Acarajé- Black-Eyed Pea Fritters- Brazilian Food Recipes


Served warm and crispy, these delicious appetizers are popular all over Brazil. Acarajé is a dish made from peeled black-eyed peas formed into a ball and then deep-fried in dendê (palm oil). It is found in the Nigerian and Brazilian cuisines. The dish is traditionally encountered in Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia and Pernambuco, especially in the cities of Salvador, Recife and Olinda, often as street food, and is also found in most parts of Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, and Benin.

It is served split in half and then stuffed with vatapá and caruru – spicy pastes made from shrimp, ground cashews, palm oil and other ingredients. The most common way of eating acarajé is splitting it in half, pouring vatapá and/or caruru, a salad made out of green and red tomatoes, fried shrimps and homemade hot pepper sauce. A vegetarian version is typically served with hot peppers and green tomatoes.


Today in Bahia, Brazil, most street vendors who serve acarajé are women, easily recognizable by their all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The image of these women, often simply called baianas, frequently appears in artwork from the region of Bahia. Acarajé, however, is typically available outside of the state of Bahia as well, including the streets of its neighbor state Sergipe, and the markets of Rio de Janeiro.

acarajé- black-eyed-pea-fritters-brazilian-food-recipe

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes total
Makes about 20 acarajé


16 oz. canned black-eyed peas

1 large onion, chopped salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

dende or vegetable oil for frying

malagueta pepper sauce or other hot sauce (optional)


1) Place peas in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well with cold water.

2) Place peas, onion, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

3) Pour 2 to 3 inches of oil into a deep skillet or stockpot. Heat to 350°F, or until a drop of water flicked into the pan jumps out.

4) Scoop up about 1 tbsp. of the pea mixture and use your hands to shape it into a small, oval patty. Set aside on a plate. Once you’ve made 4 or 5 patties, use a slotted spoon to carefully place them, one by one, into the oil. Fry for about 5 minutes, turning once to brown evenly on both sides. Carefully remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat until pea mixture is gone. 

5) Serve warm with malagueta pepper sauce, if desired.

Get more Brazilian recipes at... Brazilian Food Recipes

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