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How To Make Fried Bean Cake (Akara) With Blended Bean From Scratch

Updated on September 26, 2014

Fried Bean Cake - Akara

Fried Bean Cake - Ready To Eat. Use images by permission only - ComfortB.
Fried Bean Cake - Ready To Eat. Use images by permission only - ComfortB. | Source

This hub is to introduce a very special, healthy snack that's very popular in Nigeria, West Africa. The snack, which can also be a complete meal in itself is called Akara, or Bean Cake.

Akara is a snack made entirely of the paste of blended beans. The beans' paste is usually seasoned with salt and pepper, plus some other ingredients Like chopped onions and crushed, dried pepper right before frying.

Akara is a very healthy meal that can be eaten anytime. It makes for a wholesome breakfast meal sandwich when paired with 2 slices of bread with the akara in-between, or with a hot cereal, such as, grit, malt-o-meal, cream of wheat, or 'ogi' (also known as 'akamu', or pap. A corn base custard like hot cereal). Akara can also be eaten for lunch or dinner with Gari.

Akara and Gari

Gari is a fine grounded cassava grain that's usually eaten as a cold cereal in water, or made into hot fufu meal called, eba.

When soaked in cold water with added sugar, gari can be a very satisfying, and refreshing meal, and even more so when eaten with 'akara'.

If you've ever eaten, or seen akara, you've probably seen it in ball-shaped forms, very much like donut holes. That's usually how akara should look. But, sometimes it also can be made flat.

Now, when I make akara, I like to make it flat like pancakes, since my kids prefer to eat it sandwiched between two slices of bread. So I'll be showing you the flat pancake-like version of akara or fried bean cake.

Akara (Fried Bean Cake) - A Healthy Snack

First, let's talk about the main ingredient in the akara or fried bean cake, the beans. Due to the significant amount of fiber and soluble fiber in beans, meals consisting mainly of beans are considered very healthy meal. You can get up to 13 grams of soluble fiber in 1 cup of cooked beans, and the soluble fiber found in beans can help to lower blood cholesterol.

Aside from the fibers, beans are also high in folate, protein, iron, and complex carbohydrates. Since the akara is made out of blended bean paste, the beans would have needed to be soaked, skinned, rinsed to remove all the skins, and then blended in a blender. This is a very tedious and long process, usually about two or more hours(preparation and cooking time combined).

But, thank goodness you wouldn't have to do all that. Because there are already bagged skinned beans, and even bagged dry powdered beans available for you to use. These cut down the preparation time by a whooping 1½ hours. You can find these ready-prepared bagged beans in most stores that cater to Africans, other ethnic groups, and in some oriental stores.

Ingredients Needed for The Akara

  • 2 cups red African beans/black eye peas, (skinned, washed, and blended into paste)
  • 1/4 cup onion, (cubed or diced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper, powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (Lawry's seasoned salt)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, (optional). Use only with powdered beans)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, for frying (at low to medium heat)

If Using Ready Skinned Beans in Bags

The already skinned beans will only need to be soaked, rinsed (to remove any dirt particles that may be present in the package), and then blended (I recommend using this if you really want the rich, appetizing taste closest to using the fresh beans for the akara).

You then mix in all the other ingredients listed above.

♦Follow Steps 2 - 6 in the Instructions Section (Frying The Bean Cake).

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If Using Powdered Beans in Bags

Substitute one and a half (1½) cup of the powdered beans for the 2 cups beans in the ingredients' list above. Using the powdered bean is the easiest way to make akara, as all you need is just to add water, plus all the other ingredients listed above to get the consistency you want for the paste.

♦Follow Steps 2 - 6 in the Instructions Section (Frying The Bean Cake).

The disadvantage of using the powdered beans is, it doesn't come close to the taste of using the fresh beans. Plus, you sometimes have to improvise by adding too many seasonings, such as, maggi (bouillion cubes) for taste.

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Left bowl - The red beans before soaking, skinning, and rinsing.  Right bowl -  The beans, skinned and rinsed, right before blending.  The blended beans sits in the blender, ready to be seasoned and fried. Images are by ComfortB. Use with permission.
Left bowl - The red beans before soaking, skinning, and rinsing. Right bowl - The beans, skinned and rinsed, right before blending. The blended beans sits in the blender, ready to be seasoned and fried. Images are by ComfortB. Use with permission. | Source

Fried Bean Cake (Akara)

5 stars from 3 ratings of Fried Bean Cake (Akara)

Using Red Beans With Skin On

For those who prefer to use these red (Nigerian) beans, first soak the bean in warm water for about an hour. The warm water softens up the beans' skin and speeds up the skin removal process.

You will need to scrub the beans between your palms to get the skin off the beans, rinsing and getting rid of the skins as you go. After doing this (scrubbing and rinsing) for about a dozen times, you should get all of the skins off.

Once the bean skins are all gone, it's time to blend the beans in a blender. Blend until it reaches a smooth texture with no beans bits (see image below).

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour 25 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 55 min
Yields: 6 - 8 servings

Deep Frying Akara

Remember, for a ball-shaped akara (fried bean cake), you can choose to deep fry bean cake if you prefer, just use a deep fryer, or deep wok with more oil in it.

Frying The Akara (Fried Bean Cake)

  1. Pour grinded beans out into a bowl and stir in all the other ingredients (salt, pepper, onions, and sugar).
  2. Do a taste test to see if you need to add more salt or pepper for your preference. Once the mix is okay to your taste, it's time to start frying the beans cake.
  3. Using a frying pan on low to medium heat, pour in the olive oil. Use your ¼ cup measuring tool, or serving spoon to drop the paste into the oil.
  4. Using a spatula (see video), shapen paste into a pancake form to make flat sandwich-size akara.
  5. Fry cake on each side for about 3 - 5 minutes, depending on cake size and thickness.
  6. Cake is ready when it's golden brown and raw beans paste doesn't ooze out of it when pressed with the spatula during frying.
The Akara (pancake style) during the frying process. Images are by ComfortB. Use with permission.
The Akara (pancake style) during the frying process. Images are by ComfortB. Use with permission.

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Author: Comfort Babatola - © 2013

Praise & Constructive Criticisms Equally Welcome!

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    • ComfortB profile imageAUTHOR

      Comfort Babatola 

      7 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @viking305 & alocsin - Akara is really a very tasty snack, healthy too. You won't be disappointed when you do try it.

      Thanks y'all for stopping by and commenting.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Never heard of these before but they sound exotic and delicious. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      7 years ago from Ireland

      This easy to make snack does look very tasty. I have never heard of Akara before reading this but it is something I am going to cook and taste soon.

      Shared and voted 5 stars

    • ComfortB profile imageAUTHOR

      Comfort Babatola 

      7 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @teaches12345 - Indeed, it is a delicious meal, and very filling! Thanks for stopping by. Your comments are always appreciated

    • ComfortB profile imageAUTHOR

      Comfort Babatola 

      7 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @Cat R - It's always good to try new food. Especially the healthy ones. There are African restaurant and groceriy stores in all popular US cities. They are the best place to find ethnic recipes and ingredients.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      This reminds me of corn cakes. It looks and sounds very yummy. Thanks for sharing.

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 

      7 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      I finally know what to do with all the beans in my cabinet! This sounds awesome and I appreciate the inside on some to me very foreign cooking. I always loved to try food from other countries, but while you can get all kinds of foods from all over the world, I have never seen an African restaurant before.

      Thanks for the great info!

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