Clearly, this recipe from Michael Natkin’s Herbivoracious cookbook is addicting. The rich and crispy black bean masa cakes sit on top of a sweetly crisp bed of lettuce, with a spicy sweet potato topping and queso fresco to finish the whole thing off. Incredible.
Heat 2 T vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 diced white onion and 4 minced garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Then add 4 medium sweet potatoes (finely diced and peeled), 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced, 1 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp chile powder and a pinch of salt. Cook until the sweet potatoes are fully tender – about 10 minutes. Mix in the juice of 1 lime, and add more salt if needed.
Masa Cakes Mix 1 1/2 cups masa haring with 1 1/2 cups plus 2 T warm water and a pinch of salt. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. If the dough isn’t smooth, adding in a few more tablespoons warm water. Then stir in 2 cups refried black beans and 2 tsp baking powder. Mix it all together thoroughly with your hands. Taste and add salt if you’d like. The dough can be refrigerated over night…
Fry Up the Cakes Heat 1/8 inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Make dough balls the size of golf balls and pat them between your hands into patties about 1/4 inch thick. Fry until the outside is brown and cooked through, but still soft on the inside. About 3 minutes each side, working in batches. Drain on paper towels. (We defy you not to eat several at this point, straight out of the pan.)
Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce, topped with the sweet potato topping and queso fresco. Enjy with guacamole, salsa and lime wedges too, if you’d like.
- Sweet Potato Topping
- vegetable oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and finely diced
- 2 or more jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp New Mexico chile powder
- pinch of salt
- juice of 1 lime
- Masa Cakes
- 2 1/2 cups masa harina
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 T warm water
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups refried black beans (Ducal is good!)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- vegetable oil for pan frying
- your choice of lime, guacamole, salsa, and queso fresco