The Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria and southeastern Benin are notorious snackers. They are also legendary merchants. Markets and snacking come together perfectly, as one offers ample opportunity for the other. One of the classic dishes of Yoruba cooking is Akkra. A fritter made from either black-eyed peas or white beans, this dish has crossed the Atlantic to be found in many different guises. In Brazil the Akkra has been transformed into Acarajé - a black-eyed pea fritter that is not only Bahia’s quintessential finger food but also the ritual offering made to Yansan, the goddess of tempests in the Candomble religion. In the French Antilles, Akkra becomes Accras de Morue, made from salted codfish that has been fried in a batter. There, these fritters are the traditional starter for any Creole meal and a perfect accompaniment for the Ti-Punch that is the area’s traditional cocktail. In barbados, the African waste-not-want-not theory of cooking comes together with Akkra to produce Pumpkin Accra, yet another twist on this traditional snack.


1½ cups dried white beans

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons salt

oil for deep-fat frying (a mixture of two parts peanut oil to one part palm oil gives an authentic taste)

2 tablespoons finely chopped onions

salt to taste

cayenne pepper to taste


Wash and soak the beans and cook them according to directions on the package. Drain them well and place in a blender with the water and salt. Blend until they form a thick, doughlike paste. (Add more water if necessary.) Heat the oil to 350 to 375 ºF in a deep, heavy saucepan or a deep-fat fryer. Fold the chopped onion, salt, and cayenne pepper into the bean paste. drop the mixture into the oil 1 tablespoon at a time and fry until golden brown. drain the fritters on paper towels and serve while hot. Coarsely chopped hot Guinea pepper-type chiles or finely chopped okra may also be added to the mixture.


Serves 6.


country : Benin

course : appetizer


source : Iron Pots & Wooden Spoons : Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking / Jessica B. Harris