Akara (Black Eyed Peas Fritters) is a very delicious, vegetarian-friendly meal. These are quick, easy and tasty and involves only a handful of simple ingredients – black-eyed peas, peppers, onions, salt and seasoning cube.
Akara – Black Eyed Peas Fritters
Akara, which is also known as black-eyed peas fritters or Acaraje, is a very delicious, deep-fried beans cake made from black-eyed peas paste. It is a vegetarian-friendly meal eaten in most parts of West Africa and Brazil.
Though it’s origin is said to be from the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria but somehow it has found its way to the hearts of other west African countries and even beyond.
How to make Akara
Nothing warms up a Saturday morning like a plateful of old-time Akara served with a bowl of pap (akamu – fermented corn pudding) or stuffed in a freshly baked bread loaf. They are also good for evening snack appetizer and it can easily be enjoyed as a simple, comforting snack.
The setup on this one is extra-simple:
- Soak for about 30 minutes or till the skin is swollen
- Peel off the beans with your hands (the hard way) or use a blender and pulse a couple of times to split the beans (the easy way)
- This is now blended until a smooth and thick batter is formed.
- Whisk until the batter becomes airy and fluffy
- Stir in blended pepper and onions.
- Season with salt and seasoning cube (optional).
- Preheat the oil and scoop the mixture by spoonfuls into the pan
- Fry till golden brown!
The result is hot fluffy fritters perfect for pairing with akamu, bread, hot sauce, or just eat as is.
- When making Akara, a little salt goes a long way, so be careful.
- You need very little water to blend the Beans, adding excess water will result in a flat and an unpleasantly soft Akara balls
- If you don’t have a whisk to mix the batter, you can use a wooden spoon to beat it will give the same result. You can even go the traditional way by using a mortar and a pestle it’s all well and good.
- A well made Akara should be Light, Airy, soft, and relatively rounded. When the Akara appears flat, it means enough air has not been introduced into the batter. That is why it is very important to whisk the batter for a couple of minutes before frying it.
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Here are some popular names for this meal – Acaraje, Kosai or Kosai, Black-eyed pea fritters, Koose.
How to make Akara (Nigerian Beans Fritters)
- 2 Cups black-eyed peas
- 1 Habanero Chili
- 1/4 Cup Red bell pepper measured out when diced
- 1 Onion small sized
- Salt to taste
- 1 Stock Cube
- 1/4 cup Water for blending
- Vegetable Oil Enough for deep frying
- Soak the beans for about 30 minutes till the skin is swollen and peel off the skin by rubbing it between your palms or simply use a blender by pulsing it a couple of times till the skin falls off.
- Put the beans into a large bowl and separate the skin from the beans by adding enough water and gently swirling the beans around so that the skin can float. Pour off the skins, into a colander. Repeat this process until the beans are clean.
- Pour the clean beans inside the blender, add the water and blend into a paste.
- Pour the batter into a large bowl and whisk together until it's light and fluffy. Hand whisk for about 3 to 4 minutes or an electric hand mixer for about a minute or two.
- Blend the Habanero, bell peppers and Onions in a separately and mix it together with the Beans paste.
- Add the stock cube and salt to taste (this recipe is very sensitive to salt so be careful a little goes a long way) then mix everything together.
- Preheat some oil in a pan (enough to deep fry the Akara). Drop heaping tablespoons of fritter batter into the hot oil, frying a couple at a time to avoid overcrowding. Turn once or twice in between for even browning. Fry the fritters for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides.
- It's good to press down the Akara balls a little bit just before taking them out of the oil to get rid of any excess oil that might have been absorbed during the frying process.
- Remove fritters from the pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
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If you make this Akara recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram and Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen