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Authentic Gorditas

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I recently ate a terrible and indifferently prepared gordita at a San Francisco farmer's market that sparked a debate as to what constitutes an authentic gordita. Being neither Mexican nor someone with a lot of experience with Mexican food, I feel ill-prepared to judge this, so can someone give their thoughts on what an authentic gordita is? Does it have to be stuffed or can the meat (or whatever other stuffing) simply be piled on top? What should the taste and texture of the "bread" part be like?

More importantly, since I'm going to Mexico City soon, can someone tell me where to get a good gordita?

Thanks!

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  1. From my infrequent experiences with gorditas, they are a small, round cake of masa, cooked dry on a comal (occasionally fried, but that is less common), partially split open along the side, and filled with cooked pork, chicken or other preparations. To me, the taste of a true gordita should be of nixtamalized corn masa. The texture tends to be dense and somewhat chewy. The flat upper and lower sides should have brown spots from the griddling.

    A few years ago, my wife had a good gordita at La Reyna de La Roma, on the street facing the Mercado Medellín, in Colonia Roma Sur, Mexico, D.F. http://tinyurl.com/ckr5fu But we haven't tried that place again after their closure and reopening.You might try a gordita de carnitas, a specialty of the Reyna. I loved the huarache I had there. http://tinyurl.com/clm4sm (December, 2005).
    I don't doubt that you might find better ones if you explore.

    By the way, some of the best quesadillas we've had anywhere are found at a daytime stand at the corner of Calle Manzanillo and Calle Tlaxcala, Colonia Roma, not too far from the above mercado, and a block or two east of Avenida Insurgentes. This is a fun area to explore, and the Mercado Medellín has some interesting foods, both raw and prepared.

    1. I know many Mexican women who make gorditas (the word means 'little fatties', by the way) and each señora has her own way. Some women do make thick corn tortillas (from 1/4 to 1/2" thick) and then split and stuff them with any of several fillings: frijolitos refritos, carne deshebrada, pollo deshebrado (deshebrado means shredded), carnitas, champiñones (mushrooms), papas (potato), queso (cheese), or combinations of those and other ingredients. Some women incorporate the fillings into the masa (dough) before cooking the gordita.

      Some women cook their gorditas on a comal (griddle), while others deep-fry them. Some use a combination of those two methods, grilling gorditas on a comal and then letting them deep-fry for a few minutes to give them that heavenly crunch on the outside and that smooth corn-dough flavor on the inside.

      However they're filled and cooked, when you have one on your plate just pinch it open a bit, add a big drizzle of salsa verde or roja, more than a pinch of finely sliced cabbage, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and minced onion, a squeeze of limón, and a sprinkle of salt. It's sheer heaven.

      And no, in 30 years in Mexico I've never seen a gordita with the 'filling' piled on top.

      Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: cristina

        C, I continue to be amazed, awed, how delicious mexican peasant food can be.

      2. Ditto to those above... and in addition just note... Gorditas are primarily traditional to Aguascalientes, Zacatecas and Jalisco... Mexico City does NOT have a strong Gorditas culture. With that said... every population center in Mexico has SOMETHING like a Gordita in abstract terms... in Mexico City its primarily the Huarache & Garnachas... and on the Western part of town its the Tlacoyos. The fillings do change as their birthplace ecology mandate what goes in them... Huaraches commonly get seasonal produce like Huitlacoche, Romeritos, Squash Blossoms and meats are used merely as an accent etc., whearas the Gorditas tend to be native to more Arid parts of the country.... and tend to be Meat, Beans, Stinky Cheese or Nopales centric....

        4 Replies
        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          EN, here in Michoacán we have the gordita de frijolitos. Frijoles de la olla are stone-ground on the metate. Then blue corn masa is wrapped around a ball of the ground frijolitos. The ball is flattened into a disc and then fried on the comal. You can see a photo from Mexico Cooks! last December:

          http://mexicocooks.typepad.com/mexico....

          Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            The best gordita I ever had was in Zacatecas at an old restaurant in the historic center, at the entrance of town.Can't remember the restaurant, but it still lives in my dreams.I could pick out the joint if I was there.

            1. re: streetgourmetla

              Gorditas Doña Julia is a local institution in Zacatecas--and the gorditas at her several locations are very different from others I've eaten elsewhere in Mexico. Zacatecas-style gorditas are made with white flour, are quite thin compared to corn-masa gorditas, and, after they're cooked on the comal, they're split and filled with the guisado you choose from what's available that day at Doña Julia's. I once watched a man eat NINE of these gorditas, all at one sitting. I've eaten as many as four at one meal...read more about all this at the link I posted on the Durango/Zacatecas thread.

              Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typeapad.com

              1. re: cristina

                Yes, these are the ones.I also had these thin gorditas in San Miguel de Allende. They are light, and you can go through many of these and really have a nice degustacion.

