Go to Northeast Brazil and you won't get enough of these babies! This is as iconic to the region as rice and beans is to Brazil as a whole or pizza is to New York. Acarajé is a yummy snack made from black-eyed peas, fried until golden and then stuffed with filling.
I'm not going to lie, there is nothing that compares to the ones you get freshly made in the street by a baiano. If you go to Brazil, try it properly! However, my recipe is a tasty option that is much healthier and relatively easy + quick to make. The original is neither; we're talking deep fried and hours to create (from soaking the beans overnight to continually shelling the skins before you even begin cooking!)
Instead in this recipe, we use canned beans which have already been soaked and bake or sauté the acarajé. It's less authentic but otherwise we maintain the overall integrity of the classic dish.
This recipe is also vegan and vegetarian (the original uses a lot of shrimp) making it suitable for all dietary needs. Enjoy as a filling snack on it's own!
Makes 4 acarajé
INGREDIENTS - Acarajé
Decide how you want to cook your acarajé. You can:
If you're going down the baking route. Begin by pre-heating your oven to 400F/200C and lightly grease a baking tray with oil. For skillet frying, just have the pan greased ready to go.
Prepare your acarajé dough by combining the beans, salt and onion in a food processor with just a dash of water. Add more water if needed but be careful to not overdo it as can increase your cooking time. Next, use two spoons to roll the dough into balls, cover with almond flour if you have it. (It's also possible to make these without any flour, just gets a little sticky!)
Place balls on baking tray and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Make sure to check after 15. They're done when the center is firmish (a little doughy is ok.) If you're doing skillet frying, get the skillet hot over high heat and cook each side until golden.
Place finished acarajé carefully on a plate to cool and firm up for a couple minutes. Then cut the finished balls down the middle to make room for your filling. If you end up with flatter acarajé, don't worry! You can always just put the filing on top pancake style.
INGREDIENTS - Filling (vinagrete)
This is best done while your acarajé is cooking if you're baking or just before you put them on the skillet if you're frying them. All that you have to do is combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You can serve immediately over the acarajé or pop in the fridge for a few minutes to let the flavors soak. (You can also prepare this the day before - the longer the soak, the stronger the flavor.)
Finally, carefully spoon the filling into the open acarajé. Bom apetite!