Pronounced as “Binch” Akara in Sierra Leone, this protein-packed snack falls under the “Fry Fry” category (which includes fried plantains, fried sweet potatoes, fried fish etc…), similar to fritay in Haiti.
I love how our cultures intertwine and connect through food.
The recipe for my Beans Akara is extremely similar to making my Moi Moi, differentiated by two different steps: in the batter preparation and the cooking process.
7 cups black eye peas, peeled and soaked in water for 1 to 2 hours
(I had some peas leftover from the last time I made Moi Moi in the freezer. Some of it was partially peeled but it’s OK if you have some of the black eye in the batter)
3/4 red bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1 large yellow onion
2 habanero peppers, or jalapeno (if you prefer)
(you can add more if you want your Moi Moi to be very spicy)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (and more for frying)
1/2 TBSP + 1/4 TSP black pepper
1 TBSP garlic powder
1/2 3/4 TSP salt
7 maggi bouillon cubes
5 TBSP ground boney fish
1 TBSP ground crawfish
1/2 TSP cayenne pepper
PREPARATION: BLACK EYED PEAS
Put your peas and 3 1/4 cup of water in a blender. Puree until the peas are in paste form.
Depending on the size of your blender, you can divide your peas and do two rounds.
This is a very important step and most likely where you might spend a lot of time, as it will determine the texture of your Beans Akra.
You want the batter to be smooth without the presence of any pea chunks.
You can also use the liquefy option of your blender to help with a smoother pea puree.
When done, pour in a bowl and set aside.
PREPARATION: TOMATO SAUCE
Rinse out your blender to remove any traces of the peas or if you have another blender, you can simply use it.
Add all of your bell peppers, onion and habanero peppers with 3/4 cup of water.
Puree, liquefy and set aside.
COOKING: TOMATO SAUCE
Pour your tomato sauce blend and oil into a saucepan on medium heat.
Add all of the spices.
Let cook for 15 to 25 minutes (stir occasionally) and set aside.
Note: the taste of your beans akara solely relies on how well your prepare and season the tomato sauce as it will be stirred into the black eye peas puree.
PREPARATION: BEANS AKARA BATTER:
In a bowl, combine your tomato sauce and your blended/pureed black eyed peas
Mix the above with your handheld mixer for about 3 to 5 minutes to add some air to the batter.
COOKING: BEANS AKARA
Bring some oil to medium heat in a skillet.
Note: skillet should be halfway full.
With a tablespoon or with your fingers, drop the batter (in the shape of little balls) in the hot oil and fry until golden.
Remove your Beans Akara out of the skillet and let them rest in a colander lined with a paper towel for a few minutes to get rid of the excess oil.
Plate and serve.
Hope you enjoy this yummy Sierra Leonean delight!