Nicky, Digital Researcher, Africa Analyst
Akara Osu - West African bean fritters
Updated: Apr 18, 2021
Akara is a vegan street food popularly eaten in Brazil and some West African countries such as Nigeria. Akara is actually deep-fried bean fritters, deliciously crispy and crunchy on the outside, and soft inside.
Black-eyed peas are the most commonly used type of beans for preparing Akara. This dish is very filling and can be enjoyed as a snack or a full meal with a side of savory sauce or custard as dip. They're best enjoyed when warm and crispy.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
2 cups of peeled beans
half an onion
1 piece bell pepper
1 - 2 scotch bonnet/habanero pepper/ chili - depending on your tolerance
Salt - add salt to your liking
Crayfish - optional
Palm oil - for deep frying
When you have finished peeling the beans, I suggest that you leave it to soak for a while to allow it get soft enough to be blended without water.
Attach the knife blade to your food processor and pour in the beans
Turn the dial to maximum and blend the beans until it forms a paste. You want it to be smooth, but not too smooth. The beans would not be grainy, but in paste form, just as you would with a grinding stone.
With your bean paste ready, now blend the pepper. No water, you want a rough chop. Rough enough that some of the natural water content of the pepper will make it form a paste, but you will still be able to see slivers of the components
Heat up enough palm oil in your Wok. While you whip air into the bean paste, the oil will be warming up ready for deep frying.
Transfer the bean paste into a stand mixer, attach the balloon whisk and let the engine run for 5 - 7 minutes. You will see the bean paste more than double if not triple in size and it becomes so light, it resembles butter cream. If you don't have a stand or hand mixer, use the whisk attachment of your food processor. If you doing by hand stir in circular motions in one direction only until the paste is fluffy.
Add about 4 tablespoons of the pepper paste.
Whisk again for another minute or two.
Scoop with your hands or a spoon into the hot oil. Always remember to do a tester, to check if the oil is hot enough, before frying a batch
When the oil is hot enough do you add salt to the mixture, because salt leaches out water, if you leave the paste salted waiting for the oil to get hot, water will start to leach out and make the paste heavy. All that air you whisked in will collapse, and your akara will be dense and have a funny shape.
Salt to your taste, then fry. If your bean paste is fluffy enough, it won't even sink into the oil. It will float immediately. This ensures that the akara doesn't absorb too much oil at al