Akara - Brown Bean Fritter Canapés

Akara - Brown Bean Fritters Canapés
In one of my previous posts, I provided the nutritional profile on brown beans and details of how they are processed and eaten. (Read the full post here).

In that post I explained that one of the most common ways brown beans are processed or cooked is by milling the peeled bean shells, adding some vegetables and seasoning, deep fried and served as a breakfast meal/accompaniment. In this form, the fried milled beans are referred to as akara. Traditionally fried in red palm oil (which adds to the taste and flavour), akara is now more preferred fried in vegetable oil.

A combination of vegetables and sea-foods, particularly prawns, are added to improve flavour and texture. Akara is popular through-out West Africa and some parts of Brazil where it is called acaraje.

Out of my eagerness to serve akara other than for breakfast, I decided to get creative and I came up with today's recipe which I can report are delicious eaten hot, warm or cold and which can make excellent canapés or starters.

Funke Koleosho's Akara - Brown Bean Fritters Canapés
Try it out!....I have to warn you that you would require to be a little organised in the kitchen to succeed with this recipe. Also you would need to use the right utensil.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of Nigerian Brown beans (black eye peas can also be used. Also some use already peeled beans but I rarely use powdered or bean flour). 
  • 1 ramiro pepper (tatase) or half of one red bell pepper 
  • 1 scotch bonnet (rodo) chilli pepper (optional) 
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks (Beans and onions work so well together. The more the better but care must be taken not use too much. You must strive for a balance) 
  • Some finely chopped smoked mackerel fish 
  • Some sweetcorn 
  • Some freshly chopped spring onions 
  • Some peeled shrimps/prawns 
  • Some finely chopped fried plantain 
  • Some coconut oil for frying 
  • Some smoked ground crayfish (optional) 
  • Tomato paste 
  • 1 large egg 
  • Some stock granules (optional) 
  • Salt to taste

What to do:
  1. Soak beans in water for about 30 minutes. This will make peeling them easy. Rinse off all brown skin of the beans to leave the white shells. 
  2. In a blender, finely blend the beans, onions, pepper and chilli (if using). Add a cup of water to aid blending, add a little more if required. Take care not to create a watery loose blend. 
  3. Empty the content of the blender into a large mixing bowl. Proceed to mix the blend continuously for about 3-5 minutes. Believe me this creates a really good texture for the akara. Then add the egg and mix well again. The egg makes the akara hold together better. Also add 1-2 spoonfuls of ground smoked crayfish if using, 1 spoon of tomato paste, one or two spoonfuls of stock granules and some salt to taste. Give it another good mixing and add some water to adjust the consistency. Your final mix should have the same consistency as a pancake batter. 
  4. Use a really small frying pan such as a blini pan for frying. This helps to regulate the amount oil you use and also helps you achieve the miniature size of the akara
  5. Heat 1 spoon of oil in the blini pan and scoop some akara mix on the pan. Allow the akara to cook on one side and top with shrimps, chopped onions, chopped mackerel, sweetcorn, plantain (or any other toppings your prefer) in turns. Flip the akara to enable all sides to be well cooked and browned. When cooked, place on some kitchen towel to remove any excess oil. Serve on a bed of crisp salad leaves. 

Excellent served hot, warm or cold!

Enjoy!
Akara Canapés
Akara  -  Brown Bean Fritters Canapés

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