Veracruz - Molotes a la Veracruzana Recipe

Veracruz - Molotes a la Veracruzana Recipe

Molotes a la Veracruzana © Philip Hood

Makes 6 molotes

For the filling:-
125 g/5 oz black beans, rinsed
75 g/3 oz onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
75 g/3 oz onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
5 ml/1 tsp chipotle chilli powder, or to taste
2.5 ml/1/2 tsp ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tortillas:-
325 g/ oz ripe plantain
250 g/ 9 oz masa harina
50 g/2 oz plain flour
5 ml/1 tsp salt
Cold water

For the salsa:-
50 g/2 oz red onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 hot red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
200 g/ oz cherry tomatoes, quartered – a mixture of red and yellow looks pretty
15 g/1/2 oz fresh coriander/cilantro, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
1 ripe plantain, about 150 g/ oz, peeled and sliced into 1 cm/ in rounds

75 g/3 oz Mexican queso fresco or Feta cheese
100 ml/ fl oz sour cream or to taste

Place the black beans and the first 75 g of onions in a saucepan and pour in enough to cover by 10 cm/4 in. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down to low, cover the saucepan and simmer very gently for at least 2 hours, preferably 3 or 4, until the beans are totally tender. Check them every now and then to make sure that they are not drying out and are covered by at least 1 cm/1/2 in of water. The beans can be cooked well ahead of time and refrigerated for several days if desired.

For the tortillas, preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas 6/fan oven 180oC and bake the unpeeled plantains until they are soft. Cool then peel and mash with a fork in a large bowl. Add the masa harina, flour and salt and stir it all together. Drizzle over about 1 cup of cold water and stir again – it will all start to come together. Keep stirring in cold water, a couple of spoonfuls at a time, until you have a smooth mass of dough – the quantity will depend on the two flours but I usually find that it takes about one and a half cups altogether.

Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Line a tortilla press with clingfilm/plastic wrap, place a portion of masa on it and cover it with more clingfilm. Press into a tortilla about 2 mm/ in thick – if it is any thinner, the molote is likely to tear when you roll it. Set aside clingfilm and all and make five more tortillas. The tortillas can be made several hours ahead.

When the tortillas are done, continue with the filling. Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the onions, garlic and some seasoning, and cook over low heat, stirring regularly, until soft and golden. Sprinkle in the chilli and cumin and cook for one minute.

When the beans are ready, transfer them to the frying pan and crush them with a large fork or a potato masher. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is soft and velvety but not in the least bit sloppy. Check the seasoning and set aside to cool.

To make the molotes, lay a tortilla out on the work surface and remove the top piece of clingfilm. Place one sixth of the cold bean mixture in the centre and, with the help of the bottom layer of clingfilm, lift the sides up and over the filling to make a half moon. Pinch the edges gently together and then carefully wrap the molote in the clingfilm, twist the ends quite tightly to enclose it completely and lightly roll it into a torpedo shape. Set aside and repeat the procedure with the other five tortillas. I know this all sounds terribly complicated and time-consuming but it is actually very easy as the tortilla dough is malleable and so long as you only touch it through the clingfilm, it will not tear.

Make the salsa shortly before serving by stirring all the ingredients together, but do not season it until the last minute as the salt will draw moisture out of the tomatoes.

When everything, including you, is ready, preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Heat the two tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the sliced plantain and fry briskly until golden, about two minutes on each side. Remove to a large baking tray lined with kitchen paper and place in the oven to keep warm.

Unwrap two or three molotes from the clingfilm straight into the hot frying pan and cook them, rolling them around in the oil, until golden all over. Add them to the baking tray in the oven. Repeat the process with the remaining molotes.

Place the molotes on warm plates, drizzle with sour cream, sprinkle with cheese and top with the fried plantain.

Serve immediately with the salsa.

Buén provecho!

Chilli and Chocolate Stars of the Mexican Cocina by Isabel Hood is available from

Just The Two of Us Entertaining Each Other by Isabel Hood is available from and

You Should Also Read:
Mexico's Regional Gastronomies - Veracruz
Veracruz - Black Gorditas Recipe
Veracruz - Molotes a la Veracruzana

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