Black Bean Burritos


Exuberant cooking and eating – we loved this for the bringing together of distinct and disparate flavours, the fresh and the smoky; char, zing and spice; really what Mexican food is all about. The kind of unctuous dishes we may be used to, dripping with cheese are not typical of the true cuisine, and we have aimed to be more sensitive to that freshness and quality of ingredients; the incisive, spicy and flavourful range of experience that a good Mexican provides by the bagful. There is a ‘cheesy’ note through the combination of milled cashews, lime, sea salt and smoky paprika that a heap of cheddar can’t touch, because it sits happily with the dish as a whole, and the climbing, building, balancing combinations. We’ve paired it with some charred seasonal veg to make a meal of it and soak up some more of the incredible chipotle and coriander salsa. It is humble street food at its very bestest. A little donkey with a big kick.

As we tend to do when we have the time (kids schooling or napping, or mama home from work and free to lend two hands), we made our own tortillas. It’s not tough, but it takes some proving time. If you want to dine speedily and breadmaking is impractical, the best rollable flatbreads we’ve found are from neighbours Italia – c/o Crosta & Mollica, who sell their tasty ‘piada’ – little flatbreads in Waitrose. We’ve tried the ‘Mexican-style’ corn tortilla wraps from the widely available Discovery and Old El Paso brands, and they just don’t float our boat… nowhere near soft, light or floury enough.

Black beans are a great choice of legume for both Pitta and Kapha, but not Vata (beans in general are not great for Vata, as they’re too drying).


For the refried beans:
380g / 1 carton or can of black beans
A handful of unsalted cashew nuts
¾ tsp of cumin seeds
1 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped
½ small green chilli pepper, finely chopped
Good, organic, extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp paprika
¾ tsp organic cocoa
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lime

For the tortillas:
70g plain flour / white spelt flour
70g wholemeal flour / wholemeal spelt
60g corn / maize flour
2 heaped tsp of active yeast
Good extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp of sea salt
A sprig of fresh oregano

For the chipotle sauce:
2 chipotles (long grown, dried red jalapenos) / You can use any hot dried red chillies if you can’t find them or dry your own in season
2 large cloves of garlic
2 medium sized, ripe, seasonal tomatoes or equivalent weight of cherries or baby plums. (Just the best you can find).
1 small red onion
Good, cold pressed rapeseed oil
Sea salt

For the salsa verde:
A big bunch / two good handfuls of fresh coriander
½ handful of fresh oregano
1 clove of garlic
Half a small red onion
1 lime
Sea salt
Fresh black pepper


  • 1 Tortilla dough first: Combine your flours with the yeast, salt and fresh oregano, finely chopped. Make a little well with a spoon and add a good splash of olive oil (about 1 ½ tablespoons). Add warm water bit by bit until the dough comes together with a spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 6 minutes, stretching the dough with the ball of your palm, bringing it back and turning until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Form into a ball and return to your mixing bowl. Cover with a clean, damp towel and leave in a warm spot for at least an hour; two ideally
  • 2 Sauces next: For the chipotle the key is a good bit of blackening on your beautiful, seasonal tomatoes. Toss them whole into a roasting tray with your chillies, onions, your whole cloves of garlic, a good pinch of sea salt and enough rapeseed oil to coat the lot. Pop into a preheated oven at gas mark 5 for a slow roasting, tossing occasionally until the tomato skins take on a little black and char. About an hour should do it, so we’re keeping up with the proofing of our tortilla dough. Allow to cool for a few minutes and turn into a food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins and blitz to a smooth consistency
  • 3 For the Mexican salsa verde: Either finely chop all your whole ingredients, spike liberally with good olive oil, sea salt and lime juice and muddle briefly in a pestle and mortar or add all the above to a food processor and blitz briefly to a finely chopped consistency, maintaining coarseness and texture
  • 4 For the refried beans, mill your cashews in a food processor until they are finely ground and begin to release oil and set aside. Warm a large frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and add the cumin seeds, followed by the garlic and chilli a minute later. Stir for a couple of minutes and add your black beans and ground spices, oregano and raw cocoa. When the beans show signs of popping add the milled cashew and season well with sea salt and black pepper. For texture, mash some of the beans with a fork and leave some whole. When ready to fill your tortillas remove from the heat and squeeze over the juice of a lime
  • 5 Finally you just need to cook your tortillas. This is best done at the end for warm, super fresh ones; everything else can be held and the sauces are best served at room temperature. Simply heat a dry griddle pan to smoking hot on the hob, roll out a ball of dough a little bigger than a golf ball on a lightly floured board to about 2mm thickness in a rough circle. Drop onto your griddle until puffed a little and coloured and turn with tongs. On a hot griddle they will take less than a minute each. Repeat according to how many you fancy
  • 6 To assemble, add a good filling of refried beans to a tortilla, fold each side in a little to seal and roll into a burrito. If serving later you can roll them in foil and reheat in the oven but they are best served fresh. Dip in or daub with your sauces, the magic is in the combining of all the elements in a mouthful. Eating with your fingers is encouraged and we don’t mind your elbows on the table; just bring your open senses and appetite.