To celebrate the release of the gorgeous new cookbook Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh, we have a recipe to share. Plus you could win a copy of the book…
“These delicious bean paste fritters go by the names of akara or koose in Ghana and are known variously in West Africa as kose, accara and kosai.
Akara is commonly eaten as a snack or breakfast food, but it has many variations and, as with much of West African food, it has travelled well. In New Orleans, these fritters are known as calas, in Brazil as acaraje and Barbados as pumpjin accra. Nigeria has some great variations, too, such as kara egusi (egusi or agushi being a type of melon seed),” Zoe Adjonyoh.
Makes about 12
400g (14oz) can organic black-eyed beans
1 red onion, finely diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
100g (3½oz) okra, trimmed and finely sliced, or use cored, deseeded and diced peppers
½ Scotch Bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 small red chilli, finely diced (optional)
sea salt, to taste
225ml (8fl oz) water
500ml–1 litre (18fl oz–1¾ pints) sustainable palm oil,
carotene oil or coconut oil, for deep-frying
1. Drain the can of beans, rinse and drain again.
2. Add the beans to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding a little water to loosen the mixture as necessary.
3. Tip the blended beans into a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients (except the water and oil) and mix together well.
4. Gently whisk the mixture with a fork, allowing air to circulate through the mixture – this creates a fluffy rather than a stodgy mixture – while gradually adding just enough water until the mixture gently drops off a spoon.
5. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer (the safest option) or heavy-based, deep saucepan filled to just under half the depth of the pan to 180–190°C (350–375°F) or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Lower separate tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry until golden.
The balls should gently turn over by themselves in the hot oil, but if not, move them around so that they fry evenly – it should take just a few minutes until they are nicely browned. If the balls sink to the bottom of the pan, the oil isn’t hot enough, and if they brown immediately without having time to cook through to the centre, the oil is too hot.
6. Remove from the oil, drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool slightly before serving warm, or leave to cool completely and chill before serving. The great thing about akara is that you can eat them alone as a tasty snack, or serve chilled with a dip, or as a side dish with a stew.
To win a copy of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh simply fill in the form below:
Terms and conditions: All entries must be received by 1 July 2017 at 11.59am. The winners will be selected at random. Non refundable. No cash alternative. All entrants will be added to the Street Eats London newsletter to be first to hear about new competitions, deals and food news.
Image credits: Nassima Rothacker