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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

N for Nigeria ~ Akara

Event: BM #44 , Around the World (A - Z series)  
Choice of Country: The Federal Republic of Nigeria
Capital City: Abuja  
Official Language: English

Nigeria is located in West Africa and is often referred to as "The giant of Africa" because of it's large population and economy. The name "Nigeria" comes from the Niger River, that runs through the country. Nigeria is inhabited by more than 500 ethnic groups and obviously it's cuisine consists of dishes coming from them. Wikipedia mentions that the cuisine uses spices, herbs along with palm oil or ground nut oil to create rich flavored sauces and spicy soups. Their feasts are lavish and colorful. They have a variety of street foods that is often barbecued or deep fried like this akara for instance.  

Akara are deep fried black-eyed pea fritters from Nigeria. I was contemplating whether to try these or not as black-eyed fritters / alasanda vadalu are a common street food in my home state, Andhra in India. However after going through the recipe, the method sounded slightly different than the standard Indian version and decided to give it a try. The black-eyed peas are soaked overnight and then skinned before proceeding to the grinding part. I have peeled my share of avarekalu when I was young but still the process of peeling off the skins is tedious. Employ your family members for the job during TV watching session. :) Coming back to recipe, skinned beans are ground into paste adding very little / no water. Then red chilli and onion are added and pounded in a wooden mortar and pestle until smooth. Then spoonfuls of batter are dropped into hot oil and fried until golden brown through out. I didn't have any variety of fresh red chilli on hand and so used green chillies instead. I ground the beans first in the food processor and then added onion, green chillies and salt and processed just until they were combined. (Recipe source: Here)

1 cup black eyed peas
3 - 4 chillies, chopped finely (the original recipe uses 2 fresh red chillies.)
1 big onion or 2 small onions; chopped fine
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

* Soak black eyed peas overnight and then peel off the skins. Grind the beans into a smooth batter, adding water just enough to facilitate grinding.
* Add the chillies and onions and grind again until they are just combined. Stir in salt just before frying.
* Meanwhile, heat oil for deep frying. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry on low flame until they turn golden brown through out. Serve warm.



Varadas Kitchen said...

That is a lot of work! The end result looks great!

Usha said...

Peeling black eyed peas is lot of work. Even I did my share of peeling with chikkudu and naupakaya, I think it is avarekalu in Kannadiga, growing up. Akara looks good and a nice teatime snack.

vaishali sabnani said...

Desk inning can be a tiresome job, but I am sure worth it. The fritters look tempting.

Pavani N said...

I made these for Brazil and had my share of peeling black eyed peas :-)
Other than the peeling part, these fritters sure are so delicious.

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Delicious and lovely looking Nigerian dish. Wonderfully prepared.

Manjula Bharath said...

wow fantastic fritters with black eyed peas :) they really looks so tempting , I just want to grab from from the screen now !!

Srivalli said...

Imagine going all the way to Nigeria and tasting something that's so close to us..:)..even we love averkalu and I peel them even now, it's an annual custom at home during the season....the fried fritters look so sinful!

Sapana Behl said...

Very delicious tea time snack .Looks so yummy..

Priya Suresh said...

This is one of the famous fritters even in Togo, i remember having this Akara at one of my friend's place. Addictive fritters.

The Pumpkin Farm said...

beautiful looking pakoras, although peeling the peas i agree is a lot of hard work, but i remember my mom doing it for something similar

Jayashree said...

Wow....you peeled black eyed beans? That sounds like a lot of work.
My experiments with food

Harini-Jaya R said...

OMG! peeling black eyed peas is quite a job. But I guess at the end of the day the result is worth the effort! Looks sinful.

Gayathri Kumar said...

I couldn't imagine peeling a cup of black eyed peas. The fritters look so delicious..

Pavani N said...

Same pinch, we made the same dish but for different countries :-) These sure were addictive and delicious.

Chef Mireille said...

I've had the brazilian accra and love them - these look so crispy and yummy

Priya Srinivasan said...

Is not peeling those skin a lot of work? i will try with any other lentil, it looks inviting though!! :)

Padmajha PJ said...

I guess the only difficult part of this recipe is the peeling! But the fritters look so crispy!

Archana Potdar said...

Peeling the avrekalu is so very tiresome. But if the fruits of my about is this amazing akara I am all for it. Great choice Suma.