Pan-fried Akara

 

Growing up, Saturday mornings meant a breakfast of Moin-Moin (Steamed Bean Pudding) and Ogi/Pap/Akamu (Corn pudding) or Akara (Bean Cakes) and Ogi. Moin-Moin and Akara are typically made from black-eyed beans. The beans are soaked for some time, then washed to peel off their skins. The peeled beans are then blended with desired portions of pepper and onions. To prepare Moin-Moin, oil, seasonings and condiments like fish and boiled eggs are added into the bean mixture. This mixture is typically steamed in Ewe (Banana leaf), which gives it an added depth of flavour, but it is not uncommon to steam it in nylon bags, tins and more recently ramekins. Akara on the other hand is deep-fried, although it is equally protein-rich, its calorific nature makes it somewhat of a taboo for my fitfam stomach. All that oil? Hell nahh. To be honest the oil is certainly a part of its appeal, a real treat for cheat day but not a weekly staple.

The most time-consuming aspect of both recipes is the peeling of the beans, however as Nigerian cuisine evolves; bloggers like Dooney's Kitchen have invented tricks like using a food processor to peel the beans. A recent discovery of mine has also upped the ante, Bean flour. This flour should be available in your local African food store. No peeling or blending required, cooking time is cut in half and so is clean up. Being a bit traditionalist (don’t raise your eyebrows at me), I was a bit skeptical at first but after experimenting with this I can tell you that the results are great. I prepared Moin-Moin for my mum with the flour and you know what? She couldn’t tell the difference. I’m convinced that if I can win my mum over, I can win anyone over.

With the flour, the idea of Akara pancakes isn’t really far fetched from the original Akara recipe, in the sense that they are both essentially fried. The pan-fried "Akara" on the other hand takes an enormous portion of the calories off, they are extremely delicious and lets be frank they look prettier, and you know the way I feel about pretty food. The pancakes have a distinct similarity to Akara without all that added grease; they are fluffy, spicy and a tad crispy on the outside. The addition of dry crayfish gives it’s a unique flavor that blurs the lines between Akara and Pancake. I paired it with a spicy tomato sauce, which really heightened the pancake experience for me. My Saturday morning routine is definitely about to switch up, I do hope you all try it and let me know what you think.

Serves 4
You'll need:

1 cup black-bean Flour

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp palm oil

1 tsp chilli powder

1 egg

1/2 tsp dry crayfish powder

3/4 cup water

Salt

Seasoning cube (Optional)

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients till a smooth thick batter is formed. Heat a large skillet and lightly grease with some oil, pour about a quarter cup portion and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Serve hot with a spicy tomato sauce. Enjoy.

FoodGbemi Giwa