Sadly London is devoid of decent vegan Mexican food (save Mestizo and its vegan menu) and as it's one of my favourite cuisines I frequently turn my kitchen into a masa dough snack production facility. Tacos, tamales, and quesadillas abound!
Quesadillas fritas aren't wholly dissimilar to what comes to mind when most people think of quesadillas, only with this variation the filling is bundled in masa dough and deep fried until crispy and brown. Put whatever you want in the centre (within reason - no crayons), but this straightforward vegan cheese filling is a good place to start.
Eat them on their own as a snack or serve alongside some red rice, refried beans, and/or salad (tip: garlic + salt + oregano + lime + agave + olive oil for the salad dressing).
Vegan Quesadillas Fritas
- Pour the hot water over the masa and, using your hands, squeeze and mash into a uniform dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for about fifteen minutes before adding the vegetable shortening, salt, flour, and baking powder. Crumble the shortening with the flour and knead evenly into the masa dough. Divide into four even parts and roll each into a ball. Cover with cling film.
- In a separate bowl, mix the vegan cheese, onion, beans, and lime juice together. Divide into four and form into three or four inch long blobs.
- If using a tortilla press, line it with cling film on both top and bottom and coat lightly with vegetable oil. Press one of the masa balls to between five and six inches in diameter and place one of the cheese blobs in the centre.
- Carefully get your hand under the cling film the dough is sitting on, and delicately fold the masa dough over the filling and pinch to close (if the dough is too dry and is cracking, try adding a little bit of extra water). Ensure the parcel is completely closed and set aside while you form the remaining three quesadillas in the same way.
- Alternatively roll the dough out between lightly greased cling film and follow the same steps.
- Heat vegetable oil to 190 degrees celsius (375 F) and fry the quesadillas two at a time for about two minutes on each side, or until nicely browned and crispy. Drain on kitchen roll and serve straight away.