Gorditas roughly translates into “little fatties”, which is a reference to their appearance — fat, stuffed corn tortillas — and possibly your appearance as well if you eat too many. A play on my “Healthy vs Hell-with-it” theme, these are basically Tuesday’s very healthy, low-fat and wholesome corn tortilla recipe turned into fried corn dough balls stuffed with fatty carnitas (or really anything you can think of) along with cheese, onion, cilantro, lettuce, and salsa. If you look around, you’ll find literally tens of different ways people make gorditas.
Sometimes they are just a thick, grilled corn tortillas with the “filling” piled on top; sometimes they are stuffed before cooking (more similar to the way pupusas are made); sometimes they are small and round like a fist; other times they are flat and disc-shaped. What I see in Austin most often is this type: a thick tortilla, grilled, then deep fried, split open like a pita bread and stuffed with any meats or non-meats on the menu: chicharrones, barbacoa, puerco al pastor, carnitas, aguacate, frijoles refritos, nopalitos … the possibilities are literally endless. Anything you can put into a taco, you can also cram into a gordita and it’s divine. Crispy fried exterior, creamy and smooth corny interior. Top them with the usual suspects like Cotija cheese (salty, crumbly, similar to Parmesan) or sour cream and fresh onions, cilantro, lettuce, tomato. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to Little Fatty Heaven.
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And then you’ll wake up there for real after having 10 gorditas and a heart attack.