Spicy black beans and tortillas

Pile on top a bowl of rice, or just with quick tortillas and plenty of hot sauce.

Serves 2-3


1 400g tin black beans (or cooked from dry beans)
olive oil
1/2 red onion
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

salad veggies (cabbage, radish, cucumber)
plenty of fresh parsley and coriander
feta, to crumble on top
free range egg, fried
hot sauce to serve

2 C flour (I use masa harina for corn tortillas, or plain flour for wheat tortillas)
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 C warm water, give or take 50mL. Add it slowly to find your way.


If we can let go of the idea of Mexican being only for fresh summer salsa and a stinking hot day, it can be great winter fare. A pot of spicy, smokey black beans is pretty high on my comfort list, and there are plenty of avocados and greens at this time of the year. (Coriander too, it’s just a bit scarce right now with this arctic weather). Great with easy homemade tortillas, and plenty of hot sauce. Or pile on to a rice bowl, loaded with feta and salad and jalapeños – winter makes you hungry.


For the tortillas, combine all the dough things until it is like perfect play dough – not too dry but not sticking to your hands. It may take more or less water so go by feel. Let this rest for 10-30 minutes.

For the beans, heat a good amount of oil and gently fry onion with garlic. Add the spices according to your taste, and sauté a little more. Add the black beans when the onions are soft, with an extra splash of water to loosen if you need it. You may also like to add a dash of tomato passata, which adds a bit of extra flavour and richness. This may be frowned upon by purists. If you have cooked dry beans from scratch (*with a clove of garlic, a bay leaf, NO salt and ideally a dried chipotle chilli) spoon these in to the spicy onion, including a bit of liquid. Let this cook together for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile you can roll the dough into balls (2 cups of flour will make about 8 small tortillas), and roll flat with a rolling pin or in a tortilla press. Fry the tortillas on a very hot, dry fry pan. Cook on each side, until it just starts to colour (or chars) and looks cooked. Keep them warm and soft piled in a clean tea towel or napkin. This covered stack can also go in a low oven to keep warm. If 8 is too many, just freeze the dough for later.

Combine a simple salad of some herbs and shredded cabbage, with radish and cucumber for extras. Add chopped pickled jalapeños from the fridge, and dress with olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Obviously use whatever you have for the season – a summer tomato salsa, spiced roasted pumpkin, cucumber and hot sauce. We have lots of cabbage at the moment, so a shredded cabbage and radish salad it is.

Serve with rice if you are hungry, and don’t forget plenty of avocado, feta and a crispy fried egg. Keep your favourite hot sauce handy.


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