Akara bites

You are here

» Akara bites

Akara bites originate from Nigeria, West Africa. Akara is a fritter, often eaten at breakfast or as tasty snack, made from black eyed beans, known as “black beans” in West Africa. Although this snack originates in Nigeria, you can also find variations in Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, The Gambia and Brazil (over there, it's known as acarajé).

Traditionally the dish uses dried beans, which are then re-hydrated, washed, peeled and blended, before being seasoned, fried and served hot. See below for a wonderful display of this process in action:

Prep time: 15 minsAkara bites on a plate with garnish and dips

Cooking time: 40 mins plus cooling

Total: 55 mins

Makes: 22 bites


Stage 1

  • 500g dry black eye beans – allow to soak in cold water for at least 4 hours or overnight until the beans double in size.

Stage 2

  • 1 red onion – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp all purpose seasoning
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 40ml of cold water

Stage 3

  • 2 litres oil - for frying (I tend to use sunflower oil)


Stage 1

  1. Peel and deskin the soaked beans by placing then in a blender with water. Do this in two batches and ensure the water is level with the beans. And pulse a few times, be careful not to blend the mixture fully at this point. You want the outer skin of the beans to peel away.
  2. Using a large sieve and bowl. Place the sieve on top of the bowl and give the beans a good rinse to wash off extra starch. Discard excess water.
  3. Once rinsed. Fill you bowl with water and place you pulsed bean mixture into the water. The beans skins should rise to the top, using the sieve, sieve out all the skins from the mixture and compost. Repeat this process for the second half of your beans batch.

Stage 2

  1. Blend (Peeled) Beans, ensure to do this stage in two batches. Add all of stage 2 ingredients minus the water and your peeled beans into a blender and blend together, while its blending slowly add your water to the mixture and blend till smooth. You might not need to add all the water, you do not want your batter to be too watery. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Repeat this process for the rest of the beans.

Stage 3

  1. Heat the oil to 180c degrees (if you do not have a thermometer, test it is hot enough by placing a wooden spoon in the oil, if it starts to sizzle almost instantly, the oil is ready). Using a tablespoon scoop the mixture and gently lower it into the oil. Repeat this process 6 to 7 more times, do not overcrowd the pan, frying. After 1-2 minutes, use a fork or wooden skewer to flip the balls so the other side cooks as well. Cook for a further 2- 4 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Remove from the pan using a spider/slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel or a clean, dry tea towel to soak up excess oil. Repeat frying until all the batter is fried. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  3. Serve warm with your dip of choice. My favourite for this recipe is sweet chilli sauce, pickled onions and a red pepper dip.
  4. Can be cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Best re-heated in the air fryer or microwave. Not suitable for home freezing.

Ngwafu Tansie standing outside holding food


Recipe written and created by Ngwafu Tansie. Founder of gwafuvegan. As a black queer chef it's fundamental for me to represent within the hospitality industry and showcase my culture. Inspiring younger people that you can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it. 

Follow Ngwafu on Instagram or Facebook.



Reg. Charity No: 279228 Company Reg. No: 01468880 Copyright © 1944 - 2024 The Vegan Society