We took a common Antiguan side dish of black bean cakes and turned them into a hearty vegetarian meal, featuring a roasted salsa and fresh coriander lime yogurt. These black bean cakes also work great as a vegetarian burger patty!
Country Number 6: Antigua
The only experience that we’ve had with Caribbean cuisine was on a trip we took to Cuba last year. Let’s just say that Cuba was memorable for many reasons, but its cuisine wasn’t one of them. We have come into this challenge with open minds, so we were determined to not our only experience with very average food from this part of the world taint our opinions.
Like most Caribbean countries, seafood is the main staple of the diet, with conch being one of the most popular choices. You might not find many traditional vegetarian main dishes, but the island does produce a large range of tropical fruits and vegetables so there are enough options to get by.
Popular Vegetarian Dishes in Antigua
- Fungie– “Antiguan polenta” is cornmeal cooked with okra and stirred to give the texture of mashed potato
- Duncana– a type of steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potato, coconut, pumpkin and cinnamon, cooked in banana leaf
- Chop Up- mash up of different vegetables like callalo, eggplant and okra
- Macaroni Pie– Antigua’s version of mac and cheese which is served sliced and either hot or cold
- Roti- brought over by Indian immigrants, this flatbread is generally stuffed with a variety of fillings (including vegetables) cooked in a curry sauce
- Black Bean Cakes– served as a side dish with salsa and yogurt
Vegetarian rating of Antiguan Cuisine:
Making Antiguan Black Bean Cakes
We believe honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to food. So we are just going to disclaim right now… Our first attempt at making black bean cakes did not go well. We loosely followed a recipe that called for the black beans to be pulverized with all the other ingredients, then dipped in cornmeal and fried. The result was black bean cakes that were pretty textureless and bland.
The last thing we want to do is post dud recipes on our blog. But, we are also committed to cooking and posting a recipe from every country in the world. Hence, we decided to remake these Antiguan black bean cakes, using the same base ingredients but with a whole new method.
Round two for the Black Bean Cakes
This time around we trusted our own cooking instincts when making the black bean cakes again. We thought carefully about how we could bring the most flavor and best texture to these patties.
Instead of putting raw onion and garlic into the cakes, we sauteed them up first to add more flavor. Instead of pulverized the black beans, we gently mashed them into the mixture to add more texture. And instead of frying in cornmeal (which gave the initial cakes a weird coating), we added a bit of flour to the mixture to bind it together and baked them in the oven.
The results? Exponentially better-tasting black bean cakes
The lesson we learned from our kitchen mishap
- The way in which you cook things can make or break a dish
- It pays to trust your own cooking intuition and not always follow a recipe
- Not immediately throwing in the towel when a dish doesn’t work the first time
No doubt we will encounter similar scenarios time and time again during this cooking journey around the world, but the ups and downs are all a part of the fun and what will hopefully make us better cooks by the end.
What you’ll need to make Black Bean Cakes
Enough about our kitchen mishaps, let’s get on to making the recipe! The black bean cakes themselves don’t require many ingredients at all. However, to make them exciting, we’d definitely recommend adding lots of fun toppings like we did!
- Fresh ingredients– you’ll need an onion, jalapeno, garlic for the cakes and avocado, lemon, tomato, corn, red onion and coriander for the toppings
- Pantry items– you’ll obviously need a tin of black beans, some flour (which you can sub for oat or almond flour if you’re gluten-free), ground cumin, coriander and chilli
- Refridgerated items- just one egg and some yogurt for the sauce
To make these vegan:
Sub the egg for a flaxseed egg by combining 1 tbsp of flaxseed with 2 tbsp of water and waiting a few minutes for it to congeal before adding. For the sauce, simply sub out the normal yogurt for coconut yogurt.
Serving Suggestions for Black Bean Cakes
We topped our black bean cakes with roasted salsa and a lime coriander yogurt ( that are included in the recipe below!). We ended up having them in burger form, accompanied by sliced avocado, diced tomato, red onion, and corn. Now, we realise this is getting a bit cross-cultural, but we didn’t have any burger buns so we actually used leftover Arepas (South American cornmeal cakes) instead and it actually worked so perfectly for the black bean flavour profile.
Antiguan Black Bean Cakes with Salsa + Coriander Lime Yogurt
Black Bean Cakes
- 2 tins black beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium white onion (finely chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves (mined)
- 3 jalapeno (finely chopped)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour (sub oat flour for GF)
- Salt + pepper (to taste)
- 4 to matoes (chopped in half)
- 1/2 onion (cut into wedges)
- 2 jalapenos (cut in half)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt + pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 cup water
Coriander Lime Yogurt
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup coriander (finely chopped)
- Salt + pepper (to taste)
For the black bean patties:
- Preheat oven to 190˚C (375˚F) Pat dry black beans and put on lined baking tray. Put in oven for 10 minutes to dry out.
- Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat, then sauté onions until translucent. Add minced garlic, jalapenos, cumin, coriander and chilli powder and sauté for another few minutes.
- Beat two eggs in a bowl. Add in flour, everything from the pan, and most of the black beans, reserving about 1/2 cup to add in after. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix everything together, using a fork to mash the black beans up as you go. Once well-combined, stir through remaining black beans.
- Shape about 1/3 cup of mixture with hands and put on lined baking tray. Repeat till all mixture is used. Cook for 20 minutes, turning patties over after 10 minutes.
Make the salsa:
- Put sliced tomatoes, onion and jalapenos on lined baking tray and drizzle with oil. Roast for 15 minutes at 190˚C (375˚F) or until turning golden (you can cook these at the same time as the patties). Transfer to a blender, season with salt and pepper to taste, and blend until thick salsa is formed.
Make coriander lime yogurt:
- Combine yogurt, lime juice, chopped coriander and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
- Top black bean cakes with roasted salsa and coriander lime yogurt. Great served with other toppings such as sliced avocado, diced tomato, red onion + corn.
Did you make this recipe? We’d love to know! Tell us how it went in the comments below or tag us (@gourmetvegetarians) in your photos on Instagram.
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