A Oaxacan wonder, these Mexican Tlayudas are a delicious response to Pizza! Crunchy, soft, meaty and jam-packed with flavour. It’s high time you experienced Tlayudas!

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The biggest and most amazing surprise of visiting Mexico's Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-ca), besides it's sheer beauty, is the food. I can't stress enough, just how amazing it is!

One of the country's hot-spots for food lovers, Oaxaca has a vast array of delicious and unique dishes to sample. Street food is in abundance - I sampled LOTS! like the amazing street corn, Esquites, and being the home of 'mole' I tasted varieties that would bamboozle any taste bud!  So many food firsts and tasty treasures! One such first was a dish I'd not experienced before - the Tlayuda. A thin, crisp corn tortilla topped with all manner of Mexican flavours. It was a complete revelation.

Tlayuda - Mexico's response to pizza.

To the western tongue, tlayuda is closest to being pronounced 'cla-you-da'. The premise of Tlayuda is to offer a crisp corn tortilla, topped with whatever you like! Much like a tostada, but uniquely Oaxacan. This Tlayuda recipe follows a traditional recipe and features:

  1. A base of the famous Oaxacan refried black beans (BONUS, you get the recipe for these too!)
  2. A few slices of carne asada
  3. A generous handful of freshness in the form of lettuce, cabbage, radish, cilantro and tomato.
  4. A scattering of the much loved Oaxacan cheese (kind of like mozzarella)
  5. A final spritz of lime to liven up the whole affair.

It's a taste and texture sensation, a wonderful crunch of tortilla and vegetables with the smooth beans and spiced meat. Who needs pizza!?  So let's get started. Making Tlayudas is not difficult - it's more of an arrangement of food, but there's some prep work to be done! And it starts by marinating the beef.

Step 1: Marinating

I use a thin flank steak - Mexican's love their meat butchered into thin slices, so that they cook quickly on the parilla/grill. You can, of course, cook your favourite cut of steak and just slice it later, but flank or flat iron is a great option. The best flavour comes from a long marination (24 hours) but 4 hours will do if you're in a hurry. The flavours of cumin, orange juice (traditional for tenderising meat), cilantro and a host of other ingredients bring this meat out of marination kicking and screaming with personality.

Step 2: Making the refried beans

Refried beans are a delicious essential to the Tlayuda. I use canned beans (frijole negro) for convenience, but you can use dried and cook them if you like. The beans are flavoured with a couple of interesting ingredients. Arból chillies, are a common Mexican chilli, a fairly fiery dried variety that will add depth and a light spice to the beans