Akara is a crispy, airy, flavored bean fritters that is divine to most Nigerians. Akara is typically made with black-eyed peas, onions, pepper and seasoning. However, any type of beans can also be used.
I have always enjoyed Akara (bean balls) since childhood, however the first time I prepared this food was last week with my mother when she showed me how she makes her version of this delicately crispy food. I enjoy cooking with mother because it is a delightful mother-daughter bonding activity. She loves to tell stories, make jokes and give out advice using African proverbs. Every time I cook with my dear mother, I learn new things about her, her siblings, her upbringing, and life experiences. Because she has been through a lot in this life, I value her advice and opinions. One day, I will write a book about her, and I’m sure it will be a best-seller.
Akara is a breakfast staple in Nigeria that is usually eaten with pap (corn porridge) or custard. These days, I eat it as a snack by itself or dipped in Nigerian tomato stew sauce. Mother showed me her quick and easy way of making this delish Akara snack and I’m delighted to share it with you. I do not make this food regularly because it is deep fried, but it is a good snack to serve guests at your house party.
Beans have been shown to contribute to the health benefits associated with the plant-based diets. Beans are a source of important nutrients like potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, and zinc. They are also rich in protein, fibers, and resistant starch which all help in controlling blood sugar. Overall people that eat beans regularly have reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes (1).
Akara Recipe Tips
- When breaking apart the beans in with a blender, make sure most of the beans a broken up to help peel the bean shell easier and faster. Alternatively, you can make the Akara without peeling the shell. I have not personally tried this method, but I have seen it done this way.
- When you puree the beans using a blender or food processor, it is important to use too very little water to make sure you have a thick batter.
- It is important to mix and stir the Akara batter for about 5 minutes before frying. This step is just like whipping cake batter. It makes the batter light and airy and helps in forming a ball when frying. Also, stir the batter in circles before frying each batch.
Akara Final Result
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Akara - Nigerian Bean Balls
- 2 cups dry black eye peas
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 chili pepper deseeded and finely chopped
- canola oil - enough for deep frying
- salt to taste
- To break apart the beans, put small batches of the dried beans into blender and pulse at slow speed, 3-4 times or until most beans have broken up.
- In a large bowl, soak the broken beans in water for about 1 hour. The bean shells will float. Rinse off excess water which contains the bean shell. Repeat the rinse several times with lots of water until most of the bean shells are rinsed out. If needed, loosen more beans skins by rubbing the beans between your hands. Drain all the water.
- Puree the drained beans with 1 cup of water in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. You may need to do blend in 2 or more batches depending on the blender you are using.
- Transfer the puréed beans in a bowl. Add nutmeg, garlic, ginger, onion, pepper, and salt to taste. Stir very well in circles for about 5 mins to make the batter light and airy.
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Gently scoop large spoonfuls of batter into the frying pan to form balls. Fry over medium-high heat until browned on all sides, about 4-7 mins.
- Place browned beans ball onto a dish lined with paper towels and serve hot, alone or with dipping sauce.