Akara

I’m really into bean fritters right now, so don’t be surprised if you see a multitude of fritter recipes on this blog in the near future.  I love them for many reasons – they taste good, they are super easy (though you do need to remember to soak the beans ahead of time), and there are probably a million variations.  They are a fabulous way to use up whatever veggies you have in your veggie drawer before your next trip to the store…

So, I will provide a recipe here and more in the future, but these are really just templates, because you can make them suit your own taste, the season, and what is available in your house at a given moment.  I made the following recipe earlier tonight and served it with sweet potato fries and another batch of the cabbage slaw I posted last week.  It served our family of four with a couple fritters to spare.  If you want lots of leftovers, double the recipe.  I kept them warm on a tray in the oven where I was cooking my sweet potato fries (at 400 degrees) and that made them extra crispy, which is a bonus in my opinion.  I am not sure, but I suspect they won’t work quite as well if you make the batter in advance, because the baking soda might lose it’s umph, but, what do I know? 

Most fritters also go well with complimentary dipping sauces.  I believe that akara is traditionally served with a  hot sauce made from peppers or tomatoes, but neither of those are in season and I didn’t have the time anyway.  They were good without it.  It does contain some hot peppers, but I use so few that these didn’t have too much of a kick at all.  If you family likes a little more, go for it.    These are pan fried, but you can deep fry them if you prefer. 

  • oil for pan-frying (I use olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup black eyed peas, soaked 24 hours
  • 1 small onion or 1 bunch scallions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (or just use more red pepper flakes)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • pinch cayenne, optional
  • 1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Sauté the onion in olive oil until it starts to brown, then add the ginger, peppers, and garlic and cook a minute or two more, until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the spices, cabbage, carrots, and parsley and cook until the cabbage is just tender; this will only take a couple minutes.  While the veggies are cooking, drain and rinse the black eyed peas and put them in the food processor with the salt, pepper, and baking soda.  Process until smooth.  When the veggies are done, cool them a bit and put them and the lemon juice into the food processor with the bean mixture.  Pulse until combined.  Heat a skillet to medium heat, add olive oil to coat generously, and spoon the batter into the oil to form patties.  Cook until you can see the bottoms are starting to brown and flip over to brown the other side.  Keep crisp on a tray in a 350 to 400 degree oven.  Serve warm and enjoy!

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