How to Make Akara (African bean balls)

How To Make Akara

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My aunt, who is a fantastic cook, recently shared her recipe for akara with me. Her method is simple, yet produces delicious, light akara.

This recipe was begging to be shared!

So here it is. Thanks, Aunty B!


How to Make Akara (African bean balls)


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Akara is a delicious meal to have for breakfast or even as a snack. And … super fun to make!

In our family, we serve the akara with a spicy pepper sauce, but you don’t have to if you’re not a spice person. The akara tastes terrific even without the sauce.

In countries like Nigeria, akara is sometimes eaten with a breakfast porridge made from corn. This is the BEST porridge ever! You wouldn’t think these two items would pair well together, but they totally do.

Well, no need to beat about the bush. Let’s get down to it!


You’re going to need the following:


2 cups of beans (black-eyed or brown peas)

 Habanero peppers (or chili peppers)

One small-medium onion

Salt to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

An assortment of garden produce

Tools you’ll need

 A blender or mortar and pestle, and a mixing bowl

Mortar and pestle

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Soak your black eye beans (peas) for 1 hour or until the beans’ skin comes off easily when rubbed. Then sieve and pour small amounts of the soaked beans into a clean blender.

  • Pour water to twice the level of the beans into the blender.
  • You can also use a food processor or mortar and pestle for peeling the beans.
  • To use a food processor, press the Pulse/Turbo button on your blender or food processor for 1 second, turn it OFF, press again for 1 second, then turn it OFF. You can use speed one if your blender doesn’t have a Pulse or turbo button. Do this 4-5 times, and that is enough to peel the beans without blending them.
  • Repeat this for the remaining soaked beans until you get through the whole batch.
  • your beans should now be free of the skin and “black eyes“



 Once you’re peas are clean, give them a final quick rinse and then purée them up in your blender, food processor, or mortar.

Pour the blended beans into a big bowl or pan for mixing. This should be the quantity you can fry in one go.

Stir with the pestle or large spoon in a continuous circular motion. You’ll need to apply some pressure so that you’ll energize the particles of the bean puree. Keep stirring the ground beans until you have a smooth consistency.

Before adding other ingredients to the mashed beans, start heating your oil. (Your oil should be about 1/3 to half the level of a big, deep saucepan.)


Back to the Mixing!

 Add a little water to the akara beans and stir again. Your akara batter shouldn’t be watery. It should be a thick paste. Too much water and you get flat akaka that look more like pancakes! You want your akara to be round and fluffy, yet firm.

Add salt to the beans.

A Quick Note Here: If salt stays in the mixture for a long time, it’ll destroy the leavening property of the beans. This property is how the akara floats in the oil; it prevents splatter during frying. So, it’s best to add the salt last; right before you start frying

Check to make sure the oil is hot. The oil should be just hot enough to sizzle. However, if your oil is too hot, the akara will splatter and burn, and the inside will not be cooked!

How to Make Akara (African bean balls)

Time to fry

To fry the akara, scoop the mixture with a tablespoon and slowly pour this into the oil.  You can try dipping the spoon a bit into the oil. This helps reduce splatter.

Fry the underside till brown and then, flip to fry the top side too. When the akara balls are brown all over, remove and place in a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb the oil.

Serve with freshly prepared hot pepper and onion sauce.


Featured image photo credit: Immaculata Bites

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