500g of cooked black turtle beans (or two tins, rinsed and drained)
juice of 3 limes
large handful of fresh coriander,
chopped 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1-2 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1. In a small food processor or using a hand-held blender, whizz the garlic, lime juice, black beans, cumin and cayenne until you have a smooth purple-grey paste.
2. Add a little salt to taste (if you’re planning on serving it with salted tortilla chips you shouldn’t need much) and stir through the chopped coriander.
3. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips, or try it spread on toast or crackers.
Notes: Black turtle beans (sometimes just called ‘black beans’) are available tinned, but it’s much, much cheaper to buy dried beans and cook your own:
1. Soak the beans overnight (or use the genius quick-soak method if you can’t wait that long).
2. Rinse and drain the beans (discarding the soaking water results in more digestible beans as many of the indigestible sugars that can leave you feeling gassy are dissolved in that water).
3. Put the soaked, drained beans in a pressure cooker with plenty of fresh water, put the lid on and bring to pressure. Cook under pressure for 4-6 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes until the pressure safety-locking mechanism is released (this is known as the ‘natural release method’). TEST a few of the beans to check that they’re done – cooking times are not an exact science, so if they seem like they’re not quite done put them back on the heat for a bit longer.
(If you don’t have a pressure cooker a covered pot will work just fine too… it’s just that pressure cooking is so much quicker: to cook in a covered pot, put in 2- 3 parts cold water to 1 part beans; bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a very slow simmer; simmer for up to 2 hours until the beans are done*.
If you own a pressure cooker but are frankly still a bit scared of it, I highly recommend spending some time over at www.hippressurecooking.com, which has great beginners’ tutorials and information on cooking times and everything you need to know about pressure cooking.)
3. Rinse and drain the cooked beans, which are then ready to use.
(The cooked beans can also be frozen for use at a later date, so provided you’ve space in your freezer always cook double and freeze half – as well as this recipe, try black beans in a quinoa salad, a black bean chilli, or bean burgers)
Nutritional information for cooked black beans can be found here.
*My ancient Linda McCartney cookbook advises “to test for tenderness, put one bean in your mouth and press it with your tongue against the roof of your mouth. If the bean squashes easily, it is cooked, if not then continue to simmer.”