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Spicy Black Bean Cakes

I love black beans...their nutrient-density, their smoky, earthy flavor and their versatility. I also love their dramatic color; they make any dish they are part of just a little more special.

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups cooked black turtle beans
5-6 fresh scallions, finely diced
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, diced
5-6 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely minced
2-3 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced
1-2 tablespoons finely minced, seeded jalapeno
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 pound firm tofu, finely crumbled
sea salt
yellow cornmeal
avocado oil, for frying


tofu sour cream
1/2 pound firm tofu, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
splash umeboshi or red wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup

Directions 
Place cooked beans in a mixing bowl and using a potato masher or a fork, crush the beans coarsely. Stir in scallions, pepper, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin and tofu, mixing well to combine. Stir in salt and about 2 tablespoons cornmeal to help the cakes hold their shape. The mixture will be stiff. 

Place about a cup of cornmeal in a bowl. Form tablespoonfuls of the black beans into small cakes, about 1/2-inch thick and dredge in cornmeal to coat. Place each cake on a plate and repeat with remaining bean mixture, forming 18-20 cakes. 

Place oil in a deep skillet to generously cover the bottom and turn heat to medium. When the oil is hot (you'll know it's ready by the patterns forming in the oil). Working in small batches, fry the cakes until golden and crispy, turning them once to insure even cooking. Drain on parchment and repeat with remaining cakes. You may want to place the fried cakes in a warm oven while making the rest.

Make the tofu sour cream by placing all the ingredients in a food processor and pureeing until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste and puree again. Arrange fried bean cakes on a platter and spoon a small amount of salsa and tofu sour cream on top of each cake. Makes 6-9 servings.  


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