Monday, August 1, 2011

Black Bean Fritters with Three Sauces (oh and a pickled radish or two)

Parties are a lot of work...but a lot of fun too. Food for a party should be easy for everyone - the host and the guests. It's also nice when after a party you feel satisfied by all the lovely little morsels without feeling over full or that the food was too heavy. This is especially true now that it's summertime. These black bean fritters are quite versatile, substantial and can be made ahead of time.




1 Cup black beans (Don't rinse the beans if you are using canned. If fresh beans don't drain off the liquid)
1/4-1/2 Cup of a red onion chopped fine, depending on how much you like
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh cilantro chopped
1/2 TBSP cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP chickpea flour
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP olive oil for frying (You could probably use coconut oil or even spread mixture onto a baking sheet, bake, cool, and then slice up into cakes)



- In a pan sautee the onions in olive oil until softened. Should take about 5 minutes if stove is set to medium flame/setting.
- Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Keep an eye on the garlic to make sure it doesn't burn.
- In a bowl mix the beans, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper and cooked onions and garlic. Mash, food process, or puree 1/2 the mixture and mix it back in with the rest
- Add chickpea flour & mix
- Add remaining oil to pan. Drop in 'batter' by 1 or 2 tbsp depending on
what size you want your fritters. Fry for 4 minutes on each side. Don't flip
until you see the edges brown. The crust that will form will hold the cakes together.
- Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Allow them to cool as they will firm up even more.

Serve with any of the three sauces below or simply a pickled radish (we used a very basic recipe from a canning and pickling book titled, "Put 'Em Up!") and a bit more cilantro (or not).

Makes 8-10 appetizer cakes



Fresh and light with a kick of garlic. Pretty traditional, but pretty awesome!


1 package of silken tofu
1 cucumber
juice of 1/2 lemon (approx. 2 TBSP)
4 small garlic cloves
1 tsp dill
1 tsp sea salt

- Place tofu into high speed blender or food processor.
- Peel and seed cucumber. Rough chop 1/2 the cucumber and put into blender. Set aside other 1/2.
- Juice lemon into blender (don't forget to strain the pits with a sieve or your hand)
- Add garlic and salt to blender
- Blend until smooth consistency
- Chop dill. (Can use more dill if you like, but avoid putting dill in the blender as it can turn your entire sauce a pale shade of green).
- Cube remaining 1/2 of cucumber
- Stir both dill and cucumber into blended mixture.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if it is needed.

Makes about 1 pint



Mellow and creamy, but with just a bit of heat and curry flavor thanks to the Garam Masala! The black bean fritters with chickpea flour stand up nicely to this thicker sauce.

Curried Cashew Dip on the left and Tzitziki Sauce on the right.

3/4 Cup cashews, soaked 1-3 hours
1/2 Cup filtered water
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt (add more to taste)
1 tsp garam masala curry (add more to taste)

- Drain the cashews.
- Blend all ingredients except Garam Masala curry in food processor or high speed blender. Check the consistency. You can add more water a little at a time for a thinner consistency.
- Add garam masala curry spices.
- Taste and add seasoning depending on what you like.

Did you know you can make your own Garam Masala? In India Garam Masala is a very personal thing - families tend to have a recipe that gets handed down from generation to generation. Experiment with what you like and check out this link to learn more about variations. The blend above was based on these basic ingredients: ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric.

Makes about 1 pint




1 medium/large ripe mango cubed (approx. 2 Cups)
2 small tomatoes seeded and chopped (approx. 1 Cup)
1 shallot chopped finely (approx. 1/4 Cup)
1 clove of garlic minced (a nice fat one should yeild about 1 TBSP)
1/2 jalapeno seeded and minced (approx. 1 TBSP)
1 1/2 medium/large limes juiced (approx. 3 TBSP)
1/2 tsp of sea salt
few cranks of pepper mill
1 tsp of olive oil
1/4 tsp of fresh tarragon roughly chopped


Throw everything in a bowl as you work through the ingredient list. Stir and let sit for about 5 or 10 minutes. Give a taste and adjust to your taste.

Makes about 1 pint


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