Akara: A Tasty Nigerian Bean Ball
Virtually every culture offers a cuisine in the form of fritters. A fritter, they say, is any kind of food coated in batter, either pan-fried or deep-fried. There is one brand of fritter that is often eaten to whet the appetite in many African cultures. It is a traditional meal common in most homes in the Western and Eastern Africa, yet it is almost home to the people of Nigeria. They love it- both young and old alike and most commonly consumed in the evenings. This tasty Nigerian bean ball is long associated with the Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration held in the United States in the honor of the universal African-American Heritage and Culture that takes place during the yuletide since from the late 1960's. Other activities also prevail during this time-out, such as candle-lighting and gifts-giving. Since the time that it was born by Maulana Karenga, the celebration remains a force to reckon with in the community of Africans both in the States and places that support the black nationalist movement, yet the breaking of this speciality in the league of fritters has been the quintessence of the tradition.
The bean ball, locally dubbed Akara, although has its variations in many parts of Africa, starting from the type of beans use, the one I find really yummy to eat is the one made with the brown bean.
What are the things you will need to make this exotic cuisine for one serving?
1/2 Tea Spoonful of Salt, 2 Cups of Cooking oil, Paper towel, 1 cup of Chopped or Grated onions, Deep-fryer or Skillet, A Scoop, 2 Cups of Beans, and a Blender.
- Put some part of the brown bean in a suitable container, pour in water, just enough to submerge the bean seeds, allowing for soaking for some minutes, preferably about half-an-hour.
- Drain the beans in a sieve. Remove the skin by rubbing the beans between your both hands. When much of the skin looks removed, rinse to get rid of all residual skin and drain again, almost leaving no residue attached.
- Place the beans into a blender and grind them until they form a thick paste (this should stick to a spoon), adding water as u would like it.
- Turn the paste into a bowl and, then whisk for approximately 3-5 minutes until the paste is circulated by air .
- You can now add a piece of the chili powder- some like it so hot, others prefer it mild.
- Salt and pepper can then go into the mixture.
- Beat the mixture until smooth, then turn in the chopped or grated onions.
- Heat up the oil in a deep fryer or skillet. It should be very hot, but not essentially smoking.
- Use your scoop to make small balls of the mixture and place a few in the oil at a time. Keeping the size all in uniformity will ensure they finish cooking at about the same time.
- Fry until each Akara ball looks nice and brown, then scoop out each ball from oil and drain on paper towel to reduce the effects of the fattening oil.
- The process continues until you have used up all of the mixture.
- Remember, you can decide to make this paste and then refrigerate for use within the next day or so. It certainly does not go bad easily.
You can give this a try, and it will be all finger-licking!