Akara (Nigerian Black Eyed Pea Fritters)

These fritters are made with black eyed peas, onions and peppers and are light, fluffy and delicious. Eat as is or with a dip of choice.


Recipe slightly modified from Life With Rozy


INGREDIENTS

1 pound (about 2 cups) dry black eyed peas

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped and divided

1/2 red onion, chopped and divided

1-2 habanero peppers (depending on your heat preference - I used only 1!)

1/4 cup shopped green onions

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Oil for frying (vegetable, canola or palm)


DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl, soak black eyed peas in enough water to cover them, for an hour. This will help loosen the skins and enable them to come off the peas more easily.


2. Pour peas and water into a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to break up the peas which will release the skins. Pour this mixture back into your bowl and add more water and use your hands to wash the beans (rub handfuls of peas between your palms). This will further loosen the skins. The skins will float to the top of the water and you can then pour off the skins, leaving the skinless peas behind in the bowl. Repeat the process of washing and pouring off water as many times as needed to remove all the skins.


3. Once all the skins are removed, put the skinless peas in a large bowl and cover again with water and allow to soak for an additional hour. This will further soften them.


5. Add peas, half the chopped red bell pepper, half the chopped red onion, habanero pepper(s) and a little bit of water (start with 1/4 cup and add in tablespoon increments if needed) to blender and blend on high until a thick batter forms. The batter should be the consistency of thick pancake batter that holds its shape in a spoon. NOTE: It is important to not use too much water as this can ruin the akara. It's better to start with a very small amount of water then add additional water and blend again.

(Watch video below for a visual of the entire process.)



5. Now add the blended batter and salt to a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment (I use Kitchen Aid) and whip on high for about 2-3 minutes. Or use a hand mixer. (You can also do this by hand with a whisk, which will take about 8 minutes.) The resulting batter should be very light, airy and fluffy, and the volume should have increased. Taste batter and adjust the salt if needed.


6. Add oil to large frying pan and heat to medium temperature.


7. Stir remaining chopped red bell pepper, chopped red onion and chopped green onions into batter.


8. Drop large spoonfuls of batter into oil. Batter should float on top, indicating that batter was whipped adequately. Once fully cooked on the first side, flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Flip once more if needed to ensure the fritters are evenly browned on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towel or kitchen towel.


Enjoy!




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