Honduran Baleadas, a large taco made with mashed beans, cotija cheese and sour cream, garnished with cilantro, scallions and tomatoes. Add a scrambled egg for a special version of this classic Honduran street food.
Baleadas are oversized tacos with thick tortillas, refried beans, cotija cheese and sour cream. They are a popular street food in Honduras. There are different varieties but the simple baleada is just as described.
A version called mixed baleada or ‘mixta’ adds scrambled eggs. If you add chicken, ground meat or sausage to a ‘mixta baleada’, you get a ‘special baleada’.
Garnishes are individualistic but may include cilantro, scallions, pickled onions or jalapeños, a type of pico de gallo called chirmol, pickled cabbage or avocado.
The flour tortillas used in baleadas are similar to Mexican tortillas but thicker. They are rolled out to about 1/8th of an inch, or 2mm. Like all flatbreads, they are best right off the griddle. You can use store bought tortillas if you don’t have the time to make them yourself but they are easy to make so make them yourself if you can.
I made mine using my favorite food processor method. I place the dry ingredients in the processor and pulse a few times to mix. I then slowly drizzle in the wet ingredients. Finally, I add just enough flour until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. Then I remove the dough, knead for a minute or two on a floured surface, coat in oil, cover in plastic and let rest for 30-60 minutes.
Just cut into single serving sizes and roll out into a circle. Cook on a hot, oiled griddle until puffy and golden. Click here for step-by-step instructions with pictures on how to make Honduran tortillas.
The beans used in baleadas are refried black or red beans, seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, onions and garlic. I made mine in the crockpot. After soaking the beans overnight, I put them in the crockpot with water, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin and although not traditionally Honduran, one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
After about six hours in a crockpot, I mash them with a bean masher. At this point I consider them done but for a real re-fried bean recipe, you would then fry in lard or coconut oil to add even more flavor.
If you can’t find cotija cheese, you could always use queso fresca or feta cheese. Honduran sour cream is saltier than American sour cream. It tastes similar to Mexican sour cream (crema agria) but is thicker.
It is packaged in a bag and I saw a street vendor just snip the corner and use it like a baker would use a piping bag. Genius. Use whatever sour cream you can find. There isn’t enough of a difference to worry about wether you can find the ‘right’ sour cream.
Baleadas are easy to find in Honduras, especially along the northern coast. Street vendors make them and are kept busy with their large fan base. If you are used to making your own refried beans and tortillas then you will have some always on hand.
I can see why this is such a popular national dish when all you really have to do is assemble and maybe cook some eggs to add to it.
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