A new restaurant in Downtown Portland celebrates artisanal Mexican cuisine. At Casa Tolteca, you’ll find food full of flavor, history and love. Chef-owner Alex Fernandez told Molly Riehl she wants everyone who walks in the doors to feel like home, so Molly invited Chef Alex into her own home to share a taste of the new spot.

To learn more about Casa Tolteca: https://casatoltecapdx.com/



Ingredients and tools: 

For the tortillas: 

1/2 pound of corn masa, or corn tortillas cut into 3 in diameter circles

Tortilla press

For the mushroom topping:

1 pound of sliced mushrooms 

1 garlic clove 

1 teaspoon of finely chopped onion 

1 tablespoon of chopped epazote 

1/2  jalapeno pepper without seeds

1 tablespoon of oil 

Salt to taste

For the salsas: 

-Red salsa

2 red tomatoes

2 guajillo peppers or 1 jalapeno pepper without seeds

3 green onions or 1/6 white onion

1 tablespoon of oil

Salt to taste 

-Green salsa

2 green tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper without seeds

3 green onions or 1/6 white onion

1 tablespoon of oil

Salt to taste 


1. Prepare the tortillas

If using corn masa, make sure that the masa is at room temperature.

  1. Knead the dough as if you were kneading bread dough. The dough will be a little gritty at first, but should become more pliable as you kneed it.
  2. Pinch off a piece of the masa dough and rub it between your hands to shape it into a 5-7 gram ball.
  3. Prepare the tortilla press with two sheets of plastic: Cut two pieces of plastic from a plastic freezer bag into the shape of the surface of the tortilla press.
  4. Open the tortilla press and lay one piece of plastic on the press. Place the masa ball in the center and place another piece of plastic over the masa ball.
  5. Gently close the press and press down, until the dough has spread to a diameter of 2-3 inches.
  6. Cooking the tortillas: Heat a griddle or a large skillet on high heat. A well-seasoned cast iron griddle or large cast iron pan works well for this.
  7. Remove the raw tortilla from the plastic: Working one at a time, hold a tortilla in your hand, carefully removing the plastic on each side.
  8. Lay the tortilla down on the hot pan. Then start working on pressing the next tortilla.
  9. Cook the tortilla on one side, then flip: Cook the tortilla on the hot pan for 30 seconds to a minute on each side.

For the mushroom topping:

  1. In a saucepan heat a little oil and cook the onion and garlic until it becomes transparent.
  2. Add the mushrooms and salt and cook covered, until they are reduced in size. 
  3. Add the epazote and jalapeno and cook uncovered until the water in the pan is consumed.

For the green and red salsa: 

  1. Prepare the green and red salsa in separate pots. 
  2. Boil together the tomatoes, onions, peppers covered in water until the tomatoes are soft and cooked. 
  3. Transfer the boiled ingredients to a blender and add a pinch of salt and 1/4 cup of the water where the ingredients were cooked.
  4. Blend until smooth. 
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a pan and transfer the salsa and cook at medium-high heat until salsa starts boiling.
  6. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 with the other salsa. 

To serve: 


  1. Heat a skillet on high heat.  
  2. Spread oil over the cooked tortillas using a brush. 
  3. Lay the tortilla down on the hot pan, and gently fry the tortilla on one side, then flip.
  4. Transfer the Chalupas to a plate and add either warm green or red salsa. Top with warmed mushrooms and queso fresco.

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