How to Make Perfect Akara (Koose, Acaraje)

Akara is not only enjoyed in Nigeria. It is known as Koose in Ghana and Acaraje in Brazil and everyone, irrespective of your country can prepare this and have a taste. This is why I have taken time to write an updated recipe after the one I uploaded 8 years ago.

Akara can be eaten as a snack and washed down with a chilled drink. The best drinks for Akara are Coke and Fanta. Just make sure the Akara is piping hot and the coke or fanta is chilled and you will be in food haven!

Nigerian Akara Ingredients

  • 3 cups black-eyed or Nigerian brown beans
  • 1 small red onion
  • Hot spicy pepper. Use:
    • Habanero Pepper or
    • Scotch Bonnet Pepper or
    • Fresh cayenne pepper
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1 to 1.5 sweet peppers (optional)

Notes on the Akara Ingredients

  1. Akara does not need lots of ingredients because beans comes with a natural taste you do not want to interfere with by loading is with lots of unnecessary ingredients. That means no crayfish and no seasoning cubes.
  2. Freshly peeled black eyed or Nigerian brown beans are the best beans for making Akara. Store-bought beans flour does not make great Akara due to the process they use in making the flour. Story for another day.
  3. The sweet pepper is for making Akara that is coloured on the inside. If you want the classic Akara that is white on the inside, skip the sweet peppers. You can also use Italian peppers or tatashe to achieve the colour.
  4. Habanero or Scotch Bonnet pepper is atarodo, atarugu or ose oyibo.
  5. Use tasteless and odourless vegetable oils to fry Akara. Vegetable oils sold in Nigeria and sunflower oil are good for this.
  6. I recommend red onions for making Akara.
  7. If you want to get a traditional Akara taste, fry with palm oil.
  1. If you want to get a traditional Akara taste, fry with palm oil.

Tools and utensils you’ll need

Please note that I do not recommend using beans powder to make Akara because it does not give great results due to the reasons I gave in the video below. So based on using beans seeds, the following are the minimal tools you'll need to make Akara:

  • Blender with at least 600W power to blend the beans. My current blender has 1200W power.
  • Kitchen equipment/tool to whisk the beans paste with. Use any of the following:
    • Mortar and pestle or
    • Hand mixer or
    • Stand mixer with whisk attachment
  • Sieves
  • Deep frying pan or pot for frying
  • Spoons (table, slotted and cooking spoons)

Before you prepare Akara

  1. Soak the beans in water for about 5 minutes then peel it using any of the beans peeling methods: by hand or with a blender. You can also crack the beans  to make the peeling easier by hand.
  2. When done, soak the beans in water for at least one hour to soften it. This is so your blender will grind it into the smoothest paste.
  3. Chop the onions and pepper into tiny pieces.
  4. If making the coloured Akara, chop the sweet peppers into small pieces.
frying nigerian akara

Golden Fried Akara

Directions for making the Nigerian Akara

The process of making Akara is a scientific one, it is better seen than read about so I suggest you watch the video below to get the full picture.

  1. After at least one hour, remove the beans seeds from the water and put in a sieve.
  2. Grind them bit by bit in a blender, using very little water. Watch the video below to hear and see my tricks when blending beans for Akara.
  3. If making the coloured one, add the chopped sweet pepper to the beans seeds, mix very well before blending.
  4. After blending, if you do not have a hand mixer or a stand mixer, pour in a bowl, cover and set it aside to rest for about one hour. If you live in a hot climate, 30 minutes should be enough. This is to allow the oligosaccharides, the sugar molecules in beans that helps with the forming of Akara balls and floating in hot oil to be activated.
  5. After leaving it to rest, bring it out and scoop the quantity you can fry in one batch into a mortar and mix it with the pestle (see video) till the beans paste looks fluffy and whiter. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, put the one batch back into your blender and blend again till it’s fluffy and whiter.
  6. If you have a stand mixer or a hand mixer, no need to cover the beans paste and leave for a while, just go straight to mixing. I whisked the one in the video below for 10 minutes. Do it till the beans paste is noticeably whiter and fluffy.
  7. Set some oil to heat up. Akara should be deep fried so make sure the oil is at least 2 inches deep.
  8. Scoop a quantity you can fry in one batch into a bowl. Add salt and the chopped onions and hot and spicy pepper. Mix very well. Adding salt to raw beans paste and knowing when it’s enough is a trick that is better learned by experience. First taste the raw beans paste. Add a bit of salt, mix and taste. If it still tastes raw, add a bit more and mix well again. Once the salt is enough, you will notice a change in the taste from raw to savoury.
  9. When the oil is hot, you need medium heat, scoop the beans paste into the oil. A well whisked beans paste should float on the oil. If it sinks, it means the beans paste was not well whisked, the oil is not hot enough, the paste is too watery, or all of the above. 
  10.  Watch the video below so you will not experience any of these.
  11. Fry the underside till you notice it browning and the raw top has increased in size showing that the inside has cooked (somehow). Then flip to fry the top side.
  12. It is done when golden all over.

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