Restaurant Tortilla chips

We are sadly short of real Mexican restaurants up here in Alberta, and whenever I am in California, for instance, I really enjoy the Mexican and So Cal food. The Tortilla chips that get served to you when you sit down in those restaurants are hot and quite different than what you usually get up here. Are those chips often prepared right there in the restaurant?

I like the standard ‘Canadian’ style chips usually available here, but I would like to be able to get something more authentic sometimes. Anyone know where I could get them here? I would try some homemade ones but I am not big on the hassle of deep frying at home.

The really thin white corn tortilla chips, I see in Mexican places are usually made in house. So without getting out your Fry-Daddy, you may be out of luck.

Moving to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

You can get a similar quality quite easily.

  1. Buy a pack of corn tortillas. Not flour and not hybrid corn & flour.
  2. Cut into chip shapes (usually 8 to a tortilla)
  3. Fry in medium-hot oil in a shallow pan.
  4. Salt & drain on a paper towel.

Incidentally, frying your own taco shells makes a world of difference, too. They drink up a lot of oil, so use less than you think you need.

Yup, frying your own is the best way to get fresh tortilla chips. But they don’t need to be deep fried–use a skillet. Lard is traditional but vegetable oil is widely used, even in Texas. Be sure it’s hot enough, to prevent sogginess!

Of course, that’s assuming you’ve got good tortillas to start with…

Yeah, tortillas are so flat that you don’t exactly have to hassle with “deep frying” as the OP means it. Dr. Drake has nailed the steps. Not sure what Canadian-style tortilla chips are, though…

Thanks for the answers, I will try making some, it doesn’t sound so bad.

By ‘Canadian’ style I just mean the packaged chips we get here, which I do not know are any different than what you get in the States. I just know they are quite different in texture than what you get at a Mexican restaurant and was assuming they are not particularly true to the original form.

I used to make the chips in a Mexican restaurant. (Chi-Chis)

We cut the tortillias into six.

Cut on the center. Then take half and cut from the center two diagonals to make the thirds. Fry and salt them.
Don’t put sugar on them by mistake. The managers don’t like that.

I think that I know what FluffyBob means by Canadian style tortilla chips- they have a more “floury” texture, and are thicker and seem less “cooked”. (I know that they don’t normally contain flour, but that’s the best way I can describe it)
I’ve found a brand of chips in a bag that approximates the restaurant style (runs to kitchen to check…)
Que Pasa brand, and they are available in white & blue corn, unsalted & salted. I found mine at Co-op in Calgary. They’re usually in the “hippie” department - organic, natural foods, that sort of thing.

They’re thin, really crispy, and very tasty.

Just to contribute to what is already excellent advice, I always find that the best in-house chips are made from SUPER DUPER THIN tortillas. Like, paper thin if you can get them.

I don’t know if you guys have Qdoba in Canada, but they are an excellent source of fresh hot take-out tortilla chips.

Somebody made a Facebook fan page of El Ranchero Tortilla Chips. They’re made in Chicago. The page has information in the comments sections about what numbers to call to arrange UPS shipment to anywhere in the continental US. They can be found in pretty much every grocery store in Chicago, including Whole Foods, and often for just about $1.50 a bag. You’ll probably pay a bit more for shipping, but might be worth a call. They’re really awesome chips, they’re served in many Mexican restaurants here, too, and heat up well if you want them warm at home. They’re the only tortilla chips I buy.

Duh. ETA Linky to FB page: