Bean Dishes, Breakfast

Acarajé (Akara with stuffing)

Tola had asked me to blog about Acarajé. Tola shared with me a beautiful part of her family history and how her grandfather had escaped slavery in Brazil and returned to Abeokuta. As such her dad who is now in his 80’s recalled that this is how Akara was made in his family while growing up in Abeokuta.

Acarajé is the Portuguese pronunciation for Akara. Made same was as our Akara/Kossai but fried with palm oil. When fried, the Acarajé balls are sliced in the middle and filled with stuffing called Vatapá. Vatapá is a shrimp paste that contains cashew nuts, peanuts, coconut milk, palm oil, vegetables and it pretty much varies from one cook to the other.

Though I was hesitant at first, because I’m not a sucker for Akara fried with palm oil, and I wasn’t sure i would enjoy the shrimp paste with cashews and peanuts, I decided to give it a try, because that is what foodies do anyways! Expectedly I didn’t enjoy the cashew and peanut shrimp paste, so I tried another without it and I really liked it.

Recipe

Acarajé

  • 2 cups Beans (i used honey Beans)
  •  2 scotch bonnet -atarodo-
  • 3 small jalapeños -bawa/sombo/long tatashe-
  • 1 small onion)
  • Salt (to taste )
  • 1 tbsp powdered crayfish
  • *Seasoning (optional, if using, just add to taste)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 750ml Palm oil (Red oil) for frying

Procedure

See Tips for Making Great Akara Balls here.
  • Soak beans and peel the skins off the beans till your beans is white to reveal the white inside.
  • In a blender, blend the beans till smooth. (*Don’t blend with too much water, 1 cup of water should be enough, blend the beans in small parts. If you are taking it out to a public mill, take a separate bowl  to collect the water*)
  •  Now mix the paste till it is very fluffy. You can use a ladle, an egg whisk or a mixer to mix the paste.  Mixing is to incorporate as much air as possible into the paste. The paste should double or nearly double.
  • Add salt and seasoning and
  • Using a deep pan or wok, heat the oil up and deep fry the akara, scooping several tablespoons in at a time.
  • Cook each side for not less than 2 mins and flip the sides.
  • Once your akara is done, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the akara into a dish lined with paper towel or a sieve
See more on my Collection of 4 types of street akara
Fried balls

Vatapá

My adaptation.
  • 250g shrimps
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes and red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped spring onions
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs (to bind the paste, alternatively use some flour)
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • Blend shrimp with coconut milk to a paste.
  • In a pot on medium heat, cook the shrimp blend till it comes to a boil
  • Add breadcrumbs, seasoning and some of your chopped vegetables, cook for 3-5 minutes and turn the heat off.
  • Save some vegetables to stir in.

Slice your fried bean balls in the middle and fill with the paste.

Enjoy.

Acarajé, Ogi, Coconut milk and some leftover Vatapá

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