Tortitas de Ejote: Guatemalan Green Bean Pancakes
About this time of year — when the weather is hot and humid just like it is in Zacapa Guatemala — I crave fresh vegetables. And that means it’s a perfect time to make tortitas de ejote, a traditional Guatemalan food featuring fresh green beans in a pancake-style batter.
If you have a bounty of green beans in your garden and are wondering how to use all those green beans, then this recipe is for you. Not only is it super easy to make, it’s so delicious you’ll literally see bushels of green beans disappearing from your table.
And best of all, these easy-to-make bites of goodness can also be served as an appetizer.
Shopping in the Markets of Guatemala
In the markets of Guatemala such as the incredible market of Chichicastenango located 90 miles northwest of Guatemala City, there’s never a shortage of green beans and they’re especially tasty, crispy and bursting with fresh-picked sweetness.
Unlike other fresh produce such as watercress used in our recipe for tortitas de berro, you don’t need to disinfect green beans in an antibacterial wash such as Microdyn for this recipe as the green beans are pre cooked prior to being battered.
Tortitas de Ejote is similar to another popular Guatemalan dish called envueltos de ejote, which are whole fresh green beans wrapped in a light batter. My mother-in-law make envueltos featuring other vegetables such as pacaya (palm tree blossoms) or cauliflower. But tortitas de ejote is a lower calorie option as the beans are not fried in as much oil and they’re also easier to make as you don’t have to try to keep the green bean bundles together.
Nutritional Content of Fresh Green Beans
There’s another great reason to add green bean recipes to your list of dishes to make. Fresh green beans are a power food. They’re an excellent source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Copper as well as dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.
Combined with eggs for protein, this makes tortitas de ejote a very nutritional vegetarian dish to start your day off with. If you chop the green beans in advance and store them in the refrigerator, it’s easy to whip up a batch of these green bean omelettes in the morning for a healthy breakfast that has a bursting-with-freshness taste to start your day off right.
How to Make Guatemalan Tortitas de Ejote – Fresh Green Bean Pancakes
After removing the ends of the green beans, place them in batches within a food processor or chop finely by hand. Then chop the onions finely. I’m a big fan of the Braun MQ777 Multiquick 7 Hand Blender, Black as it cleans easily, is compact and trouble- free to use and, best of all chops vegetables finely without crushing them.
Once you’ve chopped the green beans, par boil them in salted water for three minutes, drain and plunge into icy water to stop the cooking process. Drain and mix with the onions. While the beans finish cooling and draining, prepare your batter, beating the egg whites until stiff and then adding the salt, flour and beaten egg whites to the beaten yolks. Fold the green bean onion mixture into the eggs.
Add oil to a non-stick frying pan or griddle … I love the Delonghi Livenza All-Day Grill as it has a very large grilling area and is easy to set up — and drop 1/4 cup of green bean batter onto the griddle to fry each of the tortitas de ejote until browned.
The key to making them crispy is to try not to pack too many green bean pancakes into the pan or onto the griddle at the same time.
How to Serve Tortitas de Ejote
While I love tortitas de ejote for breakfast, in Guatemala they are most popular for lunch or dinner. They are traditionally served with fresh tomato salsa, tortillas de maize, black beans and a salty cheese such as queso de Zacapa from Guatemala. You can substitute any crumbly white cheese such as Greek feta or Mexican cotija.
Another option is to place a stack of tortitas de ejote inside a crusty bun, slathered with mayonnaise or creamy avocado dressing and enjoy it as a vegetarian sandwich.
An easy recipe for green bean pancakes that's perfect for breakfast or a light lunch. You can also serve tortitas de ejote inside a crusty French roll slathered with mayonnaise or avocado
- 5 cups fresh green beans minced
- 1/2 cup onion minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons white flour
- Boil the green beans in water until tender but still crisp
- Plunge the green beans into cold water to chill. Drain the beans and allow to cool
- Mix the onion, salt and green beans together
- Prepare batter by beating egg yolks until creamy. Beat egg whites separately until stiff and then fold egg white into yolks together with salt and flour
- Mix the green beans and batter together, stirring lightly
Drop by large spoonful (1/4 cup) in a frying pan with oil and shape into patties
- Fry in oil for 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Turn and cook other side
Serve topped with chirmol (simple tomato and onion sauce) or any other salsa. I like red pepper salsa as it's got a bit of spice.
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