When we lived in Dallas many years ago, we loved going to a Brazilian restaurant in the Knox-Henderson area called the Samba Room. They had some great vegetarian dishes using root vegetables, plantains, coconuts and beans. The spices they used a lot are ones I am familiar with from Indian cooking- cumin, black pepper and cilantro.
A unique and tasty appetizer at the Samba Room was black bean salsa served with plantain chips.
Plantains are a member of the banana family but more starchy. For this recipe, the plantains need to be green- i.e. not ripe.
I have included the recipe for plantain chips. However, if I am making this for a large get together then I just pick up a few bags at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Both have excellent, tasty versions of plantain chips.
Black Bean Salsa
1 cup of black beans, cooked and washed well
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into eighths
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, diced
Juice of 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon)
Optional- 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
Combine all the ingredients. Cover and wait about 15-30 minutes before serving. Can be prepared a day early and stored in the fridge.
2- Wash and peel the plantains. This is the most difficult step. I trim the ends of the plantains, cut them into large pieces, and remove the peel.
2- Cut the plantains into very thin disks. Use a mandoline, slicer attachment to your food processer or just use a sharp knife.
3- Put the slices into a bowl. Add a teaspoon of your favorite oil and mix well.
4- Spread them out on a baking sheet.
5- Bake for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the chips over. Cook for another 5 minutes.
6- Salt to taste.