Akara (Black Eyed Peas Fritters) is a very delicious, vegetarian-friendly meal. It is crispy, golden, tasty, downright irresistible, and quite filling.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Akara burger: I need to mention this first. We take Akara and place it between a small loaf of bread and eat it like a sandwich. We call it African burger.
- Serve it with pap, oatmeal, or custard.
- Serve with a bowl of salad.
- Dip in spicy sauce.
- 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 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:
- Beans Porridge
- Moin Moin
- Rice and Beans
- Mashed Black-eyed Peas (Ewa Aganyin)
- Black-eyed peas salad
- Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe
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.
How to make Akara (Nigerian Beans Fritters)
- 2 Cups black-eyed peas dry
- 1 Small Habanero Chili
- 3 ounces Red bell pepper approximately half of one red bell pepper
- 1 small Onion finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 Bouillon powder
- 1/4 cup Water for blending - a little extra might be required
- 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, red bell pepper, habanero pepper, salt, bouillon powder, and crayfish, and blend into a paste.
- Pour the batter into a large bowl and whisk it 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.
- Add the finely diced onion and mix gently fold with a wooden spoon or spatula in one direction.
- Preheat some oil in a pan (enough to deep fry the Akara). Drop heaping tablespoons of fritter batter into the hot oil, frying in batches 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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