Akara: A collection of 4 types of the ultimate Street food. 

Sometime back I shared tips on making great Akara balls  (You can look up the tips in this LINK). Akara is a simple delicious meal to make. However, you know how simple tasks can throw huge curve balls at you. Akara has shamed many a cook several times. This is my no fail recipe for great Akara balls. Check it out. 

Akara down in the South Western part of Nigeria is a street food you’d most likely find at breakfast hour. Vendors would likely be found hawking it with Ogi  (corn or guinea corn or millet pap or a combination of these grains) or with Bread or both. 

In this post I have made a collection of four methods of making Akara. All can be made in the comfort of your Home.

Enjoy my celebration of the Ultimate Street food.

  1. Homemade Akara  (Method 1)
  2. Homemade Akara (Method 2)
  3. Akara Osu (Method 3)
  4. Akara Elepo -Akara Oyo- (Method 4)


Homemade Akara ( Method 1)

HOMEMADE AKARA METHOD 1 

Recipe

(Serves 6)

(*all measurements refer to standard measuring cups and spoons )

  • 2 cups Beans (i used honey Beans)
Ewa Oloyin (Honey Beans)
  • 2 tbsp roughly blended pepper mix (i used 2 scotch bonnet -atarodo- and 3 small jalapeños -bawa/sombo/long tatashe- and 1 small onion)
  • Salt (to taste )
  • *Seasoning (optional, if using, just add to taste)
  • 1 cup of water (a little more if your beans isn’t blending well but not more than 1/4 cup but it could be less)
  • 1 litre vegetable oil for frying (You could use palm oil if making akara elepo)

Procedure

  • 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.
Kitchen Items you can use to mix your paste if you don’t have a mixer.
Steps 1 to 4 in Pictures
  • Once the paste is light and fluffy (the size would have doubled, if you are using a mixer, you’d achieve stiff peaks), fold in your blended pepper. *Add your seasonings and salt into the pepper mix before folding it into the paste* 


Step 4
  •  Using a deep pan, 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.
Pictures of Step 5
  • Once your akara is done, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the akara into a dish lined with paper towel or a sieve.

I have an earlier post where I extensively discussed   Tips for making great Akara balls  please check it out for more than I shared here.

Breakfast combo Akara and Custard

HOMEMADE AKARA METHOD 2


Recipe

* Use the same recipe as in Method 1
Procedure

  • Blend Beans/Peppers/Onions together to a smooth paste.

  • Mix the blended paste till air is well incorporated and the paste has doubled (or nearly doubled) in size.
  • Add salt and seasoning to taste while mixing when the paste has risen, stop mixing after adding the salt and seasoning.
  • Deep fry in hot vegetable oil, on medium heat, allowing each side to cook for equal amount of time.
  • Scoop into sieve or a bowl lined with paper towel .

Serve hot or warm.

 AKARA OSU (Method 3)


Akara Osu

If you have ever traveled through the Ibadan/Ife Expressway, you’d be familiar with this akara popularly sold at the old toll gate entering into Ile Ife. It’s unique for its pale colour as compared to regular akara. It’s quite fluffy and dainty and you can be sure to have bread sellers shoving their wares into your face, so you can pair your bread with the Akara (Risky Burger it is called).

A bit of History Lesson.

After I shared this post on Facebook, two of the readers gave me a bit of history lesson on AKARA OSU . 

Yinka KuzyCosy Fagbohun said,

“Akara Osu got its name from Osu. Osu is a small town immediately after Ile- Ife and they are known for akara to badt whether elepo or olororo.Even with ede/prawn(whole). I remember when I was much younger(not like I am too agbalagba na oo 😀 ) , we used to travel through that town on our way to the village in Ekiti. And I always looked forward to us making a stopover at Osu for some sizzling hot and yummy akara with bread.

O dun baje.

