This month Food of the World is featuring the cuisine of Senegal, a West African nation on the Atlantic Ocean. Senegal was French colony until 1960 and French cuisine has influenced Senegalese cuisine. Apart from the French, West African and Portuguese cuisines also have an influence on this cuisine.
Senegal is on the coast of Atlantic ocean, hence fish is common in Senegalese cuisine. Chicken, eggs, lamb and beef are also used extensively and pork is not common as the nation has a large muslim population. Peanuts are the main crop along with rice, couscous, black eyed peas, sweet potatoes and lentils.
To feature the Senegalese cuisine, I made black eyed peas fritters and sosu kaani, a popular street food in Senegal. Soaked black eyed peas are ground to paste, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then deep fried into fritters. These fritters are served with a habanero tomato sauce called sosu kaani.
Today I shall share the recipe for black eyed peas fritters, Accara and shall share the recipe for the sauce over the weekend. Black eyed peas fritters are similar to black eyed peas vada or bobbari garelu we make in India. Indian version has few more ingredients minus baking soda and black pepper used in Senegalese version. In India, green chilies and/or chili powder is used for seasoning. The second difference is shape. Indian fritters are shaped into discs or donuts unlike the African version which are round.
Total Time: 20 – 30 minutes + soaking time
Soaking Time: 4-6 hours or overnight
Preparation: 10 – 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Yields: 35 – 40 fritters depending on the size
- 1 cup Black Eyed Peas, washed and soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight
- ¼ small Onion, chopped or ¼ cup chopped Onion (2-3 tbsp.)
- ½ tsp. Black Pepper Powder (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp. Chili Powder or Chili Flakes (opt. and adjust to taste)
- ½ – ¾ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- 2-3 tbsp. Water (less than ¼ cup)
- Oil for deep frying
- Wash and soak black eyed peas for 4-6 hours or preferably overnight.
- Once the peas are soaked, wash peas rubbing them between fingers or may be even palms, to remove the skin of the peas. Peas skin will peel off and float in water. Discard the water and peas skin will drain off with water. Rub the peas in water 2-3 times to remove as much skin as possible. I did this 3-4 times and ½ – ⅔ of the peas were skinned.
- Add water to peas and slowly drain the water. If there is any peas skin in the bowl, allow it to drain with the water. Do this a few times to discard peeled skin.
- Transfer washed peas to a colander and let water drain for few minutes.
- Transfer to a food processor container, add onions, black pepper, salt, chili powder/flakes if using, baking soda and process until smooth. Add some water when processing and the texture should be like hummus.
- Transfer to a boil, taste the batter and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Heat oil in a wok or a saute pan for deep frying. When oil is hot, reduce the flame to medium.
- Drop teaspoon of batter into oil and fry until light brown and until fritters are evenly cooked inside. Depending on the size of the pan, can fry 12 – 15 fritters at a time.
- Remove fritters from oil and place on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Repeat above two steps to fry rest of the fritters. I had to fry the fritters in three batches.
- Serve hot with sosu kaani or serve them as is.
- For Indian version of these fritters, follow this recipe and substitute moong dal (green gram) with black eyed peas.
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