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BN Cuisine with Uzo’s Food Labs: A Twist on Akara & Akamu

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I have a friend who is pescatarian. It’s essentially being a vegetarian that can eat fish. In her case, she only eats some kinds of fish but has a diet that is largely plant based. One sunny afternoon, she called and said she was coming over to visit and was coming with an empty stomach and hung up the phone with these words – “I don’t want salad Uzo”.

I admit I was thrown and was going to throw together a ‘sexy’ salad with a quick healthy dressing on the side and call it a day. With those parting words of hers, that clearly was not going to work. I sat and thought for a while and decided to make beans porridge using coconut milk and mixed vegetables since she loves beans. As I started getting my pots and pans out, it just hit me. Make akara. And akamu. And that’s how this seed was planted.

By the time I was done, I had an akara cheeseburger and an akamu fruit smoothie that was a huge hit.
If you think about it, the concept of the akara burger is not new in its basic form. Hot akara and soft agege bread has been eaten for eons and is still a favorite with a lot of people. There are vegetarian ‘burger’ patties sold around the world that have soybeans as the major ingredient. Burger chains usually have shakes or smoothies on their menu. This is my interpretation of a vegetarian burger and a fruit smoothie using Nigerian staples.

What You Need {Akara Cheeseburger}
3 cups of brown beans – I used ewa oloyin (honey beans).
1 medium red onion
1 tablespoon ground crayfish
¼ teaspoon dried Cameroonian pepper
1 stock cube
1 large egg
Salt to taste
Soft burger bun
Mayonnaise – regular or low fat version
Onion slices
Tomato slices
Cheese slices – Any kind of cheese that you prefer

How To
Pick, wash and skin the beans. Add the beans, roughly chopped onions, crayfish, Cameroonian pepper, and stock cube into a blender.

Add a 1/8 of a cup of water to start. Your mix should be thick so the akara retains its shape when fried. You can always add water to the mix as you go along. Blend ingredients until beans is smooth and pour into a bowl.

Taste the mix to ensure properly seasoned. Adjust to taste. Then add the raw egg. I do this at this point after there is no more tasting of the raw mix to be done (food safety rules). The addition of the egg is unorthodox but it results in very fluffy, light akara that puff up when frying.

In a frying pan, heat some flavorless oil – I use Canola oil which is also a better health option than vegetable oil. Spoon the mix into the oil carefully to be sure there are no oil splats. For uniform akara balls, I use ice cream or cookie scoops. For the ‘burger’ patty, I used a cooking spoon to ensure I had a flat and wide patty to fill the burger bun.

Fry until golden brown and drain on kitchen towels.

Prepare your burger bun by splitting it down the middle. Smear mayonnaise on both sides of the bun and put cheese slice on the base of one side. Add the akara patty while still hot. This will melt the cheese a little bit. Top patty with onion and tomato slices and cover with the other half of the bun. You can secure the burger with a tooth pick so it stays together. 78

Please warn your guests about the tooth pick – if it is not visible.

What You Need {Akamu Fruit Smoothie}

1 cup prepared and cooled akamu/pap – I used the brown pap made from guinea corn but you can use any kind that you prefer,
Cold fruit mix.- I used the juice of 1 orange, pieces from 1 large mango and slices of pineapple that had been in the freezer for about an hour. I suggest using sweet fruit that have juice which helps to thin out the akamu/pap once blended. You can add pure natural honey if you want this sweeter.

10
How To
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth and serve cold.

I served the burger and smoothie with more akara balls.

Enjoy!!!
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Uzo Orimalade is the head baker at Cupcake Couture – a boutique bakery and creative director of Uzo’s Food Labs – a culinary studio. She also hosts Friday Food on The Spot on EbonyLifeTV. When she isn’t in her food lab, her head is almost always buried in a book. Visit her blog: Uzo’s Food Labs.

Uzo Orimalade is the head baker at Cupcake Couture – a boutique bakery and creative director of Uzo’s Food Labs – a culinary studio. She also hosts Friday Food on The Spot on EbonyLifeTV. When she isn’t in her food lab, her head is almost always buried in a book. Visit her blog: http://uzosfoodlabs.blogspot.com

59 Comments

  1. sum1special

    June 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Abeg. I still prefer it the local way.