The spot they are now on old Ile-Ife isn’t where they have always been. They moved because of the Ile- Ife / Ilesa expressway that had totally cut Osu off ,which meant less travellers on that Osu route .So the need to go meet the mountain. “

Ife Watson said

“I kind of still disagree with this notion that they are the ones who moved. Because I know most of the people selling Akara there now are from Modakeke in Ife. And the original Akara osu wasn’t even this pale. Also,  there’s still a spot on the Ilesha/Akure express where Akara Osu is still being sold. I grew up in Ife that’s why I’m insisting on my explanation 😊.”

Recipe

  • 2 cups White Beans


  • 1 tbsp  blended pepper mix (i used 1 scotch bonnet -atarodo- and 2 small jalapeños -bawa/sombo/long tatashe- and 1/2 a small onion)
  • Salt (to taste )
  • *Seasoning (optional, if using, just add to taste)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 litre vegetable oil for frying


Procedure.

  • Follow the steps in Method 1
  • Heat up the oil and fry multiple of the balls on heat that is between low and medium, fry each side for not longer than 30secs turning it constantly till it down. You don’t want the balls to take on a dark brown colour.

Scoop with a slotted spoon into a dish lined with paper towel or a sieve.

Akara Osu is peculiar for its pale colour with faint specs of pepper.
Risky Burger (Agege Bread and Akara Osu)


AKARA ELEPO (Method 4)

Akara Elepo

Akara Elepo sometimes referred to as Akara Kengbe. It’s characteristic feature is the roughness of the surface and jagged edges.


Recipe

  • 2 cups Beans (i used honey Beans)


  •  2 scotch bonnet -atarodo-


  • 3 small jalapeños -bawa/sombo/long tatashe-


  • 1 small onion)


  • Salt (to taste )


  • *Seasoning (optional, if using, just add to taste)


  • 1 cup of water


  • 750ml Palm oil (Red oil) for frying



Procedure

  • Peel Beans and blend to a slightly coarse paste. You should feel and see little granules of beans when you run it through your fingers.
This is the texture the beans would have
  • Use the next steps in either method 1 or two. You can blend the beans with or without the pepper. 


  • Mix well to incorporate air, add salt and seasoning and use a tablespoon to scoop into the heated oil and fry till well cooked.  

 Serve hot or warm. 


SECRET TO GREAT AKARA BALLS.

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Good ol’ Akara
We all have several different methods for making the ultimate akara balls but this is my own personal tip.
Believe it or not as simple as it is to make Akara it has the power to disgrace even the best cooks if you break certain rules.

RULE 1.
Never add too much water in grinding
I remember when I was young when we wanted to grind peeled beans for Akara my mum sent us to the Mill with 2 separate bowls. One to collect the milled beans and the other for the water, so as not to add too much water to the beans.
NEVER let your beans paste be runny it would be impossible to redeem the akara as it would definitely turn out flat.

RULE 2.
Incorporate enough air
I have found that the chief key to achieving puffy fluffy akara balls is in the mixing. Mixing well allows enough air to be incorporated into the paste.
If you have a hand mixer or stand mixer your life has been made easy. Just use the whisk attachment and mix it for 10 – 15 minutes at medium speed or mix till the paste doubles in size.
If the paste is too watery from the start, incorporating too much air is a recipe for soggy, very oily akara, it would rise fair enough, but it will become like a sponge that has soaked  oil.
If you don’t have any of the above get ready to work those arms. Mix till fluffy.

 

*Personal tip
I don’t blend my onions or pepper with my beans. I roughly blend it separately and add salt and seasoning.
When the beans paste is fluffy add the roughly blended and seasoned pepper. What I do is that like with sponge cake I fold the pepper mix in three additions so as not to allow the paste deflate.

 

RULE 3.
Fry in a deep pan.
I have found that using deep pans instead of shallow pans give better result. So i always use a deep pan to fry my akara balls. Deep frying helps your balls to come out better.

*Please Note :
The oil must be HOT! This is a trick I learnt years ago. Put a very tiny drop of water in oil when you put it on fire. As the oil heats up it starts to make a little noise, you’ll know your oil is hot when the oil stops sounding.

I have tried several methods in the past including adding eggs to the paste and I have decide to stick to this method and it has never failed me.
Give this a try and give me feed back.
Enjoy.

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