Frijoles refritos, an important source of protein

Frijoles refritos is almost a mandatory side dish for most Mexican meals. Made by mashing cooked beans has a smooth creamy texture and is fast and easy to make. 

Although nobody knows who invented this delicious way of making beans, it is believed that frijoles refritos were first made in Northern Mexico about 100 years ago.

Beans, along with rice and corn, are one of the trilogies of Mexican cuisine and have been an important source of protein for humans since at least the early seventh millennium BC, before the existence of ceramics. In the Americas, their cultivation has been traced back to the second millennium BC.

Beans contain high-quality protein, superb complex carbohydrates, low amounts of fats that are good for us, high amounts of soluble fibre, and important vitamins, minerals, and polyphenol antioxidants. They are a delicious and easy way to receive the nourishment needed for optimum health.

So frijoles means beans, and refritos means well-fried, so the real name in English is well-fried beans.  Not twice-fried beans, beans that are fried, and then fried again. The prefix ‘re’ emphasizes a word’s special meaning.

 Although they are not fried twice, they are cooked twice. To make refried beans you soak beans for around 8 hours and cook them in water, usually with onion, until soft. This is the first cooking. Then they are mashed – similar to the consistency of a puree – and fried to add more flavour with lard until almost dry.  They’re traditionally fried in pork lard, but these days we can also use a healthier alternative such as light oil or vegetable shortening.

Most commonly are prepared from pinto beans then followed in popularity by black turtle beans. Chilli powder, cumin, chopped sweet bell, jalapeño peppers, and citrus juice are typically added as enhancements.

Here we left you a short video of Silvia & her nice abuelita making frijoles refritos:


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