Fried beans and how we ruined dad’s Good Friday meal…
Tradition in our family has it that there absolutely must be fried beans – not to be confused with refried beans which is a popular Hispanic dish – on our Good Friday menu.
Fried beans are locally grown red kidney beans, which are cooked thoroughly and then dropped in hot oil until they turn crispy. We serve these beans with salt and pepper and salad dressing on the side.
You are probably wondering how we actually eat them. Fried beans are served as a side so we eat them with the poisson gros sel, plantains and potato and beets salad, which are the typical Haitian Good Friday menu. My favorite way to eat it is with the sauce from the poisson gros sel. There’s just something about the mix of flavors and crispiness that makes my tastebuds happy.
No matter how much we liked them, during our childhood, my brother, sister and I knew that the plate of fried beans had to be put next to dad who had to serve himself first. When our turn came, we always made sure to leave him some for seconds.
As you may have guessed by now, this tradition came from my dad’s side of the family. It always seemed odd to me though that dad would bring that specific tradition to our family table as this guy always picks out the beans in diri kole, our national rice dish, which to me means he’s not fond of bean seeds. Truth is his mother, my grandmother, used to serve fried beans every Good Friday, so dad passed it along to us. My aunt tells me that grand-mère used to add fresh parsley and vinaigrette to the mix before serving.
Now to get back to how we ruined dad’s meal…
This year, I decided to give it a shot with mom’s help. I must say that having had many failed attempts preparing them before – they were never crispy enough – I was counting on her to help me finally prepare them successfully. But she decided we would test a new method by frying the raw beans instead of cooking them first. And well, we failed…miserably. Not only did the beans burn, but they were also left uncooked. I had raised this concern when we were prepping the meal as beans usually take a while to cook, but mom had managed to convince me that the hot oil would be enough to fully cook them. Since that was not the case, We had no other choice but to remove them from the menu. And that is how we ruined dad’s Good Friday meal.
So, here’s my advice to you, if you ever try to make fried beans, make sure to cook them thoroughly before frying them. Or else, you might end up with a plate full of inedible raw burnt beans, like we did.