African Bean Fritters

I’m reminiscing about the days when my brothers and I used to go buy bean fritters for breakfast. On the weekends when my mom was busy, she would send us to go and buy bean fritters for us to eat while she worked at the back yard. A our backyard, my mother built a kitchen extension. It was where she baked and did the cooking for her catering services. Going to buy the bean fritters, was always a thrill. And the smell of fried hot bean balls molded into soft bread was orgasmic 🙂

Bean fritters is a popular street snack in some parts of Africa. In fact the Ghananians call their’s kose. It is made with black eyed peas; soaked and blended; then seasoned and deep fried. Meanwhile in Nigeria, we call ours akara and it is made with the use of sweet honey beans or brown beans. It is usually, soaked and the skin is washed and the beans blended into a creamy paste; then seasoned and fried. In fact, I’m dreaming of making some now as I type. The smell, wafting through the kitchen and the ever delicious combination with bread, suya or oatmeal. Please don’t say pap. I could never stand that thing 🙂

I remember growing up in Nigeria, my mother used to make me grind the beand using the grinding stone and I used to hate that chore. Chei Chineke! Those things were a pain to use. It was always easier to go to the nearby shop and pay to use their industrial blender. We usually had to pay between 10 and 15 Nigerian Naira to blend the beans and sometimes, my mom would let me buy snacks with the change. It depended on how she felt lol. Mothers sha!

These days, the possibilities are endless when it comes to making bean fritters. These days, you could use a regular blender and you could also add vegetables like kale, spinach and fruits like tomatoes to your blend. You could add chopped shrimp or meat into your blend; or you could even add any herb you fancy to your mix. Making akara doesn’t always have to be a pot of beans. I like to go the easy way of not washing the skin off the beans, but with this version, I washed it off.

Recipe below…

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cup of oloyin I,e. honey beans(any type of beans is okay)
  • ¼ cup of crayfish
  • 1 small ata-rodo
  • Half of a medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves(optional)
  • ½ an inch of ginger(optional)
  • one egg
  • oil for deep frying
  • salt or bouillon to taste

 

Procedure:

Instructions
  1. Soak beans for about 10 minutes or overnight and wash by either pulsing in a blender or rubbing the beans against both palms and draining out the skin.
  2. To pulse in the blender, simply pour the raw beans into a blender, add some water and pulse a few times to break it up. Pour the broken beans in a bowl and rub between your palms to remove the skin. Pour in some more water and the skin would float to the top. Pour the skin out and keep repeating the rubbing and draining process until the beans is free of the skins. If washing without the blender, simply soak and rub the skin between your palms, top up with water and discard the skins as they float to the top
  3. These days, you do not have to wash the beans. You can just soak and blend it until smooth using red or brown beans. Most nutrients are in the skin anyway
  4. After washing the beans, blend it with all the ingredients (except the oil, and salt) until smooth.  You may add some veggies to the blending process. For the plain fritters, you could simply just blended it without the veggies). Do not Blend with too much water. To have fluffy akara like mine, you have to be careful with adding water to the batter.
  5. Stir the blended mix with a whisk or mixer to incorporate some air into the batter. You may add the salt or bouillon once the batter is ready for frying.
  6. Heat up a deep frying pan or deep fryer with oil for deep frying. When the oil is hot enough; using a tablespoon scoop, pour the akara batter in little increments into the oil to fry and form balls. Fry each ball until golden brown and with a slotted spoon,  scoop out the cooked balls and drain unto a paper towel. Repeat the process until the batter is used up.
Notes: To have fluffy balls, you have to keep beating the batter in between frying
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