Sunday, August 25, 2013



WHITE BEANS --also known as frijoles,judias blancas or alubias blancas came to us in the Philippines via the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico in the 16th century...


Here in the Philippines, alubias blancas was served mainly to the Spanish friars, governadores and other prominent people at their banquets. It was cooked in rich red fresh tomato sauce and served with bread, cheese, wine, custards or flans, and their favorite European fruits like uvas (grapes), oranges, dates and figs.

White beans, along with other beans of various taste and color, are believed to have been cultivated in Mexico as early as 7,000 years ago. It was known by the name ‘ayocoti’ in the ancient Aztec Nahuatl language.

White beans, corn and tomatoes had for thousands of years formed the basis of the healthy traditional Mexican diet. White beans has high protein content and has a delicious, nutty flavor.

When the Spaniards came to Mexico, they tasted these nutritious white beans for the first time and they liked it. Even Hernan Cortez was delighted with it. He was a dashing 34-year old Spanish conquistadore who arrived in Mexico in 1519 during springtime. He was the man who led the expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire. He was the one who won Mexico for Spain.

Cortes had a young native Indian woman enterpreter from Tabasco, in history known as La Malinche. She would often serve Cortez alubias blancas cooked Aztec Indian style, in rich red fresh tomato sauce. Cortes would be very pleased - - both with the alubias blancas and the woman.

La Malinche was later to be his future mistress and mother of his son Martin. Malinche knew both Nahuatl language and Chontal Maya (Mayan Indian language). Through La Malinche, Cortes learned from the Tabascans about the wealthy Aztec Empire.

The Spaniards were amazed at how the native Aztec Indians could have a dish so delicious. They brought the white beans to Europe where it soon became known and cooked all over, with of course certain European adaptations like olive oil, paprika and basil.

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