Introduction to Our Dear Akara
All hail the Nigerian Akara!
I’m even emotional as I’m typing this.
You see, one of the things that makes Nigeria an interesting place to live (?) is the street foods. OhmaiGod! That’s actually one of the things I missed about home.
Wait. Let me sing.
Oh my home
Oh my home
When shall I see my home?
When shall I see my native land?
I will never forget my home
Naija for life mehn!
Okay. Back to the Nigerian akara. Because that’s why you are here. Hihihi.
You see again, if there’s anything that Is common to the rich and the poor, it is the street foods. No matter who you are or what car you drive, you’ll never be too wealthy for some street foods, and akara is one of them.
People park their big cars and join the queue of Akara enthusiasts. Akara is amongst the list of Nigerians’ favourite breakfast menu because our dear akara is versatile. What can you not eat akara with? Akamu((pap), agidi (corn meal), bread, custard, garri (cassava flakes) or even eating it on its own (oninown) If you’re Nigerian, you’ll get the joke. LOL.
Even though akara is considered a breakfast option, it can be eaten at any time of the day. Akara has other names like beans fritters, beans cake, beans this, beans that… I choose to call it akara because that’s the best name for it. LOL.
The reason people buy akara on the streets instead of making it in their kitchens is because they want to escape the stress of the process. But I’ve not only discovered an easy way to do this, I’ve also discovered how to make the perfect akara!
I’m not one who loves stress, so you can trust me on this one. Since I discovered this best akara recipe during the weekend, I’ve been eating akara and bread almost every day. I also plan to fry another batch today because, as I’m typing this, my frozen peeled beans is thawing.
Yes. I peeled some beans some months ago and stored them in the freezer in three packs.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the perfect crunchy akara recipe!
Akara Ingredients for Akara Recipe
- Two cups of Beans (Black-eyed beans or brown beans). I personally prefer ‘ewa oloyin’ i.e honey beans. It’s naturally sweet).
- 1 Habanero pepper/atarodo (You can add more depending on how spicy you want your akara or how spicy the habanero pepper is. The one we buy in African shops here are very spicy. I can cope with two peppers but because I don’t want to end up eating my akara alone, I stick to one. Not that I can’t eat it alone, it’s just that there’s love in sharing).
- 1 large onion
- Vegetable oil for frying (Akara comes out perfect with deep frying, so make sure you have a lot of vegetable oil and a good sauce pan, frying pan or pot for frying).
- Salt to taste
- Your hands (LOL)
- Mortar and Pestle
- Grinding mill
Soak beans in water for at least an hour. Some people soak it overnight. They said it reduces gas. Well, I don’t know. But just ensure you soak it enough to make the skin easier to peel off and soft enough for the blender to grind(if you’ll be using a blender).
To peel the beans very fast, use your electric blender. Honestly, this is the joy of it all. It’s what makes the process faster. Just add a generous amount of water to the beans in the blender and use the pulse option not more than thrice. Separate the skin from the white inner with a sieve. All the skin cannot be removed, but it’s okay. If you don’t have an electric blender, just use your hand, mortar and pestle.
Pour the beans into the blender and add just enough water to make the blender work. This is an inevitable tip to making the best akara. Don’t add too much water so that the beans batter can bond well. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add water at all. I’m sure you don’t want to end up with stony akara that will hook your throat while eating. LOL.
Blend until a not-so-smooth paste is achieved. This is one of the tips to making a perfect akara. I didn’t like my akara when the batter was too smooth. I realized my akara came out crunchy and more delicious when the paste was not too smooth. Add salt to the beans paste and mix in a circular motion with a wooden stick, whisk or mixer. Mix properly to incorporate air into the paste and make your akara fluffy.
Slice onion and habanero pepper and add into beans paste. Mix well.
Add oil in a deep pan/pot and heat on medium heat. Oil must not to be too hot so that your akara will be cooked on the inside. If your oil isn’t hot enough, you’ll end up with soggy akara balls.
Add some slices of onion to the oil to know it is and also to give your akara a delicious taste and aroma.
Carefully scoop the beans mix into the oil with a well-shaped cooking spoon.
Fry on both sides until golden brown.
Remove from oil.
Enjoy your perfectly fried akara with bread, pap, custard, or agidi!
I eat it with microwave oven-warmed bread and it becomes akara burger. The taste is heavenly!