The dish “Akara” (Black Eyed Pea Fritters) is particularly tasty and suitable for vegetarians. It is incredibly delicious, filling, crispy, golden, and enticing. In Nigeria, golden balls of Akara sandwiched between slices of soft white bread is a popular breakfast choice among families on Saturday. Some people also serve it alongside a bowl of porridge.

Other varieties of akara can be found in the diaspora and elsewhere in West Africa. It arrived in Brazil during the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade centuries ago, where it is known as Acarajé. The Nigerian dish Akara Ijesha and Acarajé are both similar; both fritters are made with fish, have a very crunchy outside, and are fried in palm oil. The batter for Akara Ijesha includes shrimp or prawns, whereas acarajé fritters are typically cut open, filled with the seafood, and topped with a nut paste and salsa.

Akara are available in a variety of sizes and forms, ranging from tiny, fluffy, and creamy fritters to larger, thicker ones. They can be fried in a number of different types of oils. The most popular variety of akara is what this recipe is for.


How to make Akara

To begin with, I soak the peas in water. With the skins now more pliable, it will be easier to remove them completely in the next step. Next, I put the beans and enough water in the blender to cover them. If the peas are at the 400-ml mark, for instance, the water should be at the 1200-ml mark. Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid overloading the blender, so if you need to peel a lot of peas, work in batches. Now run your blender for two seconds on the lowest setting before turning it off. This should be done twice more. By now, the shaft and the beans would have separated. In order to remove as many of the floating skins (shafts) as I can while still leaving the peas behind, I put up a colander over a bowl and slowly pour the liquid off from the peas. Pick out any peas that might have gotten through, put them back in the bowl, add additional water, and continue the process until the peas are skin-free. Ensure the peas are skin-free before blending because peas with skin produce crumbly fritters.

The food processor or blender swiftly blends the batter together: The peeled peas, fresh chili, onion, water, and salt are puréed until a thick, grit-filled paste develops (the grit gives the fritter’s external snap). Before frying, the batter is whisked one more time to aerate and lighten it, which results in fluffier fritters.




  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas (190g), picked of any debris and rinsed
  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 fresh habanero or Scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying (about 2 cups; 475ml)
  • Soft white bread, for serving



  1. Add 2 inches of cold water to a medium basin and add the peas. At least 15 minutes, but no more than an hour, should be spent soaking at room temperature (this short soaking time helps loosen the skins without overly softening the peas).
  2. Drain the soaked peas and place them in a countertop blender or food processor with 1 quart (945ml) of water. Pulse ten times for one second to slightly break up the peas. Pour into a medium mixing bowl and set aside for up to 30 minutes at room temperature (skins will float to top as they separate from the peas).
  3. Place a colander over a large mixing bowl. Pour soaking water slowly into the colander while keeping the peas in the soaking bowl with one hand; the goal is to remove as many of the floating skins as possible while leaving the peas behind. Return any peas that landed in the colander to the bowl, then discard the skins and soaking water. Cover the peas with water and repeat the process until the peas are nearly skinless (you may need to gently massage the peas with your hands to separate any leftover skins).
  4. Return skinned peas to medium bowl after rinsing in a clean colander under cool running water. Cover with fresh water and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes (this will further soften the peas for blending).
  5. Drain the peas and place them in a countertop blender or food processor. Combine 1/2 cup (120ml) water, onion, chile pepper, and salt in a mixing bowl. Blend for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides with a flexible spatula as needed, until a smooth, thick paste forms. Transfer the paste to a medium mixing bowl and whisk for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  6. Paper towels are used to line a rimmed baking sheet. Heat some oil to 350°F (175°C) over medium-high heat in a wok or Dutch oven. Using a heat-proof spoon, carefully scoop up about 1 tablespoon of batter and gently lower it into the heated oil until it is completely submerged and comes free from the spoon. Work swiftly to carry out the process with seven additional batter scoops (for a batch of 8). A slotted spoon can be used to turn the pieces halfway through frying. Fry for about 6 minutes, or until the akara are slightly puffy and golden brown on both sides. To drain, transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Serve fritters warm with soft white bread or just enjoy it alone as a quick snack.

By Elijah Hughes

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