Tortas Fritas: Argentinian and Uruguayan Fry Bread

Tortas fritas

Jerowiki / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0 

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
362 Calories
25g Fat
29g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 362
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 366mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 127mg 10%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 82mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The name tortas fritas translate to "fried cakes" or "fried pies." Though they resemble Native American fry bread, tortas fries are more like fried biscuits. Unlike fry bread, this dough is prepared with more fat (usually lard), like biscuit dough, but you can substitute vegetable shortening instead.

Tortas fritas are popular street food in Argentina and Uruguay, where it is traditional to enjoy them on a rainy afternoon with yerba mate tea. The origin of this snack can be traced to either Spain or Germany, as both cultures settled in these parts of South America and brought with them similar foods.

Sometimes referred to as tortillas fritas, these snacks are easy to fry up at home; they come together quickly and make a great treat for weekend mornings as well. In Argentina and Uruguay, tortas fritas are often served with dulce de leche or jam.

If you don't have or don't enjoy yerba mate, that's ok. You can serve these with coffee or milk.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons shortening or lard and mix into the flour with your fingers until well blended.

  2. Add milk gradually, stirring and then kneading gently as you go, until the mixture forms a soft, smooth dough (add more flour if mixture becomes too wet).

  3. Roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness, and use a round cutter to make 3 1/2-inch circles. (Or separate dough into about 10 pieces, shape each piece into a ball, and flatten each ball into a pancake about 1/4 inch thick). Poke a hole in the center of each with your finger, which prevents them from puffing up.

  4. Add enough vegetable oil (or melt enough shortening or lard) in a small skillet to have a depth of about an inch of fat. Heat until fat sizzles when the dough is added. Fry breads in batches until golden brown on both sides, turning them once.

  5. Drain fried tortas on paper towels and sprinkle with sugar while still hot.

  6. Serve warm.

Variations

You can substitute water for the milk, or use beef tallow instead of lard or shortening.

Customize the size to your liking; they can be as small as we've made them here, or up to 8 or 10 inches in diameter, if desired.

Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar instead of granulated sugar. Or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

How to Store Tortas Fritas

Like most fried foods, tortas fritas are best eaten warm, right after you have made them. You can store them for a day or so in an airtight container, but the texture will change.

Why do people in Uruguay eat tortas fritas on rainy days?

Tortas fritas were believed to be eaten by gauchos (cowboys) who had collected rainwater for the dough, believing that it made for a better tasting snack. But practically speaking, if you're out in the open on the plains working with livestock and it rains, cooking over an open flame like you would while camping is challenging. Tortas fritas cook quickly, and became a popular alternative.