Tortillas made from nixtamalized maize meal—masa de maíz— are the oldest variety of tortilla. They originated in Mexico and Central America, and remain popular throughout the Americas. Peoples of the Oaxaca region in Mexico first made tortillas at the end of the Villa Stage (1500 to 500 BC). Towards the end of the 19th century, the first mechanical utensils for making tortillas, called tortilla presses, tortilleras, or tortilladoras, were invented and manufactured in Mexico.
Europeans introduced wheat and its cultivation to the American continent, and it remains the source for wheat flour tortillas. Wheat flour tortillas were originated in the northern region of Mexico.
Wheat tortillas usually contain fats such as oil or lard, salt, often leavening agents such as baking powder, and other ingredients. Otherwise, the preparation and cooking of flour tortillas on a comal is identical to that of corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are commonly used in dishes like burritos, tacos, and fajitas. It is part of the daily food repertoire throughout Mexico, whose gastronomy and culture has influenced those of many Central American countries and some states in the U.S.
A nopaltilla is a cactus-corn tortilla. The word is a portmanteau of nopal, Spanish for the Opuntia ficus-indica cactus, and tortilla.
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