HOW TO MAKE AKARA (BEAN CAKE)
Nothing warms up a Saturday morning like a plateful of old-time Akara (bean cake) 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.
Also known as Acaraje, Koose, black-eyed peas fritters or beans fritters. Akara’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.
- 2 Cups of beans
- Scotch bonnet pepper (Ata rodo)
- Tatashe (optional)
- 1 Maggi cube (optional)
- Salt – to taste
- 1 medium onion – chopped
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Step 1: Wash and peel the Beans.
- Step 2: Pour into a blender in bits with half of the pepper and onions and blend into a smooth paste with minimal water. (You can take it to the mill to grind).
- Step 3: Pour the blended beans into a bowl; add salt, chopped pepper and onions.
- Step 4: Mix for at least 10 minutes to incorporate enough air into the batter. You can use mortar and pestle, a hand mixer or a wooden spatula to mix.
- Step 5: Set a deep pan on medium heat and pour in enough oil for deep frying.
- Step 6: Once the oil is hot, scoop the batter into oil, you can use your hands, an ice cream scoop or a small spoon.
- 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
- Fry on each side until golden brown.
- Remove the akara balls with a slotted/frying spoon and drain on kitchen paper or newspaper.
- Repeat the process until the batter is exhausted.
- Your Beans paste must not be watery to achieve perfect Akara balls.
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.
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