Learn how to make Nigerian Akara, also known in other African countries as beans cake.
COOL FACT: Did you know that beans cake is also found in Brazilian cuisines? It is served especially in El Salvador. So, Yorubas call it Akara while Brazilians call it Acarajé.
For Brazilians, it is used as both a religious offering to the gods in the Candomblé religion and street food. Slaves from West Africa introduced the delicious snacks to Brazilians. Additionally, Akara exists in many forms in Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Benin.
Okay! Now, let’s move on to how to make a healthy beans cake that will impress your guests.
2 Cups Brown Beans
2 Red bell pepper
2 Scotch bonnet pepper (habaneros/spicy pepper to taste)
1 small Red onion
2 Seasoning cubes
Salt for taste
Vegetable oil or Palm oil (Healthy choice: this is important because Vegetable oil is healthier and less fatty).
- Sort the beans to separate the chaff from the beans. Note: To remove the skin, there are two methods: The hand method or The Blender method. The hand method is manual and challenging because it can take an hour to remove the skin. On the other hand, using the blender takes about 5-10 minutes..
- Hand Method: Soak the beans in water for about 10 mins – not longer. Next, peel the skin off the beans by rubbing them between your hands. Rinse with water so the skin can rise to the top of the water. Finally, sieve the brown skin out with clean water which leaves the white part that you need.
- Blender Method: This is the easy method. Simply add water and chop for about 5 minutes. This doesn’t break the beans but removes the skin. Sieve the brown skin out with clean water, and you’ll get the white part of the beans.
- Remove the seeds from the red bell pepper and wash.
- Place the washed beans (White) in the blender.
- Then, add the Red bell peppers, Scotch bonnet (habaneros), and onion into the Blender. Next, add a little water so the blades of the blender can move easily and fast.
- Put the mixture in a large bowl; add salt and seasoning to taste.
- Gradually, mix the paste for about 5 minutes to make sure the Akara comes out soft.
- Pour vegetable oil or palm oil into a frying pan and heat up.
- Spoon the mixture into the sizzling oil. To make balls, use a round spoon and scoop into the oil one at a time.
- Fry each ball until golden brown; Make sure you flip the balls often on each side to avoid burning.
- Next, remove balls and drain on an absorbent kitchen paper or paper towels.
- Lastly, cool and serve.
Enjoy with Ogi (pa) or bread! Or you may eat as a snack!
This article was published in October 2016. (2018) Now Revised and Re-published.