Bean cakes are a staple and vital part of nutrition in Nigeria, and West Africa as a whole. Historically brown cowpea and black eyed-beans are the most common to Nigerian food.
What is Bean Cakes?
Bean cakes/bean balls/bean fritas/akara is a Nigerian food made from beans puree, spiced with pepper and onions and deep fried to perfection.
The Yoruba’s call Nigerian bean cakes Akara, while the Hausa tribe calls it Kosai. It also goes by the name Acarajé/ Koose in Ghana or Acarajé in Portuguese.
There is a good alternative type of Nigerian akara that are prepared with palm oil and they are crunchy outside and soft inside. It is known as Akara Osu and they are tasty as the one made with vegetable oil.
Bean cake is a very common snack that you can eat any time of the day. Even though Akara is widely known as a breakfast meal, it can also be served as a snack or enjoyed as a light dinner with bread, akamu/pap/ogi, agidi/eko, garri or custard.
African bean recipe may seem challenging but, with repetition, you will perfect this recipe. The first time is always the hardest.
To make Akara, you need to, first of all, remove the beans coat just before making the Akara.
Akara/Bean Cakes Recipe
The recipe and method of making akara include:
- 1 cup peeled beans (black-eyed or brown beans)
- 2 raw atarodo (habanero) peppers- chopped
- 1 medium onion
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying
Directions on How to Make Beans Cake
Please Read: How to Peel Beans with Hand
- Firstly, mix the beans with little water and blend. Then, puree the mixture to a smooth paste
- After that, pour the beans puree into a mortar. Stir the beans puree with the pestle in an uninterrupted circular motion. This is to incorporate air into the batter.
- Thirdly, set a deep pan on medium heat, the oil should be at least 3 inches deep. Keep stirring till the ground beans appear whiter and you can perceive its typical aroma.
- Then, check to make sure the oil is hot. The oil should be hot enough to sizzle but not too hot burn the Akara or spatter it.
- Once the oil is moderately hot, add the onions and pepper to the beans puree in the mortar. Stir well.
- Add salt to your taste and stir again. Always put salt last before scooping the beans mixture into the oil. This is to prevent the mixture from scattering during frying and to rise and float in the oil as well. Add some water till you get the right consistency
- Scoop a ½ cooking spoon of batter into the oil. Gently, dip the spoon a little bit into the oil to help reduce spatter. Fry on each side until golden brown.
- Finally, when the Akara balls are brown all over, remove and the fried bean cake and place in a sieve lined with paper towels.
- Enjoy this homemade bean cake when HOT!