Akkra Recipe: A Delicious Senegalese Specialty


Akkra Recipe: A Delicious Senegalese Specialty
Region / culture: Senegal | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Servings: 4



Akkra, also known as Akara or black-eyed pea fritters, is a popular dish in West African cuisine, particularly in Nigeria and Ghana. This savory snack is made from pureed black-eyed peas mixed with onions, hot pepper sauce, and spices, then deep-fried until golden brown. Akkra is celebrated for its crispy exterior and soft, flavorful interior, making it a beloved street food and a staple at family gatherings.


The origins of Akkra can be traced back to West Africa, where it has been a traditional food for centuries. It is believed to have played a significant role in the diet of the Yoruba people in Nigeria, from where it spread to other parts of West Africa and eventually across the Atlantic through the transatlantic slave trade. Today, variations of Akkra are found in the Caribbean and Brazil, where it is known as Acarajé.


How to prepare

  1. Place the beans in a large bowl and fill the bowl with water. Rub the beans back and forth with your hands to remove their skins. The skins will rise to the surface and can then be poured off. Drain the beans.
  2. Place the beans and onion in a food processor. Process until pureed, adding just enough water to form a thick paste. Season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a sauté pan until it shimmers, about 365ºF. Fry spoonfuls of the batter, turning until brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately with hot pepper sauce.


  • For a healthier version, Akkra can be baked instead of fried, reducing the fat content. Additionally, other beans such as chickpeas or lentils can be used as a substitute for black-eyed peas for a different flavor profile.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best Akkra, use freshly soaked black-eyed peas for a smoother texture. Ensure the oil is hot enough before frying to prevent the fritters from absorbing too much oil and becoming greasy. Fry in small batches to maintain the oil temperature. To achieve a light and airy texture, do not overcrowd the pan.

Serving Suggestions

Akkra can be served with a side of hot pepper sauce for dipping or wrapped in lettuce leaves for a crunchy, fresh contrast. It also pairs well with a simple tomato salsa or a cucumber yogurt sauce for a refreshing touch.

Cooking Techniques

Deep frying is the traditional method for cooking Akkra, providing its characteristic crispy texture. However, for a lighter version, baking or air frying are excellent alternatives that still deliver a delicious outcome.

Ingredient Substitutions

For those who cannot tolerate hot pepper sauce, milder spices such as paprika or cumin can be used for flavoring without adding heat. Chopped herbs like parsley or cilantro can also be added for a fresh flavor boost.

Make Ahead Tips

The Akkra batter can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before frying. This allows the flavors to meld together and reduces preparation time when ready to cook.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Akkra on a platter garnished with sliced onions, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley for a colorful and appetizing presentation. For individual servings, mini skewers can be inserted into each fritter for easy handling and a fun presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Akkra pairs beautifully with a cold, crisp beer or a refreshing ginger beer. For a non-alcoholic option, a tangy tamarind juice or a sweet hibiscus tea complements the flavors of the fritters perfectly.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Akkra can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place them in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and crispy.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Akkra contains approximately 250 calories. The calorie content can vary depending on the size of the fritters and the type of oil used for frying.


A serving of Akkra primarily provides carbohydrates, with approximately 30 grams per serving. The black-eyed peas, being the main ingredient, are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which are essential for energy.


Due to deep frying, Akkra contains a significant amount of fats, approximately 15 grams per serving. However, using healthier frying oils such as canola or vegetable oil can help reduce the presence of saturated fats.


Black-eyed peas make Akkra a good source of plant-based protein, with about 13 grams per serving. This makes it a nutritious option for vegetarians and those looking to increase their protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals

Akkra is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron, thanks to the black-eyed peas and the addition of vegetables like onions. These nutrients contribute to overall health, supporting the immune system and bone health.


Akkra is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, making it suitable for individuals with gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance. However, it is important to be aware of cross-contamination if these are concerns.


Overall, Akkra is a nutritious snack that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. However, due to its method of preparation, it is best enjoyed in moderation.


Akkra is a versatile and flavorful dish that showcases the rich culinary traditions of West Africa. With its simple ingredients and deep-fried goodness, it's a satisfying snack that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Whether served at a family gathering or as a quick snack, Akkra is sure to delight with its crispy exterior and soft, flavorful interior.

How did I get this recipe?

It feels like just yesterday when I stumbled upon this recipe for Akkra. I was a young girl, just starting to learn the art of cooking from my mother and grandmother. We lived in a small village in Ghana, where the flavors of West African cuisine filled the air and the sound of laughter could be heard from every corner.

One day, while walking through the bustling market, I came across a group of women gathered around a large pot, stirring and laughing as they cooked. Curious, I made my way over to see what they were making. The women smiled warmly at me and invited me to join them.

As I watched and listened, I quickly realized that they were making Akkra, a popular street food in Ghana. Akkra is a savory fritter made from black-eyed peas, onions, and spices. The women graciously shared their recipe with me, explaining each step in detail and answering my many questions.

I was captivated by the simplicity and bold flavors of Akkra, and I knew I had to try making it myself. That evening, I gathered the ingredients and set to work in the kitchen. As I mixed and shaped the fritters, the familiar scents of ginger, garlic, and chili filled the air, transporting me back to that bustling market.

When the Akkra were finally cooked and ready to eat, I took a bite and was instantly transported to a world of flavor and tradition. The crispy exterior gave way to a soft and flavorful interior, bursting with the earthy sweetness of the black-eyed peas and the warmth of the spices.

From that moment on, Akkra became a staple in my cooking repertoire. I would make it for family gatherings, special occasions, or simply as a snack to enjoy on a lazy afternoon. Each time I made it, I would think back to that day in the market, surrounded by the laughter and wisdom of those women who had so generously shared their recipe with me.

Over the years, I have tweaked and perfected the recipe for Akkra, adding my own personal touches and variations. I have shared it with friends and family, passing on the tradition and flavors of Ghana to the next generation.

As I sit here now, reflecting on the journey that brought me to this recipe, I am filled with gratitude for the women who took me under their wing that day in the market. Their generosity and warmth have inspired me to continue learning and experimenting in the kitchen, always seeking to capture the essence of Ghanaian cuisine in each dish I create.

And so, as I savor each bite of Akkra, I am reminded of the power of food to bring people together, to tell stories, and to preserve the rich tapestry of culinary traditions that have been passed down through generations. I am grateful for the lessons learned and the memories made, all through the simple act of cooking and sharing a beloved recipe.


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