Nigerian Black-Eyed Pea Fritters (Akara)
Reprinted with permission from Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking (Clarkson Potter, 2019).
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, picked over for stones and rinsed
1 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
peanut oil as needed for deep-frying
Soak peas overnight in enough water to cover. Drain in a colander and discard soaking water. Working with about 1/4 cup at a time, rub peas between the palms of your hands or press with the back of a wooden spoon in a fine-mesh sieve to remove skins (discard skins).
Transfer peas to a food processor. With the machine running, gradually add enough water (about 1/4 cup) so mixture forms a stiff paste. Press pulse button 2 or 3 times to mix in onion, garlic, cayenne and salt.
Into a large Dutch oven or other wide deep pot, pour a few inches of oil (making sure you have plenty of clearance to prevent oil from bubbling over) and heat oil to 375 degrees over medium-high heat. Scoop mixture by the tablespoon and drop into hot fat. (Using a small cookie dough scoop will help akara maintain its shape.) Deep-fry until golden, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels before serving.