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Akara – Black Eyed Peas Fritters

Akara (Black Eyed Peas Fritters) is a very delicious, vegetarian-friendly meal. It is crispy, golden, tasty, downright irresistible, and quite filling.

Akara served  with bread slices and hot sauce

Akara – Black Eyed Peas Fritters

Akara, which is also known as black-eyed peas fritters, beans fritters, or Acaraje, is a very delicious, deep-fried bean cake made from black-eyed peas paste.

These are quick, easy, and tasty and involves only a handful of simple ingredients – black-eyed peas, peppers, onions, salt, and seasoning cube. It is a vegetarian-friendly meal eaten in most parts of West Africa and Brazil. 

The origin

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.

Ingredients for making akara - Beans, Onion, crayfish, bell pepper, habanero pepper, salt, and bouillon powder

Akara – Acaraje – Koose

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 snacks, appetizers, and as a simple, comforting snack. If you are looking for a more westernised breakfast option that will also fit the bill, check out this recipe on how to make simple crepes.

How to make Akara: The setup on this one is extra-simple:

  • Soak for about 30 minutes or till the skin swells.
  • 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)
  • Blend the peeled beans with peppers, crayfish, salt, and bouillon powder (or cube).
  • Whisk until the batter becomes airy and fluffy. This will take about a minute to 5 minutes depending on the tool you use. Electric hand whisk takes about a minute to two, regular hand whisk will take about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the diced onions.
  • 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 (pap), bread, hot sauce, or just eat as is.

The texture is very important

It’s very important to be mindful of the texture of the Akara batter. Try to no blend too smooth, otherwise, the Akara will not form enough tiny air pockets which will result in dense Akara.

It’s also important to be careful of the quantity of water that is used to blend the beans. Too much water will result in a thin batter and this will cause the Akara to crumble inside the oil during the frying process. 

Don’t skip the whisking part, it is very important to incorporate air in the batter as much as possible before frying. This will help yield a light Akara.

How to serve Akara:

We serve Akara in diffrent ways:

Notes:

  • 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 flat and 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.
  • Two cups of dry black-eyed peas yield about 4 to 4 ½ cups of peeled beans, and this quantity will yield about 20 (a little more or less) pieces of Akara balls, depending on the scoop you use.

Other black-eyed peas recipes you might want to try:

Here are some popular names for this meal – Acaraje, Kosai or Kosai, Black-eyed pea fritters, Koose.

This post has been updated — first published in July 2015.

Showing the inside texture of freshly made Akara

How to make Akara (Nigerian Beans Fritters)

Akara is a classic Nigerian fritter made from bean flour. It is bite-sized, savory, crispy, and perfect for breakfast, potluck, or snacks.
4.68 from 43 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: African
Keyword: Beans, Black eyed peas
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 20 Pieces
Calories: 70kcal
Author: Lola Osinkolu

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black-eyed peas dry
  • 1 Small habanero
  • 3 ounces red bell pepper approximately half of one red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons crayfish (unblended) If you have it in the ground form you need 2 tablespoons
  • salt to taste
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup water for blending – a little extra might be required
  • vegetable oil Enough for deep frying

Instructions

  • Soak the beans in room temperature water for about 15 to 20 minutes until the skin is swollen.
  • Drain the water and place the beans in the food processor. Pulse the food processor a few times to remove the skin from the beans.
  • Pour the beans into a large bowl, add enough water, and gently swirl the beans around so the skin can float. Discard the skin into a colander. Repeat this process until the beans are clean.
  • Pour the clean beans into a blender, add the water, red bell pepper, habanero pepper, salt, bouillon powder, and crayfish, and blend until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into a large bowl and whisk it until it’s light and fluffy – hand whisk for about 3 to 4 minutes, or use an electric hand mixer for about a minute or two.
  • Add the finely diced onion and gently fold with a wooden spoon or spatula in one direction.
  • Heat some oil (enough to fry the Akara) in a pan on medium to high heat. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the hot oil, frying in batches to prevent overcrowding. Flip once or twice to ensure even browning—fry the Akara for about five to six minutes, or until golden brown on all sides.
  • Before removing any Akara from the oil, gently press them down to remove any excess oil.
  • Remove the Akara from the pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve with bread, pap, oatmeal, yogurt, or other desired side.

Nutrition

Calories: 70kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 141IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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Akara, Akaraje, Acaraje
Recipe Rating




adebayo

Saturday 8th of July 2023

good morning i really like your works kindly show us the dry bean cake thanks

Megan

Thursday 20th of April 2023

What do use use as a substitute for the crayfish to make it vegetarian? Obviously vegetable bouillon for the chicken bouillon.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Saturday 29th of April 2023

Crayfish is an optional ingredient in akara. You can still have a delicious akara, Megan.

Stuart

Friday 10th of March 2023

Ive included this dish for a Nigerian themed food night tomorrow. I made a batch of the Akara batter tonight to test and when I added the batter to the oil it sort of disolved - I mean fell apart. All I had left in the pan was a nice reddy coloured oil and the fried onion. Any idea what I could have done wrong? I am thinking of thickening up the batter with more blitzed white beans? Any other ideas?

Andreas

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

@Chef Lola's Kitchen, i have the same issue as stuart, altho under a little different circumstances. i don't have access to black eyed peas, so i'm using pinto beans instead. and i'm rather following "acarajé" recipes, but it's the same food, the recipe came from africa to brazil. my batter is surely not too watery, rather the opposite, it's very very thick. i'm afraid to pour in more water because everyone says too much water would ruin it. as it is now, it's not smooth enough to whisk in air, but it doesn't sink in the hot oil, so there is air inside i guess. i also miss heat instructions in every recipe i check. tried a lot now, from 100 to 180°C everything, always the same result, it dissolves before developing a crust on the outside.

PS: i'm using coconut oil because coconut fat is extremely unhealthy

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Sunday 30th of April 2023

If the batter is too watery, it can take apart. Ensure that the batter is not too thick or to thin. Also, make sure that the oil is hot before you start frying it. I hope this helps, Stuart.

Simon

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

Step #4 mentions "crayfish" but there is no other mention of them in the article or the ingredients list. Is this an error?

Lola Osinkolu

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

Hi Simon, I used crayfish, and I have adjusted the ingredient list to reflect it. Thanks for pointing it out.

ekene hilary

Tuesday 29th of November 2022

Can I peel the back today if I want to use it tomorrow and how do I preserve the beans I already pealed the back please

Lola Osinkolu

Friday 2nd of December 2022

Yes, you can, but be sure to refrigerate it so that it doesn't go sour. You can also peel a big batch and freeze it till needed.