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Beans is one of the typical Colombian dishes that I like the most. Since I was a little girl I remember that every Sunday my grandmother Graciela used to make her traditional beans for the whole family.

The preparation of beans in Colombia varies according to the regions where they are prepared, and of course, depending on the tastes of each person. The most popular dish is the famous "Bandeja Paisa", from the Antioquia region, which is served with ground beef, chorizo, avocado, slices of ripe plantain, fried egg, unsalted arepa and chicharrón.

The first time I made frijoles was living in Berlin. In Colombia I never made them, because I thought they were very difficult, but the truth is that they are not so complicated to make. Here I tell you how I make them, but remember that this recipe has many variations. In Berlin I buy the red kidney bean.

Ingredients for the beans:

  • 3 cups of beans

  • 2-3 large chopped tomatoes (or one cup of canned or bottled pureed tomatoes)

  • 5 long onion stalks (green onion)

  • Cumin and turmeric to taste

  • Dried bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

  • 1 white onion (OPTIONAL)

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 red bell pepper

For the tofu which would be the "ground meat":

  • 3 tbsp Tamari sauce (low sodium soy sauce).

  • 1/2 tablespoon miso paste (OPTIONAL)

  • Cumin to taste

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • Garlic powder in case you want to reinforce the flavor

  • 1/2 white onion finely chopped (optional)

  • Salt and pepper to taste


For the beans, I recommend soaking them from the day before with a teaspoon of baking soda to make them softer. It is also said that doing this considerably reduces the gaseous effect of this legume on the digestive system.

The next day wash the beans and add them to the pressure cooker along with water (covering the beans about 1-2 cms above - you can also use beef broth), with the bay leaves, the halved white onion, the garlic cloves, two stalks of green onion and a piece of red bell pepper if you use it. Cook them. The duration of this step depends on the beans you use. Generally kidney beans take about 45 minutes to 1 hour in the pitadora, but pinto beans, for example, take only 30 minutes.

In a frying pan, add the olive oil, the chopped long onion and the finely chopped or grated tomato. If you chop the tomato, let the tomato release water and let them simmer for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat. If using paprika, grate it and make it part of this step as well.

When the beans are ready, add the stew from the previous step. Stir, leave over low heat and scoop out about two tablespoons (with a ladle) and blend them in case the beans are too watery. Make sure the beans are the desired consistency and that's it!

For the ground tofu I always use the hard tofu, which comes in a block. Crumble it with your hands and in a pan with olive oil add the onion and garlic, after about 3 minutes add the tofu, Tamari sauce, miso paste, cumin, salt and pepper. If you notice that the tofu dries out, add a splash of water. You can add garlic powder if you want to reinforce the flavor a bit, but here the important thing is that you find your own style and that you like it. :)

Serve with rice, salad, or avocado and cilantro! Is there anything else you think you would like to add to this dish?


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Con amor y sazón, La Negrita.


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