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Of course it’s still a favorite 🙂

  2. Sugar

    June 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    oh dear! this is indeed a big twist to the conventional akara and akamu mix. its a must try tomorrow, wish me luck Uzo

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      Good luck Sugar. Please let me know how it turns out

  3. 'Kitelicious

    June 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Oh wow! nice, I’m definitely trying this out.

  4. Krested

    June 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Wow!… Goodbye to boring pap. I think my toddler will enjoy the smoothie.

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      If your toddler is like mine, it’s a winner 🙂

  5. www.thelmathinks.blogspot.com

    June 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    That friend tho… Uzo must be a good friend. Me? Wait you won’t eat what ‘normal’ people eat and you don’t want to eat a salad? Get ready to be served a tall glass of cold water with a slice of lime, that’s the best I would do. Unless the friend in question is a love interest, Ehen! Then I can make an exception.
    I’m not really a fan of Akara, or bread and Akara but two of my favourite things in the world are akamu and smoothies. I’m a bit reluctant to try them out together but maybe one day when I’m feeling adventurous…
    Saw Uzo on The Spot last week and she seems like such an awesome individual; beautiful personality, focused and brilliant too.

    • jcsgrl

      June 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. dead at tall glass of water with lemons. You meanie!
      On to the recipe, akara gini and Pap smoothie? Mehn I dunno o. The idea of mixing pap with fruits. Hmnn I think I will pass and eat it the normal way

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Aww. Thank you for the very kind words. I guess when you cook a lot, friends expect a lot more. Lmaaao. That cold water and lime line – killer. Lmao

  6. viva

    June 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    ooooooo yea dis looks gud

  7. Victoria Jefferson

    June 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    How about leaving the beans intact with the skin? Removing the
    Skin looses the vitamins and fiber.

    • jcsgrl

      June 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Ehn leaving the skin in ke? You mean blending the whole thing? I dunno abt that…I will be spitting stuff out while eating. Naa son

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Interesting. Never occurred to me to try that. Wonder what the blended product will be? Once beans gets wet, the skin starts to peel anyway. Will try a small batch and see what happens. Thank you for the suggestion

    • justme

      July 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      when we peel beans at home, some of the peels still remains and it turns out fine. my Dad loves it that way. same with our ogi, we dont sieve it. we just figured that if you can eat the whole fresh corn boiled then you should eat the ogi whole, besides its more filling that way.
      but then that what rocks our boat!!

  8. Gâteau

    June 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Wow nice one Uzo. Very big twist! I’m very intrigued with the akamu smoothie, that, I must try. Akara burger….awesome. Beans and cheese with egg…hmmmm let me reserve my comment on that one, if you catch my drift LOL

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Lmaaao. Try it one day Gateau. The egg just makes the Akara fluffy

  9. Didi

    June 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    WoW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love the akara burger. And you blend your beans? Kudos.
    Can you please do a post on beans with coconut milk? Thank you

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 27, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Same thing on my mind. I have two cartons of coconut milk and I’m tired of using them for thai curries…

    • LL

      June 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      MSA you can use coconut milk for smoothies too. It’s very delicious and nutritious. 🙂

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      I will post a recipe for beans made with coconut milk. But you can use your coconut milk as a base for marinades for meat and chicken. Also for muffins, in smoothies too

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 28, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      @LL, I actually do but for my smoothies, my preference is buying the actual whole coconut and breaking it at home to extract the “water”, which I then pour into my smoothie maker with chopped mangoes, bananas & kiwi or strawberries to blend together. Deliciousness in a cup. 🙂 Maybe I’m paranoid about the canned milk but I’d rather use it to cook than drink it… Thanks for the heads-up..

      @uzo, shall check your blog out for that recipe.

