Acra Recipe: A Delicious Haitian Dish | Authentic & Flavorful


Acra Recipe: A Delicious Haitian Dish | Authentic & Flavorful
Region / culture: Haiti | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4



Acra is a delightful and savory fritter that has its roots in Caribbean cuisine, particularly in Haiti. This recipe focuses on a version made with malanga root, a tropical tuber that is similar to yams and taro, offering a unique taste and texture. Acra is celebrated for its crispy exterior and soft, flavorful interior, making it a popular snack or side dish. This guide will take you through the history, preparation tips, and nutritional information of Acra, along with serving suggestions and variations to help you master this exotic dish.


The recipe for Acra traces back to West African cuisine, from where it was brought to the Caribbean by enslaved Africans. Over time, it evolved in the Haitian culinary landscape, incorporating local ingredients such as malanga root. Traditionally, Acra served as a quick, energy-rich snack for workers and has since become a staple at gatherings and celebrations, symbolizing the fusion of African and Caribbean flavors.


How to prepare

  1. In a mortar, pound the pepper pods, salt, peppercorns, onion, and garlic together until a paste forms.
  2. Add the seasoning paste and egg to the grated malanga root, and beat until the mixture becomes light.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into heated oil and fry until they turn golden.
  4. Remove from the oil and drain on absorbent paper.


  • Sweet Acra: Add grated carrots or sweet potatoes to the batter for a sweeter version.
  • Seafood Acra: Incorporate finely chopped shrimp or salt cod for added protein and flavor.
  • Vegan Acra: Omit the egg and use a bit of water or vegetable broth to bind the batter.
  • For a different flavor profile, substitute sweet potatoes or yucca for the malanga root.
  • Add finely chopped shrimp or salted cod to the batter for a protein boost.
  • Spice up the batter with additional herbs like cilantro or parsley for a fresh twist.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Acra turns out perfectly, consider these tips:

- Grate the malanga root finely for a smoother batter.

- Make sure the oil is at the right temperature (365°F or 185°C) before frying to achieve a crispy texture without absorbing too much oil.

- Do not overcrowd the pan; fry in batches to maintain the oil temperature.

- Use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices and onion for a more authentic flavor profile.

Serving Suggestions

Acra can be served as an appetizer or snack, often accompanied by a spicy dipping sauce or a side of pickled vegetables. It also pairs well with a light salad for a more balanced meal.

Cooking Techniques

Frying is the traditional method for cooking Acra, but for a healthier version, you can also bake them in the oven at 400°F (200°C) until golden and crispy, about 20-25 minutes.

Ingredient Substitutions

If malanga root is not available, taro root makes a good substitute.

- In place of Italian hot pepper, any hot pepper variety can be used, adjusting for heat preference.

- For an egg-free version, use a flaxseed egg substitute.

Make Ahead Tips

The batter for Acra can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered. This allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a more flavorful fritter.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Acra on a platter garnished with lime wedges and a sprinkle of coarse salt. A colorful dipping sauce, such as a mango salsa or a spicy aioli, can add visual appeal and enhance the flavors.

Pairing Recommendations

Acra pairs beautifully with a crisp, dry white wine or a light beer. For a non-alcoholic option, a tart hibiscus tea or a refreshing limeade complements the dish's flavors.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Acra can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through and crispy, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Acra contains approximately 150-200 calories, making it a relatively light option for a snack or side dish. However, the calorie count can vary based on the size of the servings and the amount of oil absorbed during frying.


A serving of Acra primarily provides carbohydrates, with the malanga root contributing the bulk of it. Malanga is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which are essential for energy. Each serving of Acra contains approximately 20-25 grams of carbohydrates.


The fat content in Acra comes mainly from the peanut oil used for frying. While peanut oil is a healthier option due to its high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat content, moderation is key. Each serving of Acra contains about 10-15 grams of fat, depending on how well it's drained after frying.


Acra is not particularly high in protein, with each serving providing about 2-3 grams. The protein comes from the egg used in the batter. For a higher protein content, consider serving Acra with a protein-rich dip or side dish.

Vitamins and minerals

Malanga root is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium. These nutrients contribute to the overall nutritional profile of Acra, supporting immune function, energy production, and bone health.


The primary allergen in Acra is the egg used in the batter. Additionally, individuals with sensitivities to nightshades should be cautious due to the peppers. As always, if you're cooking for someone with food allergies, make sure to check all your ingredients.


Overall, Acra offers a good balance of carbohydrates and fats, with a modest amount of protein. It's rich in certain vitamins and minerals, thanks to the malanga root. However, as with all fried foods, it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


Acra is a versatile and flavorful dish that brings a taste of the Caribbean to your table. With its crispy texture and rich, savory flavor, it's sure to be a hit whether served as a snack, appetizer, or side. By following the tips and variations provided, you can customize the recipe to suit your taste and dietary needs, making Acra a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the excitement that washed over me when I first saw this recipe for Acra. It was handed down to me by my dear friend Maria, who learned how to make it from her grandmother in Haiti. I have always been passionate about cooking and learning new recipes, so when Maria shared this one with me, I couldn't wait to give it a try.

The Acra recipe was simple yet intriguing. It called for grated malanga, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, salt, and water. The mixture was then fried until golden brown and crispy. I had never heard of malanga before, but after doing some research, I learned that it was a root vegetable similar to taro that was commonly used in Caribbean cuisine.

I followed Maria's instructions carefully, grating the malanga and mincing the garlic and pepper. The combination of ingredients created a fragrant and flavorful batter that was irresistible. As I dropped spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, the sizzling sound was music to my ears. The Acra turned golden brown and crispy, just as Maria had described.

When I took my first bite of the Acra, I was transported to the vibrant streets of Haiti. The crispy exterior gave way to a soft and creamy interior, bursting with the flavors of garlic and pepper. I immediately knew that this recipe would become a staple in my kitchen.

Over the years, I have continued to make Acra for my family and friends, always receiving rave reviews. I have tweaked the recipe slightly, adding a touch of cilantro and lime juice for a fresh and zesty kick. Each time I make Acra, I am reminded of Maria and her grandmother, and the joy of sharing recipes and traditions.

As I reflect on the journey of learning how to make Acra, I am filled with gratitude for the friends and family who have enriched my culinary repertoire. Each recipe tells a story, connecting me to different cultures and traditions. Cooking has always been a way for me to express love and creativity, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue learning and growing in the kitchen.

I hope to pass down the recipe for Acra to future generations, sharing the flavors and memories of Haiti with my loved ones. Cooking is a timeless art that brings people together, and I am honored to be a part of that tradition. Thank you, Maria, for opening my eyes to the beauty of Acra and for sharing your family's recipe with me. It is a gift that I will cherish forever.


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