usually ladies who make them make it look so easy and effortless. They take a handful of masa, choose the filling and put it in the middle, pat it until magically they get a perfectly shapped tlacoyo and gently place it on a comal until cooked. Then take it out in the right moment when they’re already cooked but moist inside. Top it and put it on a plate. Done! (Whenever I try to do it I end up with a mess).
So now you know, if you see them on the streets, you should definitely try one!
My favorite combination is: Blue corn tlacoyo, stuffed with fava bean and topped with red salsa. Yum!
PS: I found this amazing map that might come really helpful if you happen to be around the San Rafael neighborhood. Elizabeth Hillbruner, from the La cerda y la Cebollita Blog (and Mexico City dweller) shows us where you can find the best Tlacoyos.