Monday, November 21, 2011

Spicy Black Bean Cakes

The first time I had a version of the spicy cake was back in my graduate school days in the small town of Ames, IA. One of the micro brewery/restaurants there had these spicy bean cakes as an entree item. In the early 2000's when I was new to the US, being a vegetarian meant limited eating out options especially in a small town like Ames. Most restaurants would have just one or two vegetarian options and the worst I have seen for a vegetarian option was just a salad with no protein in it whatsoever. Things have come a long way since then and with vegetarianism gaining immense popularity in this part of the world most restaurants have made their menus more vegetarian-friendly. So when I first saw this spicy bean cake in the restaurant five years ago, I was pretty excited. I dont remember much of the what the spicy bean cake tasted - two things stand out clearly in memory though - it was made of black bean and it had a very distinct smoky flavor.

Now to the matter at hand. The recipe I have here uses pretty simple ingredients - I have used roasted cumin powder to give the smoky flavor and the heat comes from the jalapeno peppers. Brown rice is what forms the binding material to keep the cake together. This is a very nourishing all in one meal. There is enough carbohydrates and proteins that a simple salad on the side makes a perfect dinner. Other ways to serve this cake is like a burger between slices of bread or as a wrap in tortilla/roti with condiments of your choice. I made a very simple garlicky buttermilk dressing similar to an aioli.

1 15oz can or 11/2 cups cooked black bean
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup carrots (optional)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (or any other green chili pepper), adjust to taste
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil + more for shallow frying
salt to taste

For Buttermilk aioli
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cayenne or red chili powder
2 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp stone-ground mustard
A pinch of dill (dried) or 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh dill
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Buttermilk aioli
  1. In a medium bowl whisk the buttermilk, add all the ingredients and mix well. 
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Set aside.
Black bean cakes
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno and onions. Saute until the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add carrots if using, saute for a minute or two and then add black beans, cumin powder and salt. 
  3. Saute for two more minutes. Finally add brown rice, mix well and remove from the heat. 
  4. Let it cool slightly, add cilantro if using and then mix well so the black beans and the rice looked mashed and well combined. Taste and adjust for seasoning. 
  5. Take a lemon sized ball of the mixture and flatten to make a 1/4 inch thick disc. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. At this point you can either proceed to the next step immediately or  refrigerate for a few hours to overnight.
  6. Place a saute pan or a griddle on a medium flame, pour 1 tbsp of oil and swirl so the bottom of the pan is well-coated with oil. 
  7. When the oil is hot enough lay the flattened cakes on the pan. Make sure the patties do not touch each other. Cook for 3-4 min or until the bottom is brown. Flip over, cook the other side till brown. 
  8. Remove on a plate and serve warm with a salad and dressing.
Enjoy !!


Priya said...

Wonderful platter,healthy cakes and delicious aioli..

Prathibha said...

very delicious cakes...looks yumm

aipi said...

Wholesome n protein packed!

Jay said...

this is just awesome..loved it..;)
Tasty Appetite

Shanthi said...

Looks yummy and wonderful. Have a nice day

Rachel said...

Wholehearty meal that would make.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Protein punch recipe....yumm.....