The last time I visited my home town Warri in Delta Nigeria. I could not wait to have breakfast the way we used to when I we were living there.
I got up really early one morning just before the sun appeared in full force and while people were getting ready for work and school. I skipped to the road side and there she was, a burly looking woman. She had tied a wrapper (native material) around her waist on top of an Arsenal football T-shirt and I recall smiling about how one can manage to mix the traditional dressing with western clothing.
I walked out on the road side, crossing over to where she was sitting tossing those magical Akara balls in hot oil. I just had to have them.
Now here in London, I enjoy making it for my family with Akamu especially in winter as it can be so cold over here. They really appreciate this belly warmer. I hope you appreciate making it too. #eatsoulfood
Ingredients for Akara
350g Nigerian beans or any black eye beans if you cannot get Nigerian beans
1 Medium onion
2 Scotch bonnet peppers (remove the seeds-optional)
2 Tsp salt
Ingredients for Akamu
170g Defrosted Ogi
150ml Cold water
2 cups Boiling water
2-4 Tbsp White sugar
The process of making Akara is similar to the process of making Moi Moi, in terms of separating the beans and blending. Once you have selected your beans, soak them for 4 hours or overnight.
Preparation Time (after soaking beans) 20-30 minutes Cooking Time 20-30 minutes
- After soaking, begin the process of removing the skin as shown in the video. There are other methods but I’ve always found this way to be easier. You just need technique and patience.
- Wash beans to peel skin off by rubbing them between your palms as if hand washing clothes
- After peeling beans, you will now need to separate the skins from the peeled beans by adding water and pouring the skins out when they float to the top. Continue this process until almost all the skins are gone.
- Don’t worry if there are still a few remaining.
- Use a blender to blend half of the beans at a time with 100ml water. You should try not to add too much water but enough to get the blender going. You may need to shake the blender a little to help the circulation. The less water the smoother the mix.
- Blend the other half of the beans and transfer into another bowl
- Add the chopped onions and peppers and stir them in evenly.
- Add salt to the mixture when you are ready to fry the Akara.
- Heat up some oil in a pan about 3 inches deep
- With a table spoon, scoop the Akara mixture close into the oil to avoid creating splatter
- The Akara balls should form into nice golden balls
- Once fried, transfer into a plate with paper napkins to help soak up excess oil and leave to one side while you prepare to make the Akamu
To make Akamu
- In small bowl pour cold water into the defrosted Ogi, either you can use a spoon or your fingers to dissolve the Ogi into liquid form as demonstrated in video.
- In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to the boil. Just before the water starts to boil, pour in the Ogi into the water and stirring very fast in order not to create lumps.
- As the Akamu thickens, add the sugar and continue to stir for about another 1 minute.
You are now ready to serve your Nigerian breakfast.
*Tips and Suggestions*
- I always soak a lot of beans to wash and peel so that I do not have to go through the process of peeling every time I want to make Akara or Moi Moi. I freeze the rest in small portions for use another time.
- You can always buy the already dried peeled beans or even beans flour however I would not recommend as it changes the taste. If you want a more traditional taste then use the raw beans.
- Use as little or as much peppers you want and remove the seeds if you are making for little children.
- Add as little or more salt if needed
- You can buy Ogi/Pap/Akamu from Africa shops
- You can add carnation milk to the Akamu if you want it creamier.
- Lastly, Akara can also be enjoyed as a snack and make great tasty party treats