Memélas from Chiapas

January 15, 2012

Memelas with blue corn masa and black beans

Memélas made with blue corn masa filled with black beans and salsa de chile on the side.

I am in the Sierra Madre of Mexico in central Chiapas in San Cristobal de las Casas for the next few weeks doing recipe testing to veganize my friend Kippy Nigh’s vegetarian cookbook, A Taste of Mexico. This book features recipes from her restaurants, La Casa del Pan. Beyond removing and replacing all the eggs, cream, and cheese in the recipes, which are from Spanish influence, we are adding more traditional recipes from all regions, looking back to what was the cuisine here in pre-Columbian times. Although the original people of what is now Mexico were not strictly vegan, the protein basis of their diet was corn, beans, chia, and amaranth, foods that are indigenous to the area. Fruits and vegetables abound here with impressive diversity. We are collecting simple family recipes from the local people.

Kippy spreading black beans on an uncooked blue corn tortilla. Meméla cooking in the background on the comal.

Kippy spreading black beans on an uncooked blue corn tortilla with a Meméla cooking in the background on the comal.

While shopping at the local organic market we had picked up a kilo of blue corn masa and were pondering what to do with it. Rosie, who works in the family kitchen here, suggested her family recipe for Memélas, a traditional recipe combining a corn tortilla folded over with mashed beans as a filling, cooked on a comal over a fire, and served with a salsa de chile. This is an example of original, simple, humble food, that is portable, nutritious, filling, delicious, and absolutely vegan.

Folding the tortilla over the beans and pressing to seal before laying on the comal to cook.

Folding the tortilla over the beans and pressing to seal before laying on the comal to cook.

Below is a view overlooking San Cristobal at sunrise, living above the clouds at over 7000 feet.

Filed under: breakfast,Kid Friendly,Main Dish,portable food,wheat-free

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1 Comment Leave a Comment

  • 1. Ina May  |  January 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Looks really good! I like your blog!

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