Sana Foods' Recipe For Coconut Flour Tortillas
This is where it all began….the defining recipe which was responsible for the birth of Sana Foods…and underlines our philosophy for grain, gluten, and dairy free recipes for digestive health.
I was, and still am, obsessed with coconuts and had been making coconut based recipes in the UK for years, even before I moved to Tulum, Mexico. My recipes focused mainly around milks although, as I was trying to avoid gluten, I started testing out baking with coconut flour.
After we moved to Mexico, I realised that if I wanted to eat tacos or guacamole, my only options were corn or flour tortillas, or triple-fried corn tostadas, none of which agreed with my tummy. We visited some local Mayan villages and were fortunate enough to sample, and help the grandmothers to make, tortillas made from corn grown in their own ‘milpas’, these were some of the best tortillas I have ever tasted, but the harvest is only once a year. I also tried making fresh, handmade tortillas from local masa (corn dough) which tasted great, but I was still not comfortable with the inclusion of corn in my diet on a regular basis.
That’s when the idea came…coconut flour tortillas! I tried a few recipes that I found online, which included eggs, but felt the flavor was very ‘eggy’ and not like the lovely masa texture that I had experience in the villages.
At the time, I was using coconut flour I had made from the grounds of coconut meat leftover from making coconut milk. It was very hard to grind the flour to a fine consistency and I soon realised that for baking and tortilla purposes, this wasn’t going to work. After several failed tests with various brands of store bought coconut flour, I found Bob’s Red Mill flour, which had both a soft, powder-like consistency, as well as a lovely nutty flavor, and after many variations in my recipe, I managed to get it to work!
I continued to perfect my recipe and technique, and tested this out on friends. They were fascinated and suggested that I host a Coconut Dinner Party! I served my tortillas, with another creation, coconut cheese, to make Coconut Quesadillas, coconut tostadas with guacamole, coconut flour pizza, and coconut flour chocolate cake. The dinner was so popular that I had requests to do it again regularly!
Sanara Tulum, and the birth of Sana Foods…
Soon after the ‘eureka’ discovery that I could satisfy my love of Mexican food by making my own tortillas and tostadas, we began our journey on the creation and build of our hotel, Sanara Tulum. This was a massive undertaking for us and kept us focused on design, build, sourcing, as well as all aspects of setting up the operations of the hotel.
The time finally came for us to build out our restaurant space, which had been left as the last piece of the build, and our architectural and building team came to us to ask to meet with our chef, and to review our menus, knowing that they would need to understand the style of restaurant to be able to plan the kitchen.
Honestly, we didn’t have a chef, and had been so busy that we hadn’t even given it thought! So after scratching our heads in vain for a while, I piped up and said "I have an idea. Give me a couple of weeks and I will come up with a menu. I started by putting down everything that I would want to eat, and included many of the recipes that I had already worked on."
After careful thought, I became very clear that I wanted the restaurant to be completely gluten and dairy free, mainly to prove a point that it could be done, even in Mexico. I wanted lots of vegan options, but to also include options for animal protein, and the core focus was on ease of digestion and supporting digestive health. It ended up what I would describe as vegan/paleo crossover. I decided to include the coconut flour tortillas, and coconut cheese, and concluded that if people didn’t like them, we could just revert back to corn!
Once the menus were complete, we posted them on the Sanara Tulum website (even before we had opened). And then the strangest thing happened…we started getting bookings from people who had seen the menus online and wanted to make reservations with us based on our food! That was our first taste of the interest in the food, and the concept, and it’s been blowing us away ever since we opened in February 2015. It turns out that I had nothing to worry about by including my seemingly off-beat recipes, and our Sana Foods ‘groupies’ who arrive at Sanara Tulum, and those that just visit the restaurant, ask us almost on a daily basis when we are coming to their city, and when our products will be available!
So this rollercoaster story, that all started with some fun experimentation in my kitchen, has now grown to a global brand, with further restaurants, and a wide range of products that we are producing in Los Angeles for distribution in the US, which are about to be released!
Look out for Sana Foods’s Coconut Flour Tortillas, and Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips, landing in Whole Foods stores within the Southern Pacific region, in January 2017, and then further afield soon after. We also take online orders for those who can’t wait!
But in the meantime, if you just have to make yourself some tortillas, I am proud to be able to share the recipe with you. Once you get the hang of it, they are super simple and fast to make.
Note: The inclusion of a very small percentage of xanthan gum is vital to this recipe, to hold the tortillas together in the absence of gluten. We have done much research on xanthan and feel good about the inclusion within the recipe. If you have serious gut or digestive issues, or are following a GAPS or AIP diet, it is possible that xanthan may not be suitable for you until you have healed the underlying problems. In this case, we would suggest that you try an egg-based tortilla, or plantain tortillas, which we will share very soon.
So this is it…
How to make Coconut Flour Tortillas
You will need:
- 80g Fine Coconut Flour
- 120g Tapioca
- 4g Xanthan Gum
- 4g Salt
- Whisk all the dry ingredients together to ensure that the flours, salt and xanthan are well distributed.
2. Slowly add water, mixing in until a dough forms. At this point you can get your hands in to knead the dough. The dough should be soft and malleable. (NB. Coconut flour absorbs water rapidly so it’s worth adding a touch more water to create a softer dough, and letting it sit for around 10 mins).
3. Form dough balls of around 20-25g per ball
4. At this point you will need a tortilla press or a rolling pin., and roughly 8” squares of parchment or plastic.
Tortilla Press: Place a piece of plastic on each side of the tortilla press and place a ball onto the center of the base. Press down firmly to form the tortilla. Don’t press too hard otherwise it will be difficult to separate the tortilla from the plastic without tearing. At this point you can either place your tortilla straight onto a griddle pan or create a pile within layers of parchment.
Rolling Pin: Using parchment or plastic on either side of the ball, roll the dough ball out into a circle. You may not get a perfect circular tortilla, and will probably be slightly thicker than a tortilla from the press.
5. To cook the tortillas, place on a dry griddle pan, over a medium heat, turning after a couple of minutes. Once cooked to your preference, place in a clean dish cloth, wrapped up in a bundle to keep warm and soft.
These tortillas freeze really well, and will also keep in the fridge for up to a week. With the tortilla press, the size is perfect for tacos and small quesadillas.
Step By Step Images