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Akara (Bean Cake): Nigerian Breakfast Recipe

I remember growing up and eating akara almost every day for breakfast.

Akara (bean cakes).

Akara (bean cakes).

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

2 hours

20 min

2 hours 20 min

Serves four people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried black-eyed or brown beans (you can also use mung beans or lentils)
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli or black pepper, ground (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • peanut or canola oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Soak beans in a large bowl of water for 10 minutes. Drain the water and place the beans in a food processor.
  2. Pulse/break briefly until beans are slightly broken.
  3. After breaking, pour the beans back into the bowl and add water. Peel the skin/black eye by rubbing the beans with your hands.
  4. Sift skins, and continue the process until all the skins/black-eyes are removed. Soak for a further 5 minutes or until the beans increase in size.
  5. Put the peeled beans into the processor. Add about 1/4 cup of water. Grind into a smooth paste.
  6. Pour the bean paste the the bowl. Add onion, salt, and pepper, and mix until the paste appears lighter, and you get a consistency that is not too thick or too light.
  7. Preheat oil in a frying pan or deep fryer, then scoop the mixture with a tablespoon and pour into the oil to fry.
  8. Keep stirring to release gas from the beans. This will make the mixture rise and float when frying.
  9. When the balls are light brown/done, remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  10. Serve alone or with custard, akamu (fermented corn starch or millet), or with a spicy dip.

Photo Tutorial

The beans after being ground into a paste.

The beans after being ground into a paste.

Frying the akara.

Frying the akara.

Drain the akara on a paper towel after frying.

Drain the akara on a paper towel after frying.

Tips for Excellent Akara Balls

  • To increase the chances of the bean paste sticking together when frying, do not add anything when grinding the beans.
  • Avoid adding too much water when grinding the beans.
  • Do not add the salt until you are ready to fry, because it will affect the leavening agent in the beans and make it go flat when frying.