The Akara is a deep-fried Nigerian snack and one of the most popular dishes in Nigeria for breakfast. Made with the combination of dark (peeled) or ground black beans or bean paste, fresh onions, pepper, salt and other spices.
It is known as bean pies, bean patties, fried beans or acarajé in Portuguese. Akara is also an excellent street food in Nigeria, as sellers can be found frying them at different times of the day. It is popularly served with ogi (pap) or fried yam.
Ingredients Needed For Akara
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Akara:
- 1 cup of Beans (black-eyed or brown beans or beans paste)
- Habanero peppers – 2 (also chilli peppers)
- 1 medium sized onion
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable Oil that will be used for frying
- Mortar and Pestle
- Deep Frying pan
Preparation | Direction On How To Do Akara
Dip the beans for about 10 minutes or overnight. Wash or pulse in a blender or rubbing the beans against both palms and draining the skin.
To pulsate in the blender, simply pour the raw beans into a blender. Add a little water and pulsate a few times to break it. Pour the broken beans into a bowl and rub between the palms of the hands to remove the skin. Add a little more water, so the skin floats upward. Pour the skin and continue repeating the rubbing and draining process until the grains are free of the peels. If you wash without the blender, simply soak and rub the skin between the palms, top up with water and throw the peels while floating upwards.
Then dip the beans in water again for 2 hours to make them soft enough for mixing. If you grind with heavy grinders, you will not need to dip the beans for long periods of time.
Grind the beans making sure to add as little water as possible. The water should be enough to move the blades of your blender.
If heavy-duty grinders are used, do not add water when grinding the Akara beans. Because, the less water is added to the grinding phase, the more the batter of beans will remain together during frying.
Note: Do not let salt come into contact with the grains you will use to prepare Akara until you are ready to fry it. Salt is believed to destroy the leavening properties of the beans. This is what prevents the formation of bean splashes during frying. Also, do not add any other ingredients while grinding the beans for Akara. It is believed that other ingredients, if added too soon, reduce the ability of the particles of ground beans to adhere.
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Cut the pepper and onions into desirable sizes.
Put some vegetable oil on the stove to heat up. The oil should be at least 3 inches deep.
Put some of the beans ground into a mortar. This should be the amount you can fry at once.
Mix the bean puree with the pestle in a continuous circular motion. You need to apply some pressure so you can energize the bean puree particles.
This stirring technique releases the gas which will act as a leavening agent on the bean particles, causing them to rise and in some way remain united.
Keep stirring until the ground beans appear whiter and you can perceive their particular aroma.
Verify that the oil is hot. The oil should be hot enough to sizzle, but not too hot. If it is too hot, the Akara will splash as soon as the batter of the beans hits the oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the onions and pepper to the bean puree in the mortar. Mix well.
Add salt to your taste and mix again. Salt should always be added just before collecting the bean mixture in the oil. If the salt remains in the mixture for long periods of time, it will destroy the leavening properties of the beans. This property is what makes the Akara float in the oil and prevent splashes during frying.
To fry the Akara, collect the dough with a tablespoon and slowly pour it into the oil. Soaking a spoon in the oil helps to reduce the splashes.
Fry the bottom until browned and turn over to fry the top side.
When the balls of Akara are completely brown, remove them and place them in a sieve lined with paper napkins.