Akara – Nigerian Bean Balls

Akara (acaraje)
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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.

Ingredients

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 (acaraje)

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.

Nutrition facts:

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).

Here are some nutrition articles you might like:
Common Vitamin Deficiencies
8 Science-Based Benefits of the Plant-Based Diet

 Akara (acaraje)

For kitchen items used in the recipe: Click here
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Jollof Rice Recipe
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Akara Recipe Tips

  1. 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.
    Broken and peeled black-eyed peas
    Broken black-eyed peas after soaking, and peeling
  2. 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. 
  3. 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

Crispy
Fluffy 
Savory
Delish
Vegan Protein
FlavoredAkara (acaraje)

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Akara (acaraje)
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5 from 2 votes

Akara - Nigerian Bean Balls

Akara is a crispy, fluffy, flavored, and savory black eye pea fritters that is divine to most Nigerians. Serve hot, alone or with a dip sauce.
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine African, Nigerian
Keyword Gluten free, legume, vegan
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 249kcal
Author Nnaja Okorafor, MD

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Breaking apart the beans makes peeling the bean shell easier and faster. Alternatively, you can make the Akara without peeling the shell. Use very little water to puree the beans to make sure you have a thick batter. Stir the Akara batter for about 5 minutes before frying to make it light and airy.
The nutrition fact is an estimate calculated using a calorie counting application.
Nutrition Per Serving (Servings - 6):  Calories 249, Total Fat 3.4g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 200mg, Total Carbohydrate 41.8g, Dietary Fiber 10.2g, Total Sugars 1.9g, Protein 14.2g, Vitamin D 0mcg, Calcium 84mg, Iron 3mg, Potassium 981mg

Did you make this recipe? Tag @theveganri on Instagram and hashtag it #TheVeganri

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christina
christina
1 year ago

5 stars
Tastes fab, I used it for my salad with it was so good

Barb
Barb
1 year ago

5 stars
What is nice snack. I was not as difficult as I thought it would be. My kids loved it. Thanks

Diran Adekanye
Diran Adekanye
10 months ago

Looks tasty. I Have to try these recipe.

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