I got the opportunity to be in the Foodie Fights challenge again and this time the ingredients chosen were black beans and coconut. Normally I like these ingredients but putting them together using an original recipe was hard! My first instinct was to make a Thai soup, but I figured if that was my first instinct it was probably some of the other contestant’s first instinct too. Time to dig deeper. . .
I’ll be honest, I came up with a few ideas I thought were brilliant but when I executed these recipes I couldn’t eat much of it. I’m not about to put a recipe out there just because I think it looks nice so I took a step back, thought about what kinds of food I really like that include black beans as an ingredient and went from there. It also helped me to go out and get the ingredients and play around with them first to see what their capabilities were.
I took a hammer and a flat head screwdriver to the coconut to get it open . . .
I was pretty excited about opening it but I remembered when I was a kid and I first cracked open a coconut. For some reason I thought it would taste like an Almond Joy candy bar and that is most definitely NOT what it tastes like. In fact, my coconut was rather bitter.
Black beans can be soaked overnight then drained and cooked. Or, you can buy a can. Personally, I’m a fan of convenience when I’m dealing with beans and I think I am leaning that way when it comes to coconut as well. The coconut might be good for educational purposes with your kid, or for a nifty bowl, but otherwise the taste just does not compare to a bag of the sweetened stuff. However, if you find you want to do a recipe from scratch, the coconut meat slices out of the coconut easily.
So, you decide if you want to use canned beans or dried, and if you want to use fresh coconut or pre-bagged. The coconut meat can be grated (flaked) and then sweetened or not depending on your preference.
I chose to make chips and salsa. I love black bean salsa. I ate a lot of it when I lived in the south. I have always wanted to make my own tortillas so I decided to make some black bean and coconut corn tortillas and then fry the tortillas to make chips. First I made the salsa so the chips would still be warm when I got around to eating!
Black Bean Salsa:
*Note Most of these ingredients came from my garden. I encourage you to use what is in your garden or what is fresh from the market
1 can black beans or 2 cups cooked black beans
2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped (I used green tomatoes)
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
3-4 leaves fresh basil
3-4 stems fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 TB lime juice
1 TB cranberry frozen concentrate
1 generous pinch of salt
Mix and chill.
For the tortillas . . .
2 cups Maseca corn flour
3/4 cup black beans
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
First I mashed all the ingredients in a bowl.
Then I rolled them into balls.
I found that by dipping the balls into a bowl of water I could keep them moist and they would roll easier. This is where I wish I would have had a tortilla press but alas my trusty rolling pin would have to suffice. I rolled the balls of dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
You can roll the tortillas thinner or thicker, depending on how you like your chips. Cut them to whatever shape you want the chips to be. Next I preheated a skillet leaving it ungreased but getting it nice and hot. I’ve heard a cast iron skillet is the way to go but I don’t own one yet so I did mine in a wok-style pan. I sizzled the flattened tortillas for about 45 seconds on each side then put them on a plate.
Next I heated some oil in a saucepan for frying- probably about 3 cups worth and heated the oil to 365 degrees. When frying foods, most things are done when they float. These will pretty much float already so just fry them until they are golden brown- about a minute and a half for each batch. Don’t put too many in the oil all at once, just do small batches.
You can put all your chips in a brown paper bag and shake them with salt, but I found that unnecessary. Just sprinkle a little salt onto the chips when you put them in a bowl. Not too much- there is already enough salt in the mix.
And that’s it! Homemade chips and salsa. The coconut in the chip gives a nice nutty, sweet flavor to the chip and the empty shell is great for serving the salsa. A great weekend recipe if you are entertaining a few friends.