How To Make Akara (Bean Cake); ingredients, process, warnings, more

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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.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Beans (black-eyed or brown beans)
  • 2 habanero peppers (also chilli peppers)
  • 1 medium onion
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

Texture

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.

Process

  • 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!

Warning

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

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.

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.