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Acaraje

Acaraje, or Akara or Koose is basically a black-eye-peas’ delicacy served as the mainstream dish in Nigerian and Brazilian cuisines. To state more specifically, the Acaraje recipe is popularly savored in the north eastern state of Brazil, Bahia. In the city of Salvador, the dish is relished as a popular street food. Typically, Acaraje is split into two halves and filled with stuffing of caruru and vatapa. The dish has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions, however, the latter has more fan following, especially in the Nigerian regions.

 

History of Acaraje Recipe
According to the historians, the recipe of Acaraje was introduced to Brazil by the slaves of the West African coast. During that time, the dish was referred as “Akara”, especially by the Igbo community of South-eastern Nigeria. Since the Acaraje recipe is an ancient dish, the same is still referred by its old names like Koose in Ghana and Kosai in some regions of the Nigeria. Today, on the streets of Brazil, Acaraje is served on the streets by women decked up in white cotton dresses and caps.

 

Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation of Acaraje Recipe
The common ingredients used for the preparation of Acaraje are black-eye-peas, palm oil, onion, vegetable oil, shrimp and seasonings. 

 
The cooking method that is commonly used for making the Acaraje recipe is mild frying on a low flame. 
 
  • Blending- Black-eye-peas are blended for a fine paste, only after they are well soaked and blanched for an entire night. 
  • Sauteeing- Ingredients like onions and shrimp are mildly fried or sautéed on a low flame gas until they turn into the translucent state. Further, the paste of black-eye-peas are poured over the sautéed ingredients and cooked until it turns into a golden brown quenelle. 
 
Serving and Eating Acaraje Recipe
One of the most common ways of serving Acaraje is by splitting it into two halves once it is properly cooked and then, pouring caruru (sauce of green and red tomatoes) and vatapa over the dish. One may also serve fried shrimps and a choice of hot sauce as accompaniments of the delicacy. In countries like Nigeria, Acaraje is savored as a filling breakfast along with gruel, prepared from millet. 
 

Popular Variations of Acaraje Recipe
In the modern times, the vegetarian version of Acaraje has gained a lot of popularity. The only variation in this vegetarian Acaraje recipe from its traditional form is the replacement of shrimp by vegetables like tomatoes.