Serves: 4 - 6
Eaten across West Africa, akara is a popular breakfast option in Nigeria. The Hausa refer to it as Kosai. In many parts of the country, it is possible to buy it on the street in the mornings and evenings. In its purest form, it is simply a blend of peeled beans, onions, chilli, salt and crayfish. Interestingly enough, it is also a popular street food in Brazil, introduced by West African slaves; there it is fried in palm oil and known as acarajé.
- 200g peeled beans, soaked in cold water overnight or for several hours
- 2 onions, about 200g, peeled and quartered
- 1⁄2 red bell pepper, about 100g, seeded and quartered
- 1 Scotch Bonnet chilli, about 8g
- Small handful of parsley, about 40g (leaves only, optional)
- 1teaspoon Cameroon pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 200ml warm water
- Vegetable oil for deep frying (palm oil may also be used)
- Rinse the beans and place in a blender, together with the onions, bell pepper, chilli and Cameroon pepper (if using).
- Slowly add the water as you blend to a smooth but fairly thick puree.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and whip it using a whisk for several minutes, to incorporate as much air as possible. This will make your akara light and fluffy.
- Fold in the parsley and salt (and any other additions) just before frying - this minimises the loss of air, and prevents the water and mixture from separating.
- Put the oil in a deep frying pan and heat it up.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop portions of the bean mixture into the hot oil. Fry until golden on both sides, drain on some kitchen paper. Keep the akara warm whilst you fry the rest of the mixture.
- Serve immediately with akamu (ogi) and/or bread.
Like all batters, this will benefit from resting for about 30 minutes before you fry the patties. I also whisk the mixture each time I start a new batch.