Akara also known as Bean Balls or Bean Cakes is one of the most popular breakfast staples in Nigeria. It is made with a combination of beans paste, pepper, onion and salt. You can’t pass a street in the morning without seeing this being fried; this shows the rate of its popularity. It commonly goes with ogi (pap), custard or bread
Akara can be made with peeled brown or blacked-eye beans. The coat should be removed just before making the akara not kept for an extended period of time, stored in the fridge or freezer, you may not like the outcome. At times we mess up akara while preparing without knowing where the mistakes were made. Note these important points to get just the perfect akara for you
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- Use freshly peeled beans.
- Add salt just before frying.
- Smoothen the beans puree with mortar and pestle before frying.
- Use a very small quantity of water when grinding
With practice, you can perfect this recipe. My first experience was awkward so don’t feel bad you messed up the first time. Everyone had same experience
Ingredients to Prepare Akara
- 1 cup of Beans (black-eyed or brown beans)
- Salt to taste
- 1 medium onion
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- 2 habanero peppers(also chilli peppers)
Direction to Prepare Akra
- Remove the beans coat. There are different methods of removing a beans coat. But first of all you soak the beans seeds. The length varies with the type of beans being used but as soon as some peel can easily be removed by rubbing against the palm then the beans is ready for the next level that is going coatless and there are different method of achieving that as stated earlier, they are; by rubbing the soaked beans against the palm till all coats are off. This method is tedious and time consuming. The second method is by using a food blender.and the last method is using a mortar and pestle
- Please ensure you don’t let salt come in contact with the beans till you are ready to fry because salt destroys the leavening property of the beans . This helps reduce the spattering of the beans patter whiling frying
- Soak the beans for at least 2 hours to make it soft enough for the blender but if using the heavy duty Nigeria markets grinder , you don’t necessary need to soak the beans
- Cut the pepper and onions into desirable sizes.
- Grind the beans using blender adding little water as possible to give the blender blades a smooth movement. Please ensure no ingredient is blended with the beans because it reduces the ability of the grinded beans particles to stick together. B: The less water added in the grinding stage, the more beans patter stay together during frying thereby reducing spattering
- Place your pan over heat; add the groundnut oil to heat up. The oil should be at least 3 inch deep
- Get the mortar and pour some quantity of the beans puree just enough for frying
- Then stir the beans puree with pressure using the pestle in a circular motion continuously so as to energize the particles of the puree. This is release the gas that acts as a leavening agent to the beans particles, which makes them rise and stick together. It does the same effect as yeast that makes puff puff dough to rise or what folding does to cake batter
- Keep stirring until the beans puree appears whiter and you can perceive its odd aroma then add some water to get a good consistency
- By now the oil should be hot enough to sizzle. Don’t allow oil to get too hot so akara does not spatter as soon as the beans batter hits the oil
- Once oil is hot, add the onions and pepper to the beans puree in the mortar and stir well.
- Next is to add salt to the mixture. Ensure salt is added just before putting the beans mixture ball into the oil. If salt stays in the mixture for a long period of time. It destroys the leavening property of the beans. The leavening property is what makes the akara float in the oil and prevent spatter during frying
- Next is to start frying, scoop the mixture with a table spoon and gradually pour it into the oil. When scooping the mixture into the oil, dip the spoon a little bit into the oil to reduce spattering
- Fry the underside till its brown then flip to the other side and do same too
- When the akara balls are brown all over, remove and place in a sieve
- Serve with akamu, custard or bread