Growing up in Nigeria, beans based dishes were a huge part of our diet. We had beans in one form or another every other day at my home. We even had more beans based dishes while I was in boarding school; it was a daily part of our diet. Popular Nigerian beans dishes include stewed beans, akara (fried bean fritters), moimoi (savory steamed beans pudding), yam & beans pottage, Adalu (beans & fresh corn), gbegiri (beans stew) etc.
Beans is an inexpensive way to incorporate good protein into our diets.
When I first moved to Canada, I didn’t have access to the variety of beans I was used to in Nigeria (Honey beans & black eyed beans). This combined with the fact that animal protein was widely available and inexpensive, I removed beans from my diet. It wasn’t until I gained a substantial amount of weight and needed to lose it that I reanalyzed my diet and reintroduced plant based protein sources as the major component of my diet. This was when I fell back in love with legumes and started experimenting with numerous varieties available in North America.
For most Nigerians, the task of beans peeling for favorites like akara and moimoi can often be a daunting one. This inspired me to try create these recipes with unpeeled beans, which I documented here. Leaving beans unpeeled is especially healthy as it leaves a lot more fiber in the meal.
Continuing the search for alternatives, I now use chickpeas in much the same manner as regular beans in my kitchen. The upside is that chickpea is widely more accessible in international grocery chains and other ethnic food stores (especially Indian). Compared to regular black-eyed peas (unpeeled), chickpeas has more fiber as well as protein.
Akara Inspired – Pan fried chickpeas fritters
Akara is traditional West African beans fritter that is usually deep-fried in palm oil. It is typically served as a breakfast staple with a side of corn flour pudding (ogi).
This recipe takes inspiration from the concept of akara; however, it’s pan-fried using a combination of palm and coconut oil. The resulting fritters are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside without all the oil.
These work great as breakfast fritters. You may also chop them up and use them as a source of protein in your salad!
Akara Inspired – Pan fried Chickpeas Fritters
Serve with oatmeal, cornmeal or bread.
Ronke Edoho is the founder and creative administrator for 9jafoodie.com. A CPA by profession, her interest in food and agriculture started at a very tender age. Ronke’s dream is to make an impact on the entire food chain, from farm to table. Ronke’s recipes presented on 9jafoodie.com are rooted in tradition paired with a modern flair. Traditional African recipes have a tendency to appear complicated; the goal of 9jafoodie.com is to simplify as much as possible. Ronke also presents many healthier alternatives to traditional recipes. Readers can look forward to Ronke’s first eBook, coming soon to her website.
Faith A. Coleman, MD