Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food.
  Re: (...)
Thought I had posted this, a while back, after the first time I had made them completely from scratch, but I couldn't find it. Then I realised that I had waited to get more information about the tortilla part of it but had never found anything satisfactory. Thus, I have rewritten that part a bit.

Baleadas are flour tortillas folded in half after having been spread with refried red beans and sprinkled with grated queso duro. They taste much better when the tortillas are made to order, instead of precooked or store-bought tortillas. In their most basic form, baleadas are VERY inexpensive, but other fillings may be added (with an increase in cost, of course), such as scrambled eggs, which are an especially common filling when having baleadas for breakfast. Other typical fillings are listed later. Note that the proportions of the ingredients (especially for the tortillas) can vary, quite a bit, from one cook to another. In fact, some people use milk, instead of water, to make the tortillas more tender, and some even add some an egg and a small amount of sugar. Adjust anything to make the tortilla dough easier to handle for your own brand of flour, humidity conditions, etc.

Ingredients for the Flour Tortillas:
  • 3 Cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking powder
  • 3/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable shortening
  • 1 Cup Warm water (approx.)
Instructions for the Flour Tortillas:
  1. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Slowly add the warm water, mixing and kneading the dough, with your hands, until it no longer sticks to your hands, adding a little more flour, if necessary.
  3. Form into 12 balls, a little bigger than the size of golf balls, cover with a cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Use a rolling pin or your hands to flatten each ball of dough, between two sheets of plastic, into an 8" tortilla.. With a little experience, it actually becomes easier to use your hands!
  5. Heat a comal (griddle) or dry frying pan to medium-high heat.
  6. Cook one tortilla until small bubbles form on the surface.
  7. Turn the tortilla over.
  8. Press down firmly with a wide spatula or a thickly folded, damp towel, until more bubbles form.
  9. Turn the tortilla over again.
  10. Cook tortilla until slightly golden.
  11. Make each tortilla immediately before adding the fillings for the baleadas, rather than making any quantity of them ahead of time.
Ingredients for the Refried Red Beans:
  • 1 Cup Uncooked (dry) Small red beans
  • 6 Cups Water + additional for soaking
  • 1 Small Red onion, chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Freshly chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4 Large Green bell pepper, chopped (or 1/2 small)
  • 1 Small Jalapeño pepper, chopped (or 1/2 large or to taste) (optional)
  • 1 Cube Chicken bouillon
  • 4 Tbsp Vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1 Tsp Ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions for the Refried Red Beans:
  1. Sort through the beans, removing any small stones or other foreign objects.
  2. In a large bowl or pot, cover the beans well with water and soak overnight.
  3. Drain the beans and place into a medium saucepan with 6 Cups of water.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, cilantro, green pepper and jalapeño (if using it).
  5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary (though it probably won't be).
  6. Add the bouillon cube.
  7. Cook for 30 minutes more.
  8. Remove the beans from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  9. Purée the mixture in a blender.
  10. Heat about 1 Tbsp of the vegetable in the pan.
  11. Return the mixture to the pan.
  12. Add the cumin, salt and pepper.
  13. Cook, stirring constantly, for another 5 or 10 minutes, gradually adding the remaining oil.
    The finished mixture will be a thick paste.
Optional fillings:
  • Scrambled eggs (Probably the most common option, especially for breakfast, and my favourite.)
  • Mantequilla Crema (Somewhat like sour cream. Some American stores actually sell "Honduran Cream," but the closest thing in most stores would be "Mexican Cream." If neither of those is available, add 2 Tbsp heavy cream to 1/2 Cup sour cream.)
  • Sliced avocado (Especially good along with the eggs.)
  • Chismol (Similar to the Mexican Pico de Gallo - see below; Hondurans pronounce it without the s; in some areas it is spelled chirmol; they are each short forms of chilmole, but should not be confused with the Mexican chilmole paste that is used as the base for mole sauces)
  • Cooked sausage (Not at all like American sausage; not even like Mexican or Spanish Chorizo. – just different, and not really very good, so any attempt to substitute another sausage won't really be authentic.)
  • Carnitas (Small chunks of cooked pork.)
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Sliced raw onions
  • Other meats (Chicken, ground beef, and even hot dogs may be added, but usually only at places such as Mega Baleada or La Super Baleada that make outrageously filled – and outrageously large – baleadas)
  • Encurtido (Sliced carrots, onions, green peppers and/or jalapeños all pickled in vinegar, optionally including beets, cauliflower, and/or baby corn.)
Ingredients for Chismol:
  • 2 Large onions, diced
  • 3 Green peppers, diced
  • 4 Ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano – to taste
Instructions for Chismol:
  1. Mix the vegetables together in a large bowl.
  2. Pour fresh lime juice over mixture and mix well.
  3. Add a few teaspoons of vinegar to taste, and the spices.
  4. Place into refrigerator and marinate for at least one hour.
Ingredients for the Baleadas:
  • Fresh Flour Tortillas made immediately before filling
  • Refried Red Beans
  • Grated queso duro (or queso blanco or other hard, white Mexican cheese)
  • Other optional fillings
Instructions for the Baleadas:
  • Spread 2-3 tablespoons of refried red beans onto one half of the tortilla.
  • Sprinkle the cheese over the beans.
  • Add any optional fillings desired.
  • Fold the tortilla flat, in half and enjoy.
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by labradors (Thought I had posted...)
Very good info here, labs. Thanks for posting all of it. I'll give these a try one more time. Only tried once and wasn't too happy with my results, but maybe your recipe will work out better for me. Copied and saved!

