There are few ingredients that call my name like cheese does. So partnering to work with Cacique, the number one brand of Mexican cheeses, is a dream come true. Making tlacoyos with Cacique® Cotija was a no-brainer to me for a vegetarian meal, but I also wanted something a little healthier than deep-fried masa. With that in mind, and to heed the Sirens’ call of cheese, I ventured forth with this version of Black Bean Tlacoyos made with Cacique® Cotija cheese.
From tortillas and tamales, to porridge and cakes, masa harina, or corn flour, isn’t just a traditional ingredient in Mexican cuisine, it’s an essential ingredient, just like cheese. Tlacoyos, a cross between huarraches and pupusas, are oblong/torpedo-shaped masa cakes that are filled with beans and sometimes cheese. The tlacoyos are typically deep fried and topped with fresh salsa, spunky cheese and tender nopalitos. In this recipe, I lightly pan fried the tlacoyos to make them a bit healthier.
I approached this recipe for Black Bean Tlacoyos the same way I would when making corn tortillas: it’s easy…with a little practice. The first two that I made came out looking like black bean mashed on a plate, so have patience. Once I realized how easy these masa cakes are to make, it got me thinking about our tamal-making parties during the holidays, and I went for it, freezing batches of uncooked tlacoyos for quick meals throughout the month.
Keep in mind that this recipe yields 12 medium or 6 larger tlacoyos. If you decide to make larger tlacoyos, be aware of portion control. I used zero added salt because cotija adds just the right amount of saltiness, but Cacique® Panela works great with this recipe, too.
Full disclosure: I like using lard when working with masa. However, for this healthier, vegetarian meal I skipped the lard and lost zero flavor. The trick is to get as much flavor from your ingredients, like sautéing onions and adding fresh citrus zest.
Note: Click the ‘Products‘ tab above to learn more about the Cacique® ingredients used in this recipe. You can find these ingredients near you by clicking the ‘Find Stores‘ tab, selecting the products you are looking for, and entering your zip code.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and as needed for light pan frying
- 1/4 cup diced white onions
- 1 (16 ounce) can of black beans
- 1/2 cup crumbled Cacique® Cotija Cheese, plus more for serving.
- 1 large orange, zested (optional)
- 1 (30 ounce) jar nopalitos, drained
- 1 1/2 cups salsa verde
- 5-6 radishes, thinly sliced
- Optional: chopped cilantro
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Place the masa harina in a large bowl. Slowly pour in the warm water and mix with your hands. Feel free to add more/less water. The dough should not be sticky, but smooth and hold its shape. This recipe makes 12 medium tlacoyos, or 6 larger tlacoyos so divide your dough accordingly. Roll the dough in balls. Using a tortilla press lined with parchment paper, press the balls of dough into round disk shapes, like corn tortillas.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions and allow to cook until they soften and become slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Mix in the black beans, mashing into a paste. Add in the 1/2 cup Cacique® Cotija cheese and orange zest as this will give another dimension of flavor - adding the orange zest is completely optional and adds brightness to the beans. Remove from the heat once heated through and mashed into a paste. Reserve.
- Once the balls of masa are flattened, place the beans off-center. (1 tablespoon beans for medium tlacoyos or 2 tablespoons for larger tlacoyos.) Fold over the corn tortilla into a half-round. Using your hands, seal the edges and then shape them into a slight oblong/torpedo shape.
- Add just enough vegetable oil to coat a comal/pan and then heat over medium-high heat. Place the tlacoyos on the hot comal/pan and allow to cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes each side.
- While you are cooking the tlacoyos, boil the nopalitos for 10 minutes, drain and reserve.
- To serve, place the warm tlacoyos on plates and spread the salsa verde on top. This will act like a “glue” to keep your toppings on. Add the radish slices and crumbled Cacique® Cotija cheese. Add the nopalitos and top with even more cheese and cilantro.