spicy black bean kebabs

spicy black bean kebabs with mint yogurt sauce

I made you some kebabs, spicy Indian kebabs that are hot and tasty. And these guys are meatless too, so you can feel a little less guilty, if you decide to eat several, like we did. Yup, that's right, there's black beans and flaxseed meal in these little fat kebabs that make them terribly tasty. Plus, they are simple to make without too much fussing! Okay, maybe the black beans need some T.L.C. but that's really all there is to it. 

spice grinding

I've based the seasoning off a popular type of Indian kebab called the "seekh" kebab that is usually made with ground beef or lamb meat and rolled into long cigar-shaped structures. Since I strayed away from the traditional kebab recipe, I shaped the kebabs into flat discs so I could double-duty any leftovers as sliders the next day. By the way, the ground flaxseed meal is a delicious texture addition to the kebab.

There's also an easy to make, delicious cooling mint flavored yogurt sauce that balances the heat and spicy flavors of the kebabs. 

mint yogurt sauce

You could use canned black beans but I avoid using the canned stuff because they tend to be mushy and too moist which could make these kebabs harder to prepare, less moisture is a good thing here! It is better to start from scratch and soak the dried beans the day before, this way you are in complete control of the texture and consistency. Drain the black beans completely to get rid of any excess moisture, keeping them on a towel after boiling, also helps a lot. If you like the kebabs to be more or less hot then adjust the amount of chili accordingly.

spicy black bean kebabs

spicy black bean kebabs

yields: approximately 20-24 kebabs

ingredients

2 cups dried black beans 
a pinch of baking soda
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
2 thai chili peppers, green or red
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
1 large egg, lightly whisked 
1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying (you might need a little more)

1. Rinse and soak the beans in water overnight. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in a large saucepan or stockpot, along with the baking soda and and water and bring the contents to a boil on a medium-high flame. Once it begins to boil, reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and cook until the beans  are just tender but not mushy. Remove from stove and drain the liquid from the beans. Place the beans on a clean kitchen towel to remove any excess water. Allow the beans to cool to room temperature. You can also refrigerate the beans until they are ready to use.
2. Grind the cumin, cloves, nutmeg and peppercorns in a spice grinder or coffee mill to obtain a fine powder. Keep aside until ready.
3. Place the beans, the ground spices and the rest of the ingredients except the egg and vegetable oil in a food processor fitted with a blade. Place the lid on the food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly in texture. You might need to stir the contents occasionally. Do not pulse too long or the the mixture will become a paste. Transfer the mixture from the food processor into a large mixing bowl. Fold the egg into the mixture. Cover the bowl with a lid or with cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the beans to absorb all the flavors.
4. When ready to prepare the kebabs, take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the palms of your hands and flatten to form a one inch disc. Prepare the rest of the kebabs and keep aside.
5. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet on medium-high flame. Shallow fry about 6 kebabs at a time. Cook the kebab on each side for about 4-5 minutes or until they are browned on the surface. Transfer the kebabs onto a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Cook the rest of the kebabs in batches and serve hot.

mint yogurt dressing

yields: approximately 1 1/2 cups

ingredients

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 green thai chili pepper
3/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/4 cup chilled water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender (immersion blender also works great here) and pulse until completely smooth. Transfer to a container and keep chilled until ready to serve.