Akara, also known as bean cakes, bean balls, is a Nigerian breakfast recipe made with beans.
Beans (black-eyed or brown beans)
Habanero chilli peppers
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Before you fry Akara
Soak and wash the beans in water to make it soft enough for your blender, and if you are grinding it using the heavy duty grinders in the market and around the house, it will not be necessary to soak the beans for extended periods of time.
Cut the pepper and onions into desirable sizes
Grind the beans with your blender making sure you add as little water as possible. The water should be just enough to move the blades of your blender
Meanwhile, the operators of the heavy duty grinders don’t even add water when grinding beans for Akara. The less water you add at the grinding stage, the more the beans batter will stay together during frying, thereby reducing spatter. Also, do not add any other ingredient when grinding the beans for Akara. It is believed that other ingredients, if added too early, reduce the ability of the ground beans particles to stick together. Set vegetable oil on the cooker to heat up. The oil should be at least 3 inches deep. Put some of the ground beans into a mortar. This should be the quantity you can fry at once.
Stir the grounded beans with the pestle in a continuous circular motion. You need to apply some pressure so that you can energise the particles of the beans.
This stirring technique releases the gas that will act like a leavening agent to the beans particles, making them rise and somehow stick together.
Keep stirring till the ground beans appears whiter and you can perceive its peculiar aroma.
Add some water till you get the consistency.
Once the oil is hot, add the onions and pepper to the beans puree in the mortar. Stir well.
Add salt to your taste and stir again. Salt should always be added just before scooping the beans mixture into the oil. If salt stays in the mixture for extended periods of time, it will destroy the leavening property of the beans. This property is what makes the Akara float in the oil and prevent spatter during frying.
To fry the Akara, scoop the mixture with a table spoon and slowly pour this into the oil. Dipping the spoon a little bit into the oil helps reduce spatter.
Fry the underside till brown and flip to fry the top side too.
When the Akara balls are brown all over, remove and place in a sieve lined with paper towels.
Serve Akara with Custard/Ogi/Akamu, etc. The best bread to eat Akara with is oven-fresh, hot and stretchy bread.