          2. I must disagree with the person saying tlacoyos is a variation of gorditas... they are actually a different size , shape and are put in the comal already witha filling of frijol, garbanzo, or a differnet kind of bean... usually with queso fresco , cilantro and salsa on top.
            Gorditas are usualy more in Northern Mexico, usually made of corn masa. But in Torreon, state of Coahuila you will find some that are made with wheat "flour" masa.
            From my father's home town Ciudad Victoria,state capital of Tamaulipas comes the most famous gordita name "Doña Tota" who was famous for many years and would even serve personalities such as the President himself when they came to town. She passed away, and who ever kept the one restaurant and owned the name, decided to go Franchise! Surprisingly enough, and I guess because gorditas are so easy to make (masa, comal, and good stuffings) You will find several succesful "Doña Tota's" scattered all around Mexico.
            A variation on a usual , regular gordita: Bocoles served in Northern Veracruz state & Tamaulipas . Smaller, they use some rendered beef and pork fat , to make them fluffy and the stuffings might be slightly different too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mambooster7

              I never really knew where "Gorditas" came from, but my real first experience with them was awesome.
              I used to live near the Villa Coapa area (near Xochimilco, southern part of Mexico City) and a friend of mine took me to that Gorditas stand that I'll never forget. It's on Escuela Naval Avenue and Miramontes, just outside the Walmart parking lot. These gorditas are really fatty and small. The woman that cooks them fries them with no exception. She fills them up with chicharron prensado, requeson or black beans. And then she deep fries them. They end up being crunchy and well cooked. She opens them and adds cilantro, onion and sauce. If you fancy, she'll add sour cream. Oh my, they were the best!!!
              I don't know if she's still there...

              Later, I started paying attention on how gorditas were made. The usual kind I found in Tianguis all over Mexico City were filled with Chicharron prensando, and cooked with oil.

              Then I was aquatinted with another kind of gorditas, the ones made in the northern states of Mexico. I guess every region has it's own kind, as usual. And they were good!

              I had just finished a tour to Grutas de Garcia and again, next to the parking lot there was a food stand selling corn and tacos and of course GORDITAS!!! They are of the thin kind, pre cooked and later stuffed with meat, nopales and other good stuff.
              They are the kind of gorditas more "a la Doña Tota", that Mambooster is telling us about. And Doña Tota is good! really good! They have restaurants all over the "Noreste" region and I've already seen a branch in Mexico City. They have all sorts of fillings, like mushrooms, nopales, deshebrada, chicharron, cheese, cochinita pibil and more...

            2. Year ago I had one amazing deep-fried gordita de chicharron after another, with sliced jalapenos added, at one of the stalls in the vast butcher area of Mercado la Lagunilla in Mex City. Damn, they were good.

              1. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Nicholas Gilman's book "Good Food in Mexico City".
                Here is his web site with more updates on where to eat in the city
                http://goodfoodmexicocity.blogspot.com/

                1. I'm sorry, but some of you are WAY off the boat. My mid-morning snack is usually a gordita purchased from some small shop on La Avenida de La Corregidora in Queretaro. Gorditas are NEVER fried. Gorditas NEVER have white flour in them. They are always crispy/chewy on the outside, and soft and filled with cheese and/or meat on the inside. The most common fillings here are cheese (oaxaca or chihuahua), flor de calabraza (squash-blossom) or shredded beef or chicken. I think a Mexican woman would be sick if she were asked to put BEANS in her gordita!

                  And chicharron is NASTY!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: jnetusil

                    No le gusta chicharron? Sometimes the grueso can be a little rough, but some nice, light, airy delgado is good on its own, as a substitute for a chip with guac, or on a torta de lechon for a little extra texture. Maybe you haven't had the "good stuff"?

                    1. re: jnetusil

                      "I think a Mexican woman would be sick if she were asked to put BEANS in her gordita!"

                      You know, I'm going to re-post the link I posted about a year ago. One of the photos (which I took in Morelia, Michoacán, where I live, by the way) shows a plateful of blue corn gorditas stuffed with metate-ground frijoles; another photo in the article shows a young woman grinding the beans prior to making the gordtias. I watched as she prepared the gorditas, and I didn't see her getting sick at all.

                      http://mexicocooks.typepad.com/mexico...

                      And the gorditas in Zacatecas are definitely made with wheat flour, split open, and filled with any sort of thing, including the each of the items you mentioned, jnetusil.

                      One of the best type gordita I have ever eaten (and I've eaten them more times than I can count) is from a carnitas restaurant near Zamora, Michoacán. Their gorditas are made from the crispy outside scraps of carnitas, kneaded into a golf-ball size sphere of corn masa and then deep-fried without being flattened. Oh my god...they are so heavenly.

                      I guess, jnetusil, that the style of gordita depends greatly on the region where you're eating. Like the answer to almost everything in Mexico, the answer to the gordita question is, "It depends." There are no hard and fast rules.

