How to Make Super Easy Guatemalan String Bean Fritters

I would flop down on my bed, my brain numb from four hours of intensive Spanish lessons only to be revived by the delicious smells coming out of a small, seemingly magical kitchen. I was attending the Antiguena Spanish Academy for a week to begin learning Spanish in Antigua Guatemala. I had become increasingly frustrated over the past year by not being able to communicate with the Central American guests  I hosted as part of my volunteer work for First Friends. So, I went to Guatemala for a week of immersive Spanish lessons. Not only did I add to my Spanish vocabulary, but to my cooking repertoire as well.

The school offers many housing options and I chose the homestay option where you reside with a local family. Better for learning Spanish and incredibly cost-effective, at only $120 a week for room and board. And better, I found out, for learning the local cuisine. I had been to Guatemala before and had never been served Enveultos de ejotes at any restaurant. Enveultos de ejotes  means  “Wrapped String Beans.” Enveultos de ejotes are essentially little bundles of cooked string beans, dipped in an egg batter quickly pan fried and served with a tomato sauce.

Modern Church Lady with Guatemalan homestay hostess, Isabel

My homestay hostess, Isabel, described how to make the bean fritters, but sadly my Spanish comprehension was inadequate.  So when I got back to the United States,  I did a little online research (links provided at the end) and what follows is my mash-up recipe for green bean fritters. I discovered a variety of batter options, some employing just egg whites, others using the entire egg; some with flour, some without. One even included adding a little string cheese to the string bean bundle.

At Isabela’s table, the beans were served with the tomato sauce on the side, but many recipes I saw had the fritters nestled into a thick tomato sauce. To accompany my fritters, I made a quick 3-ingredient chunky sauce that worked well. But you can used jarred sauce as well. Rice on the side makes it a fairly substantive vegetarian meal.

Here’s my take on Enveultos de ejotes:

Modern Church Lady Guatemalan Green Bean Fritters

Makes about 14-16 fritters

INGREDIENTS:

Green Bean Fritters:

  • 1-pound green beans 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon flour (for a gluten free or low-carb option-use Chickpea flour)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • ¼ cup Olive or Canola oil for frying

Tomato Sauce:

  • 28 oz can diced roasted tomatoes (any type of tomatoes work)
  • 1-2 inch of a jalapeno pepper diced (or skip if you like less spicy)
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced, rings separated
I used Chickpea flour because i follow a low-carb diet

INSTRUCTIONS:

For beans:

  1. Wash and remove the tips of the green beans (Even easier: buy pre-washed & snipped in a microwavable bag)
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook string beans 3-4 minutes for el dente beans. Drain and dry well on paper towels
  3. Separate eggs; add egg whites to a large mixing bowl. Reserve egg yolks in separate small bowl
  4. Beat egg whites on high until eggs foam; add cream of tartar; continue beating until egg whites form stiff peaks
  5. In separate bowl, gently break up the egg yolks
  6. Gently fold in the flour, salt, pepper and egg yolks until the mixture is a consistent light-yellow color. Don’t overmix! You want the egg whites to provide some structure to the batter
  7. Heat the oil in a fry pan until a drop of batter sizzles
  8. Take a bundle of 4-5 beans and dip in the batter and quickly add to fry pan. I found using my hands easier than a spoon for dipping. Quickly add to fry pan.
  9. Fry in hot oil, first on one side and then the other until the beans are golden brown
  10. Drain well on paper towels
  11. Serve green bean fritters on top of tomato sauce

OPTION: To make the beans more substantial, add a strip of string cheese or mozzarella to the bundle. I tied mine up with a little kitchen twine to keep the cheese in the middle, so it didn’t melt out into the pan and become fried cheese

Green bean fritters cooking away!

For sauce:

  1. Cook jalapeno dice and onion until onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add can of tomato dice and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally over moderate heat
  3. Use an immersion blender to form a chunky sauce. For a smoother sauce use the blender or if you prefer super chunk, just leave as is
Three easy ingredients for my sauce

ENJOY!

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