Place of origin
Region or state
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Memelas are fried or toasted cakes made of masa topped with different fresh ingredients eaten as antojitos or snacks in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico which has its origins in Prehispanic food. They are similar to fresh corn tortillas, but are somewhat fatter. Memelas are Oaxacan local name for the almost identical sopes and huaraches that are served in other parts of Mexico, just made with different toppings.
Memelas are best described as toasted Oaxacan little pizzas made of corn. The corn masa is flattened with a tortilla press then pinched to create indentations along its borders, then placed over a hot comal or griddle. When the tortilla like base is cooked and charred where the dough hits the hot metal of the grill, chewy as a medium-well steak, is then topped with black beans, salsa, shredded cabbage, mole negro, guacamole and cheese.
Although the traditional Memela is supposed to be topped with no other additional ingredients, today those toppings may vary from recipe to recipe. Modern incarnations include other vegetables and the option of a layer of tinga (shredded chicken with tomatoes, onions and chiles) or potatoes and sausage.
Memelas have been served at Oaxacan/Mexican restaurants in the United States since the 1990s.
In El Salvador, a memela is a thick and oval shaped tortilla.