Akara waffle is a great way to enjoy delicious akara without all the oil. Your waffle maker is a versatile kitchen equipment which could be used for a lot more than the occasional pancakes. It also makes scrumptious akara, which is gluten-free, and suitable for vegetarians.
Akara is deep fried bean fritters which is enjoyed across Nigeria and West Africa as a whole. It is also known as “kosai” and is typically eaten at breakfast with ogi, custard or garri. It tastes yummy sandwiched between soft agege bread or eaten as a snack on its own. Akara is fried in small balls, which makes it so easy to eat and it so delicious that you need a strong will to not eat most of it while frying.
This Nigerian vegetarian food is usually prepared with black eyed or brown beans, which are the most common types of beans in the country. It is rich in fibre from the wholesome ingredients used in its preparation. However, if you are looking to reduce your oil intake or avoiding fried food, then it becomes an impediment to enjoying fried bean fritters. This is where my akara waffle comes in. The only oil used in the recipe is to prevent the waffle maker from sticking.
Akara waffle is by far the recipe that has taken me the longest time to develop. The first time I tried, it only needed tweaking, the next time I made it, I had to virtually scrape it off the waffle maker. I repeated two more times before I perfected the recipe, so I am quite excited to share it with you.
Why Use a Waffle Maker to Prepare Akara?
Using a waffle maker to make akara has the advantage that you are not deep frying the bean fritters, so it is healthier. I find that it also means I can have it as a meal on its own with pepper sauce, which works well for me. Finally, you can make more than you need to keep in the fridge for a few days. It works perfect as packed lunch too.
How to Prepare Akara Waffle
The most difficult part of preparing akara for me is the peeling of the beans. It always seems a task and whenever I peel beans, I peel enough to last more than once. Peeled beans keep well in the freezer. An easy way is to use the blender to pulse the beans as shown here - Peel Beans Easily in a Blender.
One cup of dry beans should yield about two cups when soaked and will make between 6-8 waffles. You will need to oil the waffle maker after each akara to prevent sticking. The way to do this is to soak up some tissue with oil and rub it on the waffle surface.
I must warn you that make akara waffle is not as quick as frying many fritters in a pan at the same time, however you can make bigger pieces, which helps.
The main challenge I found with making akara in a waffle is that when you open the waffle maker, the akara sticks and you have two bits, one on the top surface and the other on the lower surface. Therefore, it is important not to add too much water when blending. You also need to allow the akara to rest for about 1 min after cooking before trying to remove it from the waffle maker so you can get it out one whole.
I used the 2 setting (out of 5) on my waffle maker. You need to use a low setting to allow the akara the time to cook properly. I added a little egg to help with the binding, but you can omit this to make the recipe suitable for vegans.
Kelewele is another delicious West African side dish you must try.
Nigerian Akara Waffle
- 1 cup Brown beans or black eye beans
- 1 Onion small
- 1 Bell pepper small
- 1 Scotch bonnet pepper optional
- ½ cup Water for blending – ½ cup
- Salt to taste
- Oil to grease waffle maker
- 1 Egg
- Soak the beans for at 30 minutes.
- Peel the beans according to your preferred method (see the link on the notes).
- Prepare the onions and pepper for blending. Peel the onion and cut into smaller pieces. Remove the pepper stalk and cut into smaller pieces.
- Pour the peeled beans, onion, bell pepper and scotch bonnet in a blender and puree until very smooth. Do not be add more than the recommended quantity of water or the akara will not hold.
- Break an egg, beat and keep to one side.
- Pour the blended mixture into a bowl, add some salt and a tablespoon of the egg. Mix thoroughly with a whisk or a fork.
- Switch on the waffle maker at a low setting (I used the “2” setting on mine) and allow to heat up.
- Oil the surfaces by dipping some kitchen roll/tissue in oil and rubbing over the upper and the lower surface.
- Ladle the mixture into the waffle maker and close. Allow to cook for at least 1 min.
- Switch off the waffle maker and leave the akara for another minute or before you open the waffle maker. Remove gently.
Other breakfast recipes to try are;