BM# 44: A-Z Cooking Series — Around the World in 30 days Country: B for Brazil Dish: Acarajé (Black Eyed Peas Fritters)
Today we are going to northeast of Argentina, to the largest country in both South America and Latin American region, Brazil. Brazil is one of the countries that my husband frequently visits. It remained a Portuguese colony until 1808 and is now the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world.
Brazilian cuisine varies greatly by region, reflecting the varying mix of indigenous and immigrant populations. It has European and African influences. Root vegetables like cassava, yams, and fruit like acai, papaya, guava, passion fruit and pineapple are among the local ingredients used in cooking. The national beverage is Coffee. Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of coffee for the past 150 years.
Todays’ dish is an African cuisine inspired Brazilian dish called Acarajé. It is a deep fried fritter made from peeled black-eyed peas. It is found in Nigerian and Brazilian cuisines. It is traditionally made in the northeastern Brazil, especially in the cities of Salvador and Olinda, often sold as street food.
I made this dish along with my mom in India. After the black eyed peas are soaked, they have to be peeled and this is what makes the dish time consuming and labor intensive. We had to take turns for peeling the peas. I would recommend to employ kids (with reasonable gross motor skills), teenagers and family/ friends for this task. If you absolutely have no help, then take your time and watch a nice long movie to get this done. Do not plan on making these for impromptu guests or as a last minute snack, they will never get to the dinner table on time.
So once you have the peeled black-eyed peas ready, it is smooth sailing from there on. Traditionally shrimp paste is added to the batter but I skipped it. Also these are made a little bigger and then stuffed with salad and some spicy pastes. I skipped that part too and fried them as fritters. They are really airy and fluffy in the inside and a little crispy on the outside. They are best eaten hot.
African cuisine inspired Brazilian dish called Acarajé. It is a deep fried fritter made from peeled black-eyed peas. It is found in Nigerian and Brazilian cuisines. It is traditionally made in the northeastern Brazil, especially in the cities of Salvador and Olinda, often sold as street food.
Soak black eyed peas overnight. In the morning, peel off the skin -- this is a very tedious and time consuming process. Suggest to get lot of help or lot of patience.
Once all (or most) of the beans are peeled, then soak them again for 30 minutes with coarsely chopped onion.
Drain the beans and onions and put them in a blender or food processor. Add chopped garlic, chili powder, ground cumin and salt. Process until the mixture is very smooth. Remove into a mixing bowl and add enough bread crumbs to form a batter that holds shape when formed into a ball.
Heat oil for deep frying and fry the balls until golden brown on all sides. Remove onto a paper towel lined plate and serve hot.