In the fertile lands of Mexico many wonderful crops are grown such as avocados, mangoes, papaya, pumpkins and tomatoes. However there are three things that can never be missed: corn, chilli and beans. Three of the food staples since ancient times in Mexico are corn tortillas, chilli and beans, which we usually eat together like the holy trinity of tacos.
Mexican food has been included in the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the Unesco, a privilege that has only been granted to the Japanese and the French cuisine, and to the Mediterranean diet. Despite the growth of fast food chains throughout the country, Mexicans are still eating what hundreds of years ago the Aztecs used to eat. A civilization that was known for being strong, healthy, proud and ready to go to war.
As the 2016 International Year of Pulses gets closer, I would like to talk about one of the dishes that has been with me since my childhood and that in fact, has accompanied me no matter where I go in the world: Mexican fried beans. They are easy to make, can go with many other dishes and are delicious. Fried beans for Mexicans are like brothers and sisters to morning eggs, add some green salsa, coffee, orange juice and tortillas…and you have the breakfast of a champion in Mexico! Fried beans are also the base for many Mexican antojitos, a type of food that literally translates to “little cravings”.
If you want to venture yourself in the art of Mexican fried beans don’t be scared, get some black beans, a small onion, salt and chicken or vegetable broth. If you are using canned beans you can use the water inside, but be easy on the salt side. Chop finely half of an onion and sauté until light brown, add the beans and start squashing with a potato masher or a fork, add liquid (from the can or broth) to make them creamy but not runny. Add salt to taste. If you want to impress your guests add some chopped chipotle, small pieces of melting cheese or chopped chorizo. Feel free to experiment in the chilli department, you can use dried chilli flakes or chopped green chilli.