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- 1 14 oz can organic cowpeas or black-eyed peas
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3.5 ounces okra, trimmed and finely sliced, or use
- 1/2 Scotch bonnet chili, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 small red chili, finely diced (optional)
- Sea salt, to taste
- 3 to 8 fl oz water, as needed
- 18 fl oz sustainable red palm oil, or organic coconut oil, for deep-frying
- Drain the can of beans, rinse and drain again.
- Add the beans to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding a little water to loosen the mixture as necessary.
- Tip the blended beans into a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients (except the water and oil) and mix together well.
- 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.
- 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 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 center, the oil is too hot.
- Remove from the oil, drain on paper towel 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.
Chilling the bean paste mixture in the fridge for an hour will firm the mixture up and reduce the risk of the fritters falling apart while frying. You can add a little rice flour or cornstarch to the mixture if it’s too wet. Excerpted from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen © 2021 by Zoe Adjonyoh. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.
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