So I've been promising you some latin inspired dishes this week and since it's my birthday, I've been having some fun taking some time off to soak up the sun rays, hang out in my garden and enjoy my family. I really wanted to start off this next chapter with some of my favourite Latin inspired dishes. There are so many cultures and combinations of foods from Puerto Rican cuisine to Mexican that just are my all time favourite things to eat, so as a vegan, I wanted to fuse everything and just come up with things that I've tried out over the years that I absolutely adore.
- Sweet Pointed Pepper
- Red Chilli
- Sweet Potato (2)
- White Onion (2)
- Red Onion
- Black Beans in Water
- Kidney Beans
- Cocoa Powder
- Vegetable Stock
- Onion Salt
- Chilli Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Vegan Feta
- Taco Shells (Corn)
So let's start with frying off an onion! I cut up two white onions and shared them between a main and a smaller pan for the refried beans, it's an excellent component in all these delicious foods, and a small red onion. I added sweet pointed peppers to the main dish and cooked out until they started to soften and brown.
I began to parboil some diced sweet potatoes, I used two and it went quite far! You can cheat and throw these in the microwave but they tend to have a nicer texture if you boil them until the texture begins to break apart when you test the softness.
In a jug I blended cooked kidney beans, garlic powder, onion powder and the red and white fried onions. I liked it to be a little chunky but you can blitz it til your hearts content! I threw them back in the pan with tomato puree and vegetable stock and let them cook out with a tiny bit of water for another 5 minutes. Then I added a spoon full of cocoa, this literally is like a secret weapon in any chilli or bean based dishes, it just brings a new flavour. It does not taste like chocolate at all but like an earthy, intenser version of what it is.
I then added the sweet potatoes to the main dish and let them form a 'crisp' coating on the outside. I think people are totally scared of the look of burnt food but vegetarian food is often so boring that giving a char to it adds some texture and smokey flavour. I then added the same onion powder, garlic salt, turmeric, chilli, paprika, cumin. About a teaspoon of each.
Once the potatoes start to crisp slightly and have more of a richer colour, I added some washed black beans and some water, I let this cook for a further ten minutes before it starts to form almost like a gravy in the base of the pan. You can add tomatoes and reduce them, which is when you cook out all the liquid and then add further liquid and repeat, that can make it an excellent chilli base. But I kept it lighter as we are gonna serve with some salad and the refried beans at the end.
I then added some sprigs of cilantro, some lightly toasted red chilli which I cooked separately, I love the fresh heat that you can get from them as opposed to having them present with the other ingredients in the pan. This is totally up to you and how spicy you like them to be!
Now I crushed up some vegan feta, this is from Sainsburys as it's my nearest supermarket in the UK and grabbed some preformed taco shells. These are corn but if you wanted to form some tortillas and cook them into shape, you can again work to your own tastes!
I served with some Corona, fresh rocket and the refried beans!
Let me know what you think and if you try these out at home! It definitely is a delicious sharing food for sunny days, birthday hang outs with your fam or friends. And delish!