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The Art of Mexican Cooking (1965) – Gorditas

July 13, 2012
Cover of The Art of Mexican Cooking by Jan Aaron and Georgine S. Salom

Cover of The Art of Mexican Cooking by Jan Aaron and Georgine S. Salom

Aaron, Jan, and Georgine S. Salom. The Art of Mexican Cooking. “Gorditas.” Garden City New York: Doubleday, 1965. 173-175. [TX716.M4 A2 1965]

By Blanca Estella Martinez, an undergraduate nutrition student at UTSA 

I found the recipe for Gorditas on page 173 in The Art of Mexican Cooking by Jan Aaron and Georgine Sachs Salom, which was published in 1965. Though I have only eaten gorditas a couple a times, I loved them and was pretty excited to make them on my own.


  • 1/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups masa or  nixtamalina (Mexican cornmeal flour, available at specialty food stores)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening


  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 ounce white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • (according to taste), or 1 small hot chili pepper, minced


  • 1/2 pound ground beef or chorizo
  • 3/4 cup cooked potatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 very small onion,  minced (omit if you use chorizo)
  • 3/4 cup grated mild cheese (we like swiss)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Shortening for deep frying

Sift the flour with the salt and mix with the Mexican corn meal. Cut in the shortening and keep mixing well until you get a smooth dough. (Add a little more flour if dough appears too soft; it should be fairly firm.)  Flour the palms of the hands lightly and roll the dough into 12-15 balls about the size of a small egg. Press the balls into flat cakes. Cook on both sides, on an un-greased cookie sheet for just a few minutes or until they begin to brown. Protect the hands with a sheet of plastic, which has been doubled, and pinch the gorditas while hot to form little tart shells. Let cool.

To make the sauce:

Combine all sauce ingredients and simmer for about 1/2 hour, or until slightly thickened. Let cool.

To make filling:

Brown the beef and potatoes in oil and add a small amount of the onion, the grated cheese, almonds, and salt to taste. Saute the little shells in deep fat (365*F) for a few minutes; drain on absorbent paper. Fill each shell with meat and top with cheese. Pour some of the sauce over the meat. 

In the Kitchen:

masaFirst, I had to make the dough. I grabbed a bowl and added the ¼ cup of sifted flour and mixed it with 1 teaspoon of salt and 3 ½ cups of masa sifting it together with a fork. Next, I mixed in 2 ½ tablespoons vegetable shortening, but then it still looked like flour so I figured something had to be wrong. After calling up my mom, I saw that on the back of the masa bag it said to add 2 ½ cups of boiling water as well as ¼ teaspoon of salt. Afterwards, I set it aside till I was ready to cook the gorditas.

sauceMeanwhile, I prepared the sauce. It was pretty easy to combine all the ingredients including 1 cup of tomato sauce, 1 minced onion, 1 minced clove garlic, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 ounce white wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder, and just a pinch of salt. It simmered for ½ an hour until it was slightly thickened and then I had to let it cool down.

fillingThe filling was next so I browned the beef in one pan and the potatoes in another. After the meat was browned I added a small amount of the onion, the grated cheese, and almonds. To keep everything warm, I put the heat on low while I started making my Gorditas!

First, I made the balls and then flattened them in between plastic paper. Then, I put 2 at a time on the pan I was heating up. I cut them in half and stuffed the meat inside of them.

The directions say to put the sauce on top but I’m not a big tomato sauce fan, so I had it on the side instead. Altogether, the recipe made 13 Gorditas. They were so delicious! I was really surprised at how great they turned out. Overall, I would say it was a huge success even though I messed up just a bit in the beginning. finishedAlthough it did take lots of time (I started at 4pm and didn’t finish till 6), they are worth it! The Art of Mexican Cooking says that, “Gorditas are specialties in some places on special feast days” and I want to say that they will be in mine too.  Hopefully I will perfect the process more each time!

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