Picadas (Pinched Masa Tartlets)

Recipe by mariposa13
READY IN: 45mins


  • 1
    teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1
    lb masa harina flour, fresh or reconstituted by mixing 2 cups masa harina with about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (masa harina is made by Quaker Oats and other companies)
  • 12
    cup lard or 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • For the toppings
  • 1
    cup any salsa or 1 cup green chili salsa
  • 1
    cup guacamole
  • 2
    cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 8
    ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1
    small white onion, finely chopped


  • For the picadas: With your hands, work the salt into the masa.
  • Shape it into 20 to 22 walnut-size balls.
  • Press them into rounds about 3 inches across and 1/8-inch thick.
  • Set them side by side (not stacked) on baking sheets as they are shaped, covering them with a damp cloth.
  • Lightly grease a griddle or large cast-iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact.
  • Have ready a basket lined with tea towels.
  • Now you must work quickly, because the masa will be supple enough to shape for only a few seconds after baking.
  • Place 2 of the prepared masa rounds on the hot griddle and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, until the edges shrink away slightly from the pan and lose their raw look.
  • Turn and cook the other side for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more.
  • Transfer to a plate or work surface and, while they're still hot, quickly pinch up the edges of each into a slightly raised rim.
  • Place them in the basket and cover snugly with the towels.
  • Continue with the remaining masa rounds, 2 at a time.
  • Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  • In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the lard or shortening over medium heat until hot but not quite rippling.
  • Using kitchen tongs, slide each picada into the hot fat and let it cook for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Before it starts to brown, lift out, letting it drain well, and set on the prepared baking sheet.
  • When all the picadas are done, layer them with guacamole, cooked chicken and salsa.
  • Scatter some of the grated cheese over the sauce, top with some chopped onion, if desired, and serve.