This is not a recipe for making your own tortillas. Instead, it’s instructions for how to find tortillas and treat them well. Seek out someone who makes tortillas as a matter of the heart; it will make your life rich beyond words. There’s something holding this place in many cultures on earth – paratha in India, rice in Japan, tortilla in Mexico. If they’re mediocre, your focus turns to what’s carried by them. But when a master makes tortillas, it’s undeniable who’s in charge. Mi Tierra is a great East Coast option and they ship once a week. If you’re in the middle of America, or need an alternative to corn, try Siete Foods.
My view is not that it’s impossible for anyone to make them with love. Nature allows for that. I am simply suggesting to learn by eating, and to honor the source.
Roasted Radish, Spinach & Yam Tortillas
avocado, thinly sliced
cilantro sprouts or chopped cilantro leaves
2 radishes, julienne
Bake the yams whole at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Toss the radishes and pearl onions in a generous pour of oil and a heavy pinch of salt. Lay them on a baking tray and put them in the oven below the yams. The tray will catch any drips of sap from the yams as they finish cooking. Keep everything in for another 20 minutes to give time for the onions to caramelize and the radishes to wilt.
Pull the yams out and tear off the skin, being mindful not to burn your fingers. Add the spinach and smash it together. This will gently cook the leaves. Pull the radishes and onions and add them to the same bowl. Smoosh everything together and season with salt to your liking.
You can fill your choice of tortillas and warm them in the same oven for ~10 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully transfer them to a platter and garnish generously. The avocado and herbs will lend freshness and the sauce brings spice.
This combination of vegetables makes a great filling because there’s balance and variety in taste and texture. The yams fill the space and hold the things in place as you eat. It’s also a little on the sweet / meaty side which gives a great palette for enjoying homemade hot sauce.
If you endeavor to make the hot sauce, please heed our warning to wear gloves at each stage. Also, don’t touch your face. Don’t have a taste. Don’t let your children or your beloved animal friends anywhere near this. It’s not at all funny.
Hot Sauce for Beginners
2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
1 pound habanero peppers, stemmed
1 head of garlic, peeled
2 T pink salt
1/2 C water
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
You can try this recipe with sweet peppers only, or mostly sweet with a very few for heat. It’s totally different, of course, but also delicious.
Our windowsill library is rooted by one book: The Secrets of Natural Health by Dr. Shyam Singha. He is the most hilarious, wise, effective healer by way of food as medicine. You really must meet him, and we can only hope he would enjoy the sensical stretch of tying his life’s work to this page. He is not a Mexican man, or a tortilla maker, but he is a proponent of joy, function, and freedom.
The grandma influence and caretaker / chef many of you know and love as inseparable from Mandarava is Elie. She recounts evening meal and satsang in Shyam’s house in the late 1990’s.
Dr. Shyam Singha was a Master Acupuncturist, Osteopath, Homeopath and Chef. He was the Founder and Chairman of the Natural Therapeutics Research Trust Ltd. of London England, a Registered Charity since 1969. As a practicing Holistic Physician of thirty-five years and director of four clinics in England, Dr. Singha was one of the most sought out healers of his time.
His students have included Dr. J.R. Worsley, the renowned English acupuncturist and educator, and Dr. James Gordon, the holistic physician and author from Washington, D.C. who serves on the faculty of the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Shyam Singha was born in Kashmir of Kashmiri and Russian blood on August 2nd 1920. His background was deeply religious. His mother was a great devotee of Sant Kirpal Singh (originator of Ruhani Satsang), himself a frequent visitor to the small Ashram she had built. By the age of twelve, Shyam had read the great Indian epics, including the Mahabharata and Ramayana and his passion for reading all the great teachings of the different disciplines continued throughout his life.
This background nurtured in Shyam Singha a deep and lasting search for inner truth and led him to sit with the great spiritual masters, Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Gurdjief, Guru Ram Das, Swami Vishnu Devanada, Krishnamurti and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, amongst others. Most gurus gave Dr. Singha the name of Bodhisattva (whose function is to lead others onto the path of spiritual enlightenment, postponing his own entrance to Nirvana).
After graduating from Patna University and gaining his BSc. in Aeronautical Engineering, Shyam Singha joined the Air Force. He came to England in 1953, where he worked as an aeronautical engineer. He then switched to accountancy and became chief accountant to a large international firm. He then turned to Naturopathy and Osteopathy, studying at the British College. He then went to Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan and studied with the great guru of acupuncture, Dr Wn Wei Ping.
Thereafter he opened the first British School of Acupuncture for the British Acupuncture Association.
He was a painter, a philosopher, a poet, a chef extraordinaire. And he drew on all these gifts in his capacity as a physician. He died on April 30th 2000.