Sunday, January 17, 2010

Black Bean Tacu Tacu

I recently attended a 5 course dinner and beer tasting at Chifa hosted by Flying Fish brewing Co. Chifa is a Peruvian – Cantonese fusion restaurant in Philadelphia owned by chef Jose Garces of recent Iron Chef fame. Though the portions were a bit small, the flavors were outstanding. One of the courses was smoked tuna with a very intriguing side of black bean tacu tacu, a crispy, spicy black pancake that reminded me of blood sausage or a sort of scrapple. After a bit of research I had to try this dish at home...

Tacu tacu is an Afro-Peruvian dish consisting of beans and rice mixed together then fried to make tortillas or small pancakes that are wrapped around fried plantains, fried beef or fried eggs. This dish is thought to have been created by Black Africans who were brought to Peru by the Spanish to work as slaves on coastal plantations. The recipe has many variations but is still a staple in the Peruvian diet.

Here's the recipe I came up with to try at home:

4 cups Goya black beans
2 cups cooked white rice
2 medium onions fine chopped
5 garlic cloves fine chopped
Goya Salsa Picante hot sauce
2 tsp cumin
cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper

I started by sauteing the onions and garlic in olive oil until tender and translucent. I also added the cumin, pinch of cayenne, a few nice splashes of hot sauce and salt and pepper to mixture.

While that was cooling, I rinsed the canned black beans mashed them with the back of a fork. The cooked rice, onion mixture and mashed bean all get mixed together with some more hot sauce to get this...

I wanted to be able to slice thin pieces to fry so I decided to mold the mixture in a terrine and chill it in the freezer until it could be sliced more easily. This process worked out perfectly.

Traditionally the the tacu tacu is fried in lard or bacon fat. I did not have any so I chose to use canola oil which worked really well, but I'm sure the lard would have produce a crispier finish.

I paired it with a couple of fried eggs and it was delicious, the only thing missing was some
plantains or fried steak. I have to admit that my version was not the magic plated at Chifa, but I do look forward to experimenting with the different variations to this recipe.


1 comment:

  1. I'd give that a try. And use your novel method of preparation.