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by Mare749 (Very good info here,...)
Please do try these with freshly-made tortillas, even if you choose some other recipe for them. Just don't make them the super-thin, mass-produced type you can buy in the supermarket. It makes a huge difference.

Since the time when I had started writing this, a couple of friends in the States have tried the Refried Red Beans and given them "thumbs up," so those should work for you. It's okay to add some more bell peppers and/or jalapeños, if you like, but they aren't usually super spicy. In fact, the places that sell baleadas usually keep bottles of Tabasco-style sauce handy for those who want to add more heat.

Good luck!
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by labradors (Please do try these ...)
Labs, I have two flour tortilla recipes in my book, 'light and thin' and 'chewy flour' - and your recipe seems to be a combination of both of them. The 'light & thin' uses water and no b. powder, the 'chewy' uses milk and b. powder.
Will have to try yours also.

Boy, do Baleadas sound good!

Also, I don't put cumin in my refried beans, will have to try that. Thanks for posting all this.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by cjs (Labs, I have two flo...)
Oh Jean I always put cumin in my refried beans. Oh, shoot, I put it almost all my beans - with epazote.
You only live once . . . but if you do it right once should be enough!
  Re: Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by Harborwitch (Oh Jean I always put...)
These sound so good, but I have recently had to come to the realization that I just cannot eat beans, they play havoc with tummy way too much. It seems as though they are an integral part of the recipe, though, and filling the tortillas with cheese and some of the options would be very good, just not baleadas.

my cooking adventures
  Re: Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by foodfiend (These sound so good,...)
Jean, If those two recipes are T&T for you, then go with the chewy one. Baleadas are not thin the way American "wraps" would be. Cumin is use a lot, here. In fact, in the spice aisles of the supermarkets, they sell combined (and either whole or ground) cumin and black pepper, and it's used as a single seasoning.

Sharon, I haven't seen epazote here, yet, but have recently seen some recipes (where else, but on El Gourmet) that call for it, so I'm going to have to look around more closely.

Vicci, it's a shame you can't have the beans, since they truly ARE the primary filling of baleadas, as you say. Without them, you'd just have some kind of soft taco (and the type and amount of cheese used isn't something that could be called a quesadilla). I've heard that cooking a little baking soda in with the beans can help with some of the digestive problems, but have never tried it, myself, since they don't bother me.
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by labradors (Jean, If those two r...)
That's what I was thinking also, Labs.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by cjs (That's what I was th...)
Labs, we have epazote growing as weeds around here. Seriously, my fields are packed with them!

I've used every way possible to make beans "like" me... at least a dozen different soaking-and-cooking methods, adding epazote, adding baking soda, and even quadrupling the recommended amount of Beano before indulging. Nothing works. And I swear, this happened the week after I turned 50... wah!!

Oh the other hand, a friend suddenly became allergic to alcohol several years ago. So maybe I should be thankful that my body decided to reject beans!

my cooking adventures
  Re: Re: Baleadas: VERY typical, popular Honduran food. by foodfiend (Labs, we have epazot...)
For all I know, it could be around here, somewhere, too (as with the achiote, lemmon grass, etc. that grow here), but I haven't heard it mentioned anywhere. Need to check.

So sorry about the beans. Sometimes, these things happen.
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?

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