Àkàrà is an african type of food made from beans or cowpea, it is also called Acara, Kosai depending on tribe/region in west Africa
It originated from west Africa and can still be found in various forms in Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Gambia and Sierra Leone.
Ingredients you need for Akara
You need only 5 ingredients to make Akara:
- 1 cup of Beans (black-eyed or brown beans)
- 2 habanero peppers (also chilli peppers)
- 1 medium onion
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable Oil for frying
Tools you will need:
- Mortar and Pestle
Procedure Before you fry Akara
Then soak the beans in water for 2 hours to make it soft enough for your blender. If you will grind it using the heavy duty grinders OR Plate milling machine in Nigerian markets, it will not be necessary to soak the beans for extended periods of time.
Remove the beans coat. It is important that you do not let salt come in contact with the beans you will use in making Akara till you are ready to fry it. Salt is believed to destroy the leavening property of beans. This is what prevents spattering of the beans batter during frying.
Cut the pepper and onions into desirable sizes then it is ready for Blend/grind.
- Grind the beans with your blender/grinding machine making sure you add as little water as possible. The water should be just enough to move the blades of your blender. The operators of the heavy duty grinders in Nigerian markets 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 some 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 in one go.
- Stir the beans puree with the pestle in a continuous circular motion. You need to apply some pressure so that you can energize the particles of the beans puree.
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 desired consistency.
Check to make sure the oil is hot. The oil should be hot enough to sizzle but not too hot. If too hot, the Akara will spatter as soon as the beans batter hits the oil.
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.
Important points to note when making Akara. Follow these and your Akara will turn out great.
- Use freshly peeled beans.
- Use a very small quantity of water when grinding.
- Smoothen the mix with mortar and pestle before frying.
- Add salt just before frying.
Procedure Credit: All Nigerian recipe
After making It can be served with other food such as Pap/akamu, Bread and so on.
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