Molino Tortilleria: Making Tortillas Like a Millennium Ago

From making tortillas from scratch in their home kitchen using imported non-GMO heritage corn varieties from a milpa or small cultivated farm in Oaxaca, Mexico to the recent opening of their just recently opened 2,500 square-foot retail and production space in Sawyer, Molino Tortilleria has seen a whirlwind year or so. I met owners Aaron and Christie Harris and Christie’s teenaged son, Ethan Estes, when they were selling their tortillas at the St. Joseph Farmer’s Market where if you didn’t get there early, you might miss out. They hand make each tortilla, a lengthy process.  The first step is that the corn arrives dried, sorted by variety–Blue Bolita Corn producing a blue hued tortilla, the red corn knowns as Bolita Belatove and yellow corn tortillas using Ollotillo Armarillo corn.

Then harking back millennials, the family processes the corn by cooking the kernels, soaking them overnight in cal or powdered lime minerals. After that, the kernels are ground (by hand) using volcanic rocks and then mixed with water to create the tortillas. Christie Harris also makes Mexican style sweets (pan dulce) that were favorites at the farmer’s market.

         “We’re excited,” says Aaron, who offered thanks to those who had visited them at the St. Joseph Farmers Market and also on Friday nights in Benton Harbor when food trucks would gather during warm weather to sell street food.

Molino Tortilleria is located at 5846 Sawyer Road in Sawyer MI. You can peruse their offerings online at

For those buying tortillas, they’re great just simply heated up (I do mine in a very hot cast iron skillet, flipping them after a minute or so on one side) here are a few fun recipes to try.

Spicy Chipotle Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Wedges, Cilantro & Lime Yogurt

Serves: 4

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

1 3/4 pounds chicken wings, separated into wingettes and drumettes

1 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch [2½cm] wedges

2 teaspoons chile powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

Zest and juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges, to serve

4 to 5 tablespoons Greek yogurt

A handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more to serve

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken wings and sweet potato wedges in a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.

Mix together the chile powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, olive oil, 2 teaspoons sea salt, and half of the lime zest and juice. Pour the mixture over the chicken and sweet potatoes and mix well with your hands to coat evenly. Transfer to the oven and roast for 40 minutes.

Turn the heat up to 400°F and roast for a further 20 minutes, to crisp the chicken skin.

Meanwhile, mix together the yogurt, chopped cilantro, remaining lime zest and juice, and a pinch of sea salt. Set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken wings and sweet potatoes with cilantro leaves and serve with lime wedges and the yogurt dip alongside.

The above recipe is reprinted from Dinner’s in the Oven by Rukmini Iyer with permission by Chronicle Books.

Mexican Chicken and Corn Street Tacos

4 servings

For the Kale Slaw:

Chipotle-lime Dressing

1 cup sliced kale

To make the dressing:

Solid coconut cream from 13.5 ounce can of full-fat coconut milk

1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 2 limes

1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

3 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, blender, or smaller bullet-sized smoothie blender. Blend until smooth.

Note: if the sauce is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water or lime juice at a time until you have a consistency you like. Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for later.

Store in a sealed container for up to 7 days.

In a small bowl, toss the kale with the chipotle-lime dressing (recipe below) until it is fully coated. Set aside.

Make the chicken filling:

2 tablespoons salted butter

3 cups cubed baked chicken breast

2 cups cooked fresh corn kernels or frozen corn kernels

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the chicken and corn and cook for 2 minutes to warm through.

Add the lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and salt and toss to coat the chicken and corn. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the chicken is slightly browned.

To assemble the tacos:

8 regular-size corn tortillas

1 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (omit for dairy-free)

4 lime wedges, for serving

Place a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, put one tortilla in the pan at a time and warm for about 30 seconds per side, until the tortilla is pliable and begins to brown slightly. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. To keep the tortillas warm while you are heating the remaining ones, you can wrap them in a kitchen towel. 5. To assemble the tacos, add the chicken and kale slaw to a warmed tortilla and garnish with Cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges.

The above recipe is courtesy of Cook Once, Eat All Week: 26 Weeks of Gluten-Free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time & Sanity by Cassy Joy Garcia (Victory Belt Publishing.)

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