How to Make Akara

Two Parts:Preparing the IngredientsMaking Your Akara

A popular Nigerian snack, these spicy fried bean balls are often enjoyed at breakfast time too. Full of protein, they're tasty and filling. You can find the ingredients in any well-stocked grocery store.


  • 3 cups of dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 chili peppers of your choice, chopped (with their seeds)
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Part 1
Preparing the Ingredients

  1. Image titled Make Akara Step 1
    Measure out 3 cups of black-eyed peas. Wash them. Soak overnight covered in plenty of water. Use a large mixing bowl. The beans will expand and take in water as they soak. Make sure you have at least two inches of water over the top of the beans.
  2. Image titled Make Akara Step 2
    Peel the beans’ skins off. This takes effort but is important for the texture. To peel the beans by hand, begin by draining the beans after they have finished soaking. Reserve the water you used to soak the beans in another bowl. Rub the beans vigorously between your hands in small batches. The bean skins should come off. Run water over the beans to wash the skins off if necessary. Drop the beans back into the water and the skins should float to the surface. Individually pick out any beans with the skins still on and peel them.[1]
  3. Image titled Make Akara Step 3
    Try using a blender to peel the beans more quickly. Begin by dropping a handful of the soaked beans into the blender. Next, pour water into the blender until it is at twice the level of the beans. Press the “Pulse” button on your blender for 1 second, then let go. Repeat 4 more times and pour the beans into a large bowl with the water. Repeat this process for the rest of the beans, then drain the beans with a colander. The bits of skin should drain with the water. If they do not, submerge the beans in water again and any leftover skins should float to the surface. You can also pick the leftover skins off with your fingers.[2]
  4. Image titled Make Akara Step 4
    Use a mortar and pestle to peel the beans if you don't have a blender but don't want to do it by hand. Drain the beans with a colander and place a small quantity of beans into the mortar. Use a mortar with coarse sides. Stir the beans with the pestle and the skin should slough off the beans. Place the peeled beans into a separate bowl. Repeat this process until you have peeled all of the beans. Submerge the beans in water again and any leftover skins should float to the surface. You can also pick these skins off with your fingers.[3]
    • You can make the akara immediately after peeling the beans, or you can peel the beans in advance and store them in the refrigerator or freezer.[4]
  5. Image titled Make Akara Step 5
    Grind the beans with the chili pepper, onions, salt, and white pepper. You can use a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor for this step. Grind in batches if your blender, food processor, or mortar is too small to fit all of the beans at once. Add small amounts of water during the grinding process to make sure that the paste sticks together. When you’re done, the paste should have a thick, smooth consistency.[5]
    • Taste the batter once you have finished to make sure the blend of seasonings is to your liking. Add more salt and pepper if necessary, or a few pinches of cayenne pepper if you prefer spicier akara.[6]
    • You can leave the batter overnight if you want to make it lighter and more frothy. This step is optional, however.[7]

Part 2
Making Your Akara

  1. Image titled Make Akara Step 6
    Heat 2-3 inches (5.08-7.62 cm) of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. To determine when the oil is ready, drop a small amount of batter into the pot. If it turns black instantly, the oil is too hot. If it sinks to the bottom of the pot with no reaction, the oil is too cool. If it sizzles but maintains its color, the oil is at an appropriate temperature.[8]
    • You can also use a digital thermometer for this step. If the thermometer reads 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190.5 Celsius), the oil is ready.
  2. Image titled Make Akara Step 7
    Form the paste into balls about the size of ping-pong balls. Use an ice cream scoop and your hands for this step. Make the balls in groups of however many your pot will hold at once. This way you can make them in batches.[9]
  3. Image titled Make Akara Step 8
    Drop the balls into the pot. Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes total. Flip the balls halfway through. Once they are done, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon. Put them on a paper towel-lined plate to dry.[10]
  4. Image titled Make Akara Step 9
    Consume your akara hot or at room temperature. Serve with hot sauce or salsa, as well as your favorite bread.

Things You'll Need

  • Soaking bowl
  • Vegetable scrubber
  • Mortar and pestle, blender, or a food processor
  • Heavy bottomed pot like a Dutch oven for frying
  • Ice cream scoop
  • Tongs
  • Kitchen paper towel
  • Serving plates

Article Info

Categories: World Cuisines