Bajias is a Mozambican snack made with beans. In Nigeria it is called Akara……
The first time I got to know and taste Bajias was last year while we were shooting an insert for the show, I am Woman. A street vendor was preparing them and they were sold at R1.00 each. I imagined the fritters would have that beany-taste since the main ingredient is beans but to my surprise they didn’t. The lady mentioned that Bajias is a street food recipe from Mozambique. One needs to grind the beans until they form a paste. Modern technology allows us to do that using a food processor. What I found fascinating was that the street vendor was grinding them with a pestle and motar right there and then.
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So, recently I went to a Nigerian food shop and asked the shop assistant about the Akara. He took me through the recipe and I ended up buying black eyed beans from the shop. The difference between the Bajias and Akara is that there is an option of adding powdered fish (shrimp) in the Nigerian recipe. Otherwise, it can be left completely vegetarian.
The recipe is fairly easy to prepare but the only thing that became a drag for me was separating the beans from the skin. It took longer than I expected. Maybe I did it wrong, I don’t know.
Anyways, I think Bajias / Akara would make for a great snack while watching soccer during the world cup. What do you say? Have you ever tasted Bajias or Akara?
Bajias / Akara (Mozambican / Nigerian Bean Fritters)
500ml (2 cups) black eyed beans
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 red/green/yellow pepper, cut into chunky strips
1 vegetable stock cube
Few sprigs of parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Oil for frying
- Sort the beans and soak overnight in cold water.
- While they are still in water, rub the beans between the palms of your hands to remove the skin.
- Once the skin has been removed, transfer beans into a food processor.
- Process until a paste is formed. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until they are crushed into small pieces.
- Heat oil in a frying pan. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon out the bean paste.
- Fry both sides until golden brown.
- Transfer to a paper towel to absorb the oil.
- Serve as is or with a Chutney.