Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Entrees: Chalupas

When Jim and I ran a bed & breakfast in Costa Rica for two months, the fabulous Nuria, one of the employees, taught me to make several wonderful Costa Rican (also called Tico) dishes.  By the way, I would call this a tostada, but since Nuria called it a chalupa, I will too. 

This simple combination of foods is bursting with flavor. I understand the temptation to take shortcuts with this recipe, but if you take too many you might as well go to Taco Bell and order a tostada.  The only shortcut I would recommend would be to start with canned black beans instead of dried, and follow the recipe from there.  The flavors of the fresh salsa and freshly fried corn tortillas are well worth the effort.


Serves 6.


To use dry black beans:

2 cups dry black beans (1/3 900 gram package)

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 2 limes, juiced (to taste)


Rinse the black beans and pick out any bad ones or stones.  Soak 4 to 5 hours in cold water.  Cook the beans, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic and limejuice in a large pot for 3 hours adding water as necessary or in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes.  Ticos prefer the beans to be al dente, not soft.  Beans can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several weeks.  This is the basic recipe for beans used in gallo pinto and several other Costa Rican dishes.


Refried beans:

1/4 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

1/4 bell pepper, diced

4 cups cooked or canned black beans, pureed

1 lime, juiced

water as necessary



3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced

5 limes, juiced

1/2 onion, diced

1/4 bell pepper, diced

salt to taste


18 corn tortillas, fried crisp

vegetable oil


Sauté onion, garlic, and bell peppers.  Add black beans and heat until warm, then puree the bean mixture.  Add lime juice.  Add enough water for beans to be a spreadable consistency.


Combine tomatoes, lime juice, onion, and bell pepper.  Add salt until the pucker from the lime goes away, about 1 tsp.


Fry corn tortillas in vegetable oil and drain on paper towels.


Assemble chalupas by spreading black beans on tortillas and top with salsa.  Serve immediately.