The best Nigerian Akara Recipe.
Akara or black-eyed peas fritters is a popular Nigerian vegetarian/vegan delicacy made with beans mainly black-eyed peas. Akara, also known as beans cakes, beans ball, koosé, or acarajé, is a popular street food enjoyed across Africa and beyond. Click To Tweet To make Akara, you start by de-skinning the beans (black-eyed peas), then you blend it into a paste like you would for moi-moi, but unlike moi-moi, you will end up frying the fritters. Also, unlike moi-moi’s paste, and unlike what you may have heard/read, akara’s paste is usually simple – beans blended with onions, and bell peppers (or added afterward). That’s it!
Additionally, no need to add seasoning powder or cubes, curry, thyme, or rosemary in your Akara paste. No need for all of the seasonings that could overpower the hearty taste of these fritters. In today’s post, I am excited to show you how to make the best Nigerian breakfast – akara.
Making is as simple as 1-2-3 Step 1: Have raw/dry black-eyed peas on hand.
Step 2: de-skin/wash the beans like so:
Step 3: Blend and use the paste like this one to make the yummiest Akara.
The Ultimate Street Food.
Growing up in Nigerian, we look forward to eating these daily, this very popular Nigerian street food is always a choice of breakfasts for most families. While some people will eat this by itself (like my kids these days), I love pairing it with akamu (corn pudding), custard, or bread. Ever heard of Akara and bread? My husband loves to dip it hot pepper sauce – YUM! This dish, just like Rice and stew, pepper soup, and okra soup, reminds me so much of childhood.
With question, all you need for extraordinary family time is the best Nigerian Akara. Kids love it, adults love it, everyone is happy, problem solved! My kids and husband love Akara very much, and this only mean one thing – we make it more often (at least 3x every month!) The weekend is for akara, and that means bonding time with family as well. The house smells heavenly when these fritters are frying, and that warms up the heart too!
If you are ready, let’s make some Akara!
This Nigerian vegetarian and vegan delight is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Akara pairs well with corn pudding, bread, custard, as well as very delicious just by itself.
- Black-eyed peas (1 lb. bag or less)
- ½ - 1 Onions bulb
- 1 or 2 big Red (or orange) bell peppers (I like using red/reddish bell peppers.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Oli for frying (I normally use peanut oil, and at least 3 inches deep)
- Pour/add the beans into a bowl, add some water to cover the beans, then start washing the beans to de-skin it by rubbing the beans in-between your palms (this is the hard way to remove beans skins, and this method takes a long time).
- Alternatively, you can pour the beans in a big bowl, add water, and soak the beans for 10 -15 minutes (or more)
- Use a blender to loosen the skin: add a handful of beans and some water at a time and use the pulse setting to start and stop, without allowing the blender to go more than 3 seconds at a time. This will help the skin (of the soaked beans) to loosen. Then pour into a bowl; repeat the action for the whole beans, and then rinse off the floating skin. The skins would usually float to the top; they are lighter than the seed.
- The goal is to rinse off only the skin and not the (white) bean seed. Rinse thoroughly and set the clean seed aside. At this point, you can proceed to blend immediately or soak in water for up two hours to soften a bit more before blending.
- Wash/cut onions, bell peppers, and set aside. To the blender, add some beans, onions, bell pepper, plus little water (too much water will make your fritters runny, remember you will be frying them.)
- Then blend until very smooth; pour the mixture into a bowl. Repeat the above process to blend the whole beans.
- (Optional step if you have a mortar and pestle); add some paste into the mortar and use the pestle to "grind" in a circular motion. This eliminates air from the paste and further "prepares" it for frying. And if you do not have mortar and pestle, ignore, and just add the paste into a bowl, and use spoon preferably (wooden spoon) to stir.
- Then in small increments, add salt to the paste, stir very well to combine, and taste before frying. Be mindful not to add too much salt; a tiny bit goes a long in this recipe.
- The best part of the work begins; frying. Ensure that you add enough frying oil into the pan (up to 3 inches deep), and place on medium heat, allow the oil to heat up, but make sure the oil is not too hot.
- Use a tablespoon measure to scoop the paste and gently drop into the hot oil. Be mindful not fill up the entire pot with too many Akara balls. When the underside turns brown, use a fork or wooden skewer to flip the balls so the other cooks as well. When both sides of the Akara balls are cooked, use a skimming ladle or spoon to scoop them off the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat this step to fry all the paste, enjoy with family, and friends.
Usually, the exact quantity of the ingredients will depend on the amount of akara you want to make. If you are new to akara, you start with 1 – 2 cups of dry beans. Adjust as you wish. Look at my beans paste, and possibly model yours that way.
Do not overcrowd the pot while frying the fritters
Avoid overheating the oil; if it is too hot, the outside of the fritters might cook while the inside is still raw.
While frying the Akara, be mindful not fill up the pot with too many Akara balls.
Depending on the size of your post, add Akara paste to cover only half of the pot because the Akara will rise and likely double in size. They need space to cook properly.
Please do not add (too much) salt to Akara paste as you would do in regular meals. Akara requires a minimal amount of salt because it goes a long way, if not, your Akara will be too salty and almost un-edible. The trick is to add a little increment of salt and taste for flavor. Then you can add (small) salt according to your liking (or health need); you can also add more peppers, and then fry.
Just in October, 2019, I started on Instagram, Yippee! LOL, I did put that off forever, well I am there now, and I will love for us to connect on IG!
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