Introducing Alexa Soto, Masienda's first Chef en Residencia. We have long admired Alexa's creative, plant-based takes on her native Mexican cuisine (think: crispy oyster mushroom tacos, jackfruit cochinita pibil, and more) so we were honored to have her join us in our studio to shoot a series of recipe videos to share with you. To be honest, we didn't fully know what to expect: not all of us eat a vegan diet, and who ever knows whether food that looks beautiful on Instagram actually tastes good?
Well. Every single dish Alexa cooked for our team had us coming back for seconds (and thirds, and filling up tupperwares to take home to our families). We'd ordered set lunch, but hardly touched it.
This dish, inspired by one Alexa tried at Los Loosers (a favorite vegan spot in Mexico City) just may be our favorite take on tetelas in recent memory. Earthy blue masa wrapped in herbaceous hoja santa leaves, filled with a silky smooth, cream-cheese-like almond crema ... the flavors are so complex, you won't believe how easily it comes together. If you can find fresh hoja santa at your local Mexican market, it adds incredible depth of flavor to this dish, but if not, proceed without them.
Cover almonds with boiling water and let soak for 15 minutes. Once they have soaked for 15 minutes remove the skin from each almond.
Sauté onion and whole garlic cloves in a skillet with oil until lightly browned.
Place almonds in the blender with lemon juice, salt, sautéed onion, garlic cloves, water and blend on high for 1 minute. If you need a bit more liquid add 1-2 tbsp more of filtered water. Should be super smooth!
Mix the Masa
In a bowl, combine the masa harina and a pinch of salt. Add in warm water a little at a time (start with a cup, then add a half cup, then the final half cup), mixing with your hands.
Once all the water is in, knead by hand for 7-10 minutes. If the mixture sticks to your hands, add a little more masa harina.
Cover the masa with a damp paper towel and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Shape the Tetelas
Using a tortilla press with two plastic liner sheets, place a leaf of hoja santa atop the bottom liner. Take a golf ball sized portion of masa and press on top of the leaf to form a tortilla, about ¼” thick.
Remove the top plastic liner and add a dollop of almond crema to the center of the tortilla.
Using the bottom plastic liner, fold the tortilla from the upper left diagonally towards the center, then the upper right towards the center, and finally from the bottom up towards the center to create a sealed triangle.
Lightly drizzle oil onto a pan set over medium-heat and cook the tetela for about 2 minutes on each side.