                      Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                      1. re: cristina

                        Thanks for the picture link (the gorditas look delish )

                        1. re: cristina

                          To JnetusiI - I know a few Mexican women who only put beans in their flour gorditas.. Enough with the blanket statements!! Most every dish was created because of the ingredients that were on hand when the dish was created. But that does not mean it can not be done another way because that is what is on hand, the preference of the cook or their family likes it. I thought that is what cooking was all about.. being creative with what you have.

                        2. re: jnetusil

                          I'm sorry but of what i know there are two types of gorditas the "oven" type that always seemed to be more like a bread to me and the the "comal" the ones in comal usually tend to be fried. My family is from Zacatecas and its almost a given to get gorditas every time we go to there and even pack them up when we come back (only when we travel by plane) The ones we get are fried and they are filled by either cheese, spicy mole(not for the weak), and desebrada or a combination of them. My dad just came back from mexico and brought some with him too bad we already finished them all up or i would post pics of them to share. Im lucky to have my sister coming in saturday and im going to ask her to bring a big pack of gorditas too.

                          1. re: mightytoad138

                            There are so many variations on any possible theme in Mexican cooking! One of the big temptations is always to base generalized opinions on our personal experiences--but inevitably someone will post and say, "That's not how it is. I've eaten them cooked XXXX way, but YOU are wrong!" Nevertheless, in most instances, almost anything is possible and most everyone is correct.

                            Mightytoad, I would be really interested to hear more about those baked gorditas. I've lived in Mexico for 30 years and have not seen one--or maybe it was called something different. If you could post a photo, that would be terrific.

                            Have you ever been to any of the Gorditas Doña Julia places in Zacatecas? Those wheat flour gorditas are totally different from the corn masa gorditas in other parts of Mexico.

                            Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                          2. re: jnetusil

                            NEVER fried or have white flour? Please if you knew anything, you would know that Mexican food is regional and every region cooks differently. My grandmother was from Jalisco but lived in California,USA. She made her gorditas with flour tortilla masa stiffed with refired beans and topped with monterey jack cheese. She also made flour tortilla enchilladas with fried potato,onion & monetrey jack filling, oh my goodness they are both the best things on earth. we still make them that way! I have never had a corn masa gordita, but I would never say they are wrong to exist.

                          3. If you are ever in Guanajuato, there's some great gorditas in the tianguis in Embajadores on the weekends.

                            1. In my family, gorditas were never stuffed. The toppings got piled on top. My mom immigrated from Mexico so I would never doubt her authenticity. I would, however, consider the fact that she liked shortcuts.
                              I still make my gorditas with the toppings on top because it is so much easier. Plus, you get a better toppings to masa ratio.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: inexorablyfabulous

                                We had some very good stuffed gorditas yesterday at a stand run by Bety y Marta, at he Quiroga, Michoacán mercado. The unique (at least, I've never seen this before) trick was that after cooking the gorditas on the comal, they then lift the comal top and pop the gorditas into the hot charcoal fire for a moment or two.

                                Some of the fillings available were mole, habas (fava bean), frijol, pollo, papas con chorizo, queso (in two varieties: one was just queso fresco, the other passed through a thin red salsa before being stuffed into a gordita.); chicharrón—I have probably overlooked a couple of fillings.

                                Their salsa roja de molcajete was primal and delicious as well, made of nothing but charcoal roasted plum tomatoes, chiles manzanos and garlic, all roasted directly on the burning charcoal, then roughly ground into a very chunky sauce.

                                There was also a big bowl on the customer table filled with a mild vinegar and water pickle in which you could find cooked sliced carrots, strips of nopalitos, onions, chiles manzanos and several spices, including allspice, peppercorns and oregano.

                                I was in antojito heaven. I ate 4 gorditas and my wife, 2. Cost was $8 pesos each and $7 pesos for a Fresca from a neighboring stand.

                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                1. re: Anonimo

                                  Sr. Anónimo, this sounds and looks like absolute heaven. Wish I were there to indulge. Thanks for posting. Maybe next month...

                                  Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                                  1. re: cristina

                                    As you know, Cristina, Quiroga is only about 35 minutes from Morelia.

                                    1. re: Anonimo

                                      And I just might have time to take a drive over there one day next week. Ya veremos.

                                      Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                              2. I know this is an old post, but I'm hoping someone can help seeing as how many of you seem to be gordita experts! My wife is from Guasave, Sinaloa and we went on the Copper Canyon train ride in 1996. At the train stations and in the towns, street vendors were cooking on 55 gallon drums converted to grills. They cooked chile relleno and other things, but the most unique food and the one we liked the best was a kind of gordita with a redish-orange masa that was stuffed with different fillings including various meats, potatoes, nopales, etc. I seem to remember that they had a unique name, but I can't remember what it was. Everywhere I've googled, they call them gorditas or chalupas, but my memory tells me it was neither of those. Here's a link to a video that shows the color really well:

                                <http://travideos.com/top-videos/gordi...>

                                If anyone knows another name for these, I'd be very happy to know. BTW they also had the best apple empenadas I've ever had!