Author Topic: Ghana Black Eyed Pea Balls (Akla)  (Read 395 times)

Olga Drozd

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Ghana Black Eyed Pea Balls (Akla)
« on: October 30, 2017, 02:36:08 PM »
Ghana Black Eyed Pea Balls (Akla)

Called akla in Ghana and akara in other parts of the African continent. These spicy morsels are a snack food equivalent to falafel.  And like falafel, the beans are soaked but not cooked before frying.  Traditionally they are eaten with a chile relish.  For this recipe tomato sauce or bottled salsa, heated is used. Variation:  You can replace the dried black eyed peas with dried kidney beans or dried small navy beans.

1 cup dried black eyed peas
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small jalapeno or serrano chile, seeds and ribs removed, and diced
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups vegetable oil for frying

FOR DIPPING - TOMATO SAUCE:


3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
3/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (4 ounce) can chopped mild green chilies, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

LONG METHOD SOAKING:  Soak black eyed peas in cold water to cover for a minimum of 6 hours, or preferably overnight. SHORT METHOD SOAKING Or, place beans in a saucepan covered with water, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil for 1 minute, turn off the heat, and cover the pan.  Allow beans to soak for 1 hour, then drain.  With either method, continue with the dish as soon as beans have soaked, or refrigerate beans.

Drain beans and place them in the work bowl of a food processor.  Add onion, garlic, chile, egg, water, salt, and pepper.  Process until the mixture forms a smooth paste, scraping the sides of the work bowl as necessary.

Form mixture into 1-inch balls, and refrigerate for 20 minutes, tightly covered with plastic wrap.  Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat to a temperature of 375 degrees F.

Add balls, being careful not to crowd the pan.  Cook bean balls for 3 minutes, or until browned.  Remove balls from the pan with a slotted spoon, and drain well on paper towels.  Serve immediately, accompanied by a bowl of Tomato Sauce.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

NOTE:  The balls can be prepared for frying up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered.  They can also be fried in advance; reheat them in a 400 degrees F. oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until hot and crusty again.

TOMATO SAUCE: Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.  Reduce the heat to low, stir in the chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Stir in stock, tomato sauce, and green chilies.  Whisk well, bring to a boil, and simmer sauce, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce is reduce by 1/4.

Stir in cilantro, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  NOTE:  The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. Variation: For a spicier sauce substitute 2 finely chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce in place of the green chilies. Substitute red or white wine for the stock.  Makes 2 cups.