Last Sunday was a fun day. I had used the previous day to prep lots of Caribbean recipes and met up early in the morning with Desi from Concept Store by Sea & Sand and photographer Ton Verkuijlen. We spent the entire day shooting Caribbean dishes on all the stylish props from Desi’s new concept store. And there were many. Props ánd dishes. I think poor Ton got a little tired. Oh dear!
But the pictures he took are amazing. Just take a look at this one of the Caribbean black bean falafel. Looks gorgeous doesn’t it?
Now that we are at it, I lóve falafel. When I am in Amsterdam, I always go to one of those hole-in-the-wall falafel joints to treat myself to a huge pita bread filled with crispy fafalel, pickled veggies, garlic sauce and chilies. It’s one of the dishes I really miss while living in the Caribbean. But hey, I can’t have it all. Or can I?
At least it was worth looking into. So I set myself to developing a Caribbean version of my beloved dish. Traditionally, falafel is made with chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans). For the Caribbean twist I decided to use black beans which are widely used in the Caribbean kitchen. I let them soak in water for a day, then ground them up with lots of garlic and lots of fresh herbs and spices. I also added a few chickpeas for the consistency. And guess what: they turned out nice and crisp, with lots of flavor and a bright green interior from all the fresh herbs. I added another pinch of Caribbean by serving them with fresh mango salsa and a splash of hot sauce. And of course some aioli. It was delicioso!
By the way, did you know that 2016 has been declared by the UN as the international year of the pulses? And for good reason. Legumes are healthy, relatively inexpensive and contain few calories. Moreover, they know many culinary applications. More reason to think about new bean recipes besides this black bean falafel.
PS. Desi and Ton: it was lots of fun working with you. Many thanks!
- 1½ cup dried black beans, soaked for 8 hours, or overnight
- ½ cup dried chick peas, soaked for 8 hours, or overnight
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 4-5 tablespoons water
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- To serve: store-bought pita bread, aioli (see recipe below), mango salsa and hot sauce
- Drain the beans and grind them in a food processor with the onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley and jalapeño into a course paste. Season with the dried spices, salt and pepper. Add the baking powder and flour, mix well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oil to 350F / 175C. Dissolve the baking soda in the water and stir through the bean batter. Take ice-cream scoops of the batter and form into balls with wet hands. Fry the falafel in small batches in the hot oil until crisp and browned on all sides, about 3 -4 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
- Serve immediately, along with the pita bread, aioli, mango salsa and hot sauce.
- 1 cup / 250ml good quality mayonnaise
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon walnut oil
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Thin out with a little water or yoghurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.