Akara, also known as Bean Cakes or Bean Balls is a Nigerian delicacy recipe made with de-hulled (peeled) brown or black-eyed beans. Although Akara is popular as a breakfast meal, it can be consumed at any time during the day.
There are several ways to make this dish but the Nigerian Akara is usually made with peeled blended beans with spices and then deep fried
You need only 5 ingredients to make Akara:
- 1 cup of beans
- 3 scotch bonnet or habanero peppers (Atarodo)
- 1 medium onion
- Salt to taste
- Familipure vegetable oil for frying
- Peel the beans. Soak your beans for about ten minutes, wash the beans and peel off the coat by rubbing the beans in between both of your palms.
- Grind the peeled 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.***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, reduces 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 as a leavening agent to the beans particles, making them rise and somehow stick together. This will be like the yeast making the dough rise in Puff Puff or what folding does to cake batter.
- Keep stirring till the ground beans appears whiter and you can perceive its peculiar aroma.
- Add some water till you get the 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 diced 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 splatter during frying.
- To fry the Akara, scoop the mixture with a tablespoon 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.
Serve Akara with Akamu, Custard or Bread. The best bread to eat Akara with is oven-fresh, hot and stretchy bread like Agege Bread.lol!
Making Akara may seem like rocket science but with practice, you will perfect this recipe. If you do not get it right the first time, try again. Everybody has the same first-time experience with making Akara.