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Good Eats: Akara (Black-eyed pea fritters)

November 8, 2010
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Akara – or black-eyed pea fritters – are a cultural and spiritual food from west Africa. No matter where a person is from though, they LOVE my akara. Because they’re a favorite of a friend who recently gave birth, I offered to make her some for a job well done.

They’re extremely simple, but tedious – which is why they’re a delicacy. If you’re feeling adventurous and willing to try a sure-fire recipe, turn up the music and get your lil fingers ready:

Time to skin some peas!

These measurements are extremely approximated because I never measure when I make them.

What
Ingredients
2-3 c black-eyed peas
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt (really, to taste after all other seasonings are added)
hot chile pepper/pepper sauce OR pinches of cayenne pepper (to taste)
one-half teaspoon peeled fresh ginger root (or a few pinches of powdered ginger)
2 medium sized garlic cloves
Oil that can be heated at high temperature (peanut, palm, coconut, etc)

How
DAY BEFORE
Put the peas in the blender and pulse it on low 10-20 times to crack the beans.

Soak beans in a large bowl covered generously with water.

Refrigerate.

DAY OF
Call your mom, turn on music you can sing to, or invite over a friend to keep you company (read: help out). You’re gonna be at this next step for an hour or so.

Pour off pea skin afloat the water.
Continuously rub the peas in and out of water to remove the skin. This is the most time consuming part. Feel free to innovate a better way. This is my 2-bowl setup:

Once your peas are skinned, add all of the ingredients (except the oil) to the blender.

Heat enough oil for frying in a deep skillet.

Add enough water to blend the ingredients into a paste. Continue tasting be sure you’ve added enough seasonings (garlic, ginger, pepper, salt). The batter should be a little more flavorful than you’ll want the final product.

The batter should be thick enough to stick to a spoon. If it’s too thin, thicken it with breadcrumbs or a light flour (like oat or all-purpose).

Drop the batter in by spoonfuls. Fry til fluffy and brown.

Enjoy!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2010 3:09 pm

    Now this seems like a dish Kenneth would enjoy. But, he may very well be the only one between the two of us who has the patience to make it;)

    • November 8, 2010 5:34 pm

      I know! When I’m really organized, I skin a big batch and freeze some for later. I’d think that Noelle could help though. She might find it fun for a little while.

  2. November 8, 2010 3:12 pm

    Anayah,

    Those really look yummy! I will definitely have to try. What do you usually have with them?

    • November 8, 2010 5:50 pm

      That’s a good question. I usually make a chunky, spicy tomato sauce to go with it. We had a potluck yesterday though, and someone brought creamy peanut kale and stuffed bell peppers. They all went together perfectly. I’ll probably try to make at least one of those with them next time because they were fairly simple, yet tasty.

      You know I don’t eat any meat, so I wouldn’t know what goes well in that direction. However, in Nigeria, they sometimes add fish in the batter, too.

  3. November 10, 2010 7:38 pm

    this sounds so yummy! i can’t wait to try it out. thanks for sharing.
    Jeanine

    • November 13, 2010 1:08 am

      If you try it, I’d love to hear how it works out!

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