Black Eyed Peas Fritters/ Akara/Accara

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 Hope everybody has welcomed 2013 with great fun. We too had fun and welcomed New Year with delicious home cooked meal and a bottle of champagne. I hope everybody’s dream gets fulfilled this year. It is custom in southern part of America to eat black eyed peas, pork and greens on the first day of New-year. Eating black eyed peas are supposed to bring Prosperity throughout the year and greens will brings money, and pork brings positive motion.  Since I won’t eat pork, I skipped that part. I made blacked eyed peas fritters as tea time snack and spinach-rice for lunch. I was not fan of mustard greens so used spinach and it is well received green in my family. Last year too I made black eyed peas salad and I got my son in 2012.
There is another story behind this tradition, during the American civil war the Union troops, especially in areas targeted by General William Tecumseh Sherman, typically stripped the countryside of all stored food, crops, and livestock, and destroyed whatever they could not carry away. At that time, Northerners considered “field peas” (black eyed peas) and field cornsuitable only for animal fodder, and did not steal or destroy them.
I was eyeing on the black eyed pea’s fritters for a while, and on New Year day, I thought, why I don’t make it. You need to plan ahead for this recipe; it is not just as easy as making a salad or sundal. I have grown up with black eyed peas in curries, sweet dishes or sundal but never tried fritters with it.
These fritters are called akara in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and akla or koosé in Ghana, Accara in Senegal. It also famous in rest of West Africa,  as binch akara, bean balls, kosai, koose, kose, and kwasi. It is commonly prepared at home for breakfast or snacks, or as an appetizer or side dish. Usually these fritters are served with spicy pepper relish.  They are also sold as fast-food by vendors on the street, in marketplaces, and at bus stations. The same recipe, with a very similar name, is also known in the Caribbean. In Brazil these fritters are called Acarajein the northeastern state of Bahia, especially in city of Salvador influenced by African cuisine. They are sold mainly by street vendors and tourist favorite one.
I was curious, because, in southern part India, we convert every lentil/beans into fritters, then how come we don’t use black eyed peas in our fritters list. I found that yes it is made into fritters in Andhra Pradesh. It is called  Bobbarlu vadalu , alasandalu vada and Raayalseema specially, usually served with chicken gravy. However there they do not bother to remove the skin.
However I made fritters as Akara/Accra recipe. You need to soak the black eyed pea’s overnight and next morning there will be a tedious jobs waiting for you removing to the skin of each beans. I found this video of removing the skin is easy,  She is just mashing the beans with pestle and washing in the running water. She repeats two three times until you removed the entire beans. I have seen somebody saying that you just need to agitate beans or rub in between fingers; however it is not easy for me.
Once you removed the skin of black eyed peas, grind them into a fine paste using 1 and ½ tablespoon of water. Don’t try to add any water to make soggy. Then add salt, Habanero chili  peppers , chopped onion, garlic, ginger.  I don’t have Habanero chili peppers, so used green chili pepper and cumin seeds as extra flavoring. I was able to make 30 small ping pong sized fritters, served with coconut chutney. My princess enjoyed it with her Ketchup.  If you like deep fried fritters, then try this. It is really easy to put it together except for the part of removing the skin. This is going to stick around my kitchen for long time.
Here comes the recipe. 
Day before you planned to make fritters soak the dried peas for overnight. Next morning using pestle mash beans and remove the skins of each beans. Skin will be floating easily, strain them using a mesh strainer. 
Grind the skinless peas into a fine paste mix chopped onion, garlic, ginger, green chili and salt.
Heat oil to 375 F spoons or scoop a ping pong size of batter into oil, fry them for about 6-7 minutes or until it becomes golden brown, remove from the oil transfer to kitchen towel for excess oil removal.
Enjoy with any spicy relish, I served with coconut chutney and Ketchup
                                                       Print recipe from here
Black Eyed Peas Fritters/ Akara/Accara
Adapted from this recipeand this recipe
Prep Time    20 minutes + 8 hours of soaking time
Cook Time    45 minutes
Serves    30 ping pong sized fritters
1 Cup  Dried Black eyed peas
3/4 Cup chopped onion
1 Green chili
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 teaspoon cumin seeds   
1/2  teaspoon of salt
11/2 tablespoon  water
4 Cups Canola Oil
How I made:
     Soak  dried black eyed peas for overnight.
   Next morning, using pestle mash the beans,  then wash in the running water so that skin will
floats freely in water strain and remove the skins of beans using a mesh strainer or hand.
Grind the skinless black eyed peas in a grinder using 1 ½ tablespoon of water.
In a medium bowl, to the ground batter  mix in chopped onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, salt and cumin seeds and set aside.
 In a thick bottom pan heat oil to 375 F, add a drop of batter to check oil is ready, if it is ready, dough will comes up  immediately. Then add ping-pong sized batter and fry for about  6-7 minutes  or until they become golden brown color, flipping in between.

  Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried fritters from oil and transfer to kitchen towel to remove                excess oil.

  Enjoy warm with spicy relish, I served with coconut chutney and Ketchup.
    • If you want to make traditional instead of green chili use Habanero peppers and skip cumin seeds
 I am linking this delicious fritters to Favorite Recipes: Lentil/Legume/Beans Recipes hosted here

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  1. says

    My mother in law spent nearly 3 decades in Nigeria……..even now she uses black eyed peas very frequently in Indian recipes. For instance , she uses boiled and mashed black eyed peas to bind fish kebabs. Great idea to make fritters out of them.

  2. says

    Hey Wish you a Very Happy New Year (I may be wishing u again lol)
    When the TV series Food Safari hosted Maeve O Mara was showing the African Food Safari I saw this dish on that show and have remembered since. Thank you for sharing this recipe in detail, have bookmarked it!

  3. says

    I’ll happily have a plate full of this crispy fritters topped with sweet chilly sauce rite now, love the way you separated their skins.

  4. says

    i tend to use black peas in salads or chillis but this is a great way to make them too. plus, they look so nice and crispy on the outisde, soft on the inside! if i stick a toothpick in each fritter…it would make great appetizers too…right?
    -abeer @

  5. says

    hi swathi, guess what- i have never eaten black eyed peas before and never knew that this akara is so popular in africa and part of south america-thanks for that info and the good tip on separating the pea skin.. your fritters look delicious, like a little spice too. have a great weekend.

  6. says

    Thats news for me that balck eyed peas is eaten on the few day of new year. And your fritters are fabulous. I wish I can also made snacks and bites at home but sad to say there’s nobody to eat these at home.

  7. says

    Happy New Year to you Swathi…The last pic tempts me to make these fritters immediately. I simply love the way you try out recipes from around the world and bring it to us..

  8. says

    Happy New Year to you Swathi…The fritters in the last pic tempts me to prepare these immediately…I love the way you try out recipes from across the world and bring it to us..

  9. says

    hi swathi! i firstly want to congratulate you. when i read about why and how you started ur blog i was amazed and you make such lovely food! i found ur pics in foodgawker and its amazing. I too have a blog, its called all to do with feeding babies (mine are 1.5 and 3.5 years) and our culinary adventures. i look fwd to ur next entry!

  10. says

    I love accras. In the Caribbean, we make them also but we add dried salted cod to the batter and I also like the Brazilian version which adds dried shrimp