Antiguan Black Bean Cakes: My Changed Opinion on Jalapeños

Antiguan Black Bean Cakes

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These Antiguan Black Bean Cakes are for everyone out there scared of a jalapeño. I was you, once, but these black bean cakes have changed me. Read on to hear about my change of heart in regards to the once-feared jalapeño pepper!

I have a confession… I hate spicy food. Yes, I know, I know. I’m cooking a meal from every country in the world, so I’m going to have to get used to it. For those of you out there that enjoy the spice, I envy you. I want to be like you! But I just can’t bring myself to eat something that makes my mouth burn. I don’t enjoy being in pain when I eat; it’s as simple as that.

I also know, though, that liking spicy food opens up an entire world of flavors. Eaters that enjoy the heat can savor anything that’s put in front of them; I want to be the same way. It’s proving difficult, though, because whenever I confront with a spicy food, I run away and hide.

What about the Jalapeños in the Antiguan Black Bean Cakes?

When I decided to make these Antiguan Black Bean Cakes, I saw the jalapeños in the recipe and knew that this recipe was my “spicy” starting point (SPOILER ALERT: I was wrong and these black bean cakes are NOT spicy whatsoever). As I was grocery shopping, I approached the “pepper” section and reluctantly plucked a jalepeño from the shelf. I gingerly placed it my cart, accompanied by a visible wince, and tried to convince myself that I probably wouldn’t COMPLETELY die.

The recipe that I followed originally called for an entire jalapeño, but I was being a baby. I scraped the seeds out of the pepper, chopped it up, and decided to only put half of the recommended amount in the recipe.

When the Antiguan Black Bean Cakes were finally ready to eat, I grabbed one off of the plate and took a bite. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t GREAT. “Thank God,” I thought to myself, though, “there weren’t any jalapeños in that bite.”

I took another bite, but this time OH GOD, OH MY GOD. IT’S A JALAPENO. SOMEBODY PRAY FOR ME. I’M GOING TO DIE. WAIT. WAIT? Wait… This isn’t spicy. Hey, this isn’t half bad!  WAIT! That bite was infinitely better than the bite before!

A Changed Woman

Well, folks, the proof is in the pudding. The jalapeños are the stars of this dish. If you’re fearing the jalapeño like I was, don’t. The spicy part of the jalapeño is the seeds, so removing the seeds makes these Antiguan Black Bean Cakes as mild as can be. I wish I had put double the jalapeños in. Actually, I wish I had put quadruple the jalapeños in.

I faced a fear this weekend, and my taste buds were rewarded with an expanded flavor profile! At least I’m not scared of jalapeños anymore. Now it’s time to start working on some actual spice…

Antiguan Black Bean Cakes

Antiguan Black Bean Cakes are made by coating a black bean mixture with cornmeal and frying on the stove. They are filled with jalapeños and are the perfect side dish for seafood! 

Course Appetizer
Servings 5 servings


  • 2 cups canned black beans
  • 1/2 cup white onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


  1. Grind beans in a blender to a smooth paste.

  2. Stir in onions, garlic, chile, spices, and egg, mixing until fully combined.

  3. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan over medium heat. 

  4. Place cornmeal in a bowl. Drop a tablespoon of bean mixture in the bowl, turning carefully to coat in cornmeal. Transfer the bean mixture to the pan and fry in the hot oil.

  5. Repeat as necessary and enjoy. 

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from AtoZ World Travel

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