Akara | How to make Nigerian Black Eyed Bean Fritters

We are starting the 3rd Week of BM#50 and I will be doing the theme "Pick one Category, do 3 or Do one from each category". Under this I had listed out three different pages from wiki and decided to do it myself too. When I was going through the list, I decided I would opt to do one from each category. I had great time reading through the different dishes listed out and striking out those that I can't make it myself.

The idea was to push and do new things and not to settle down with something already known to me. Infact I was looking more towards non Indian stuff than anything Indian. However when that's the case, it so happens that most end up being non veg based. Having decided to do one from each, the task become much easier to narrow down.

For today I will be doing from the List of Snack Foods. After going back and forth, I decided on the first one. Akara is a snack dish, or rather from what I read, is also more of a breakfast dish in Nigeria. If I am to be offered this for my breakfast, trust me, I would never skip my breakfast ever! I have always enjoyed the Mirapakaya Bajji with Uggani when I visit my SIL and totally love fried fritters anytime!
I am not sure how closely this is related to our Indian cuisine, in particular to Andhra cuisine. For one, Akara is deep fried fritter or vada as we can call, from black eyed bean. Alasanda as we call in Telugu, is very common in our cuisine. The famous Alasanda Vada is made with this ground bean with green chilies and onions.

Coming back to this snack, I remember Suma making this and I researched further on this to see how it is made. Deciding that the weekend would be the best bet to make it, I ensure I had the dried beans in my pantry. After soaking it overnight, I got on to the task of rubbing off the outer skin. On seeing me do that, Athamma came to ask what I was up to. Can you believe my shock when she told me that her mom used to do the same when they were kids? She went to on say that she stopped doing it as it seem too much of a hassle, rubbing those skin off.

It was always done that way, rubbing the soaked bean to remove the outer skin, later grinding it to a very smooth batter along with onions and chillies. Imagine that we have moved forward from that method and this one is still cherished in some parts of the world! The recipe called for ripe chilies and I was happy knowing that Amma had saved some, knowing I might always tend to make some dish with the ripe chilies.

I have a small pestle and mortar, which I used to peel off the skin, however used my mixer to grind it with onions. It turns out to be spongy and pillow in middle and crispy on top. Athamma was so happy remembering her childhood days through this dish.

All in all this dish was well received and yes we totally Indianian it by serving it with Murunga Sambar. How is that!

 This delicious deep fried snack is also called as the Nigerian Bean Cake.


Ingredients Needed:

Black eyed peas - 1 cup
Onion (chopped) - 1 medium
Ripe Chilies/ Green Chilies - 2 -3 as per spice.

Oil for frying
Salt to taste

How to make the Akara

Wash and soak your beans overnight in enough water. Change water couple of times and in pestle and mortar slightly rub on the beans.

Just apply enough pressure by pounding it to make sure the skin peels off. You will have to change waters for the light outer skin to wash away.

Once your bean is all peeled off, drain and using your mixer, grind to a very smooth batter. In the final stage add chopped onions and chilies. Blend once again.

Just before frying add salt.

Heat a kadai with enough oil, using a spoon, scoop down spoonful into hot oil and let it get cooked. Simmer for initial frying as the fritters need to be cooked inside.

Then turn over and cook on both sides.

Drain on a kitchen towel and serve with ketchup!
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