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      I will Didi in a couple of days and put up on my blog

  10. Ogo

    June 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Really creative as always, Uzo. I love twists and revamps of traditional Nigerian recipes. I’ve never thought of the similarity between our local “akara and bread” and the oyibo legume-based veggie-burgers. And the “akamu smoothie” is a really inspired idea. Never really been an akara fan but those akara balls in the pictures look beyond scrumptious. I think I’m going to try this recipe out one of these days. Excellent job, Uzo.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      An oyibo chick told me she had a baked beans cook book and there’s a recipe for a baked bean burger. I queried the mechanics and squishiness of making a baked bean patty but apparently, tays and means to form it into a solid shape. I found it interesting to know.

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      Thank you Ogo. And please share your results with me

  11. Eji

    June 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    This really looks interesting…. would definitely give it a try

  12. kudosnaijafoodies

    June 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Been long since I had ogi, but will definitely try out the smoothie. Time to raid mumsy’s freezer for the ogi she always bring back from naija.

    Well done to all the foodies putting a welcome twist on naija foods. I have hope that our food will soon be recognized internationally just like some of our music is.

    While we are on the subject of akara, can someone please do a recipe post on ‘akara kengbe and Ewa ati Egbo and Ekuru’? (I doubt most readers of this forum know what they are) (Dunni where are you) I ate this last 18 years ago at my cousin’s in Ibadan. You can take the girl away from naija but you can’t delete her naija palate lol

    • Busola

      June 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      To prepare ekuru, you go thru same grinding process like akara(thick with little water). But the difference: don’t add onions, pepper and salt. And you definitely won’t fry. After grinding you add little potash. Then you put on a milk tin or nylon; place in water then cook till done.

      Ekuru can be brown(unpeeled beans) or white(pealed beans).

      Then for the sauce blend(not too smooth) bell pepper, chilli pepper and onions. Fry with palm oil.

      Thank me later. I like food. And this akara/burger has been in existence since….. naija student food.

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      Thanks for this Busola. I will give this a try.

    • Deedar

      June 30, 2014 at 8:11 am

      Nice info on the ekuru, will try it out. Not sure about your last point oh. Uzo’s post already mentions that akara with bread is a Nigerian staple, but I really don’t think students eat it with cheese, tomato, onion, etc….

    • Dunni Obata

      June 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Recipe for Ekuru: dooneyskitchen.com/2013/12/30/the-ekuru-muffin/

      Egbo and Ewa, on the list to cook. I have had a friend send me a recipe. Would look into akara kengbe too

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      Please share once you try. I just asked my mum and she will teach me next time I visit…:-)

  13. xena

    June 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Na wao! “Akamu Smoothie” why not “corn smoothie”
    and akara burger.Jeez I need to keep up.

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      Lmaao. Corn smoothie would be funky abi? In my mind it’s akamu or pap always.

  14. mina

    June 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Very interesting. I love the twist with the egg and the akamu smoothie. Hope to give these a try.

  15. Uduak

    June 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Uziiii i see you. Welldone! I’ll try this out.
    By the way her cake loaves and cupcakes are great. You should try them people.

    • uzo

      June 27, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks Uduak 🙂

  16. Adaugo

    June 27, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Wow… nice twist to the regular akara and pap. Im so trying this smoothie soon.. thanks cuz..

  17. uzo

    June 27, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks Adaugo

  18. Joko

    June 28, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I sure will be trying this, I like making the norm interesting ……way to go sis.

  19. The Young Empress

    June 28, 2014 at 6:54 am

    How do you come up with these things Uzo? So super creative. Well done. I’m not an ogi girl but I wonder though, can the akara be baked instead of fried?

    • Uzo

      June 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Baked akara? Hmm. Challenge accepted.

  20. Segun Mr Chops

    June 28, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I’m definitely geting someone to make this fo me and I know the best peson for the job. Gonn send her this link and come back to comment proper after eating it belleful. Kudos Mrs O.

  21. wow

    June 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Man no be today wey akara they between two slices. infact anytime I make akara, bread must dey inside the equation

  22. lara

    June 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Uzo I will try out this smoothie it sounds interesting .

  23. whocares

    June 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    You are a genius. I admit, I was sceptical when I started reading.. how do you revamp akara and akamu, I asked myself, but you did it.. the akamu smoothie, my goodness! We should make you president already and call it a day. This is tomorrow’s lunch.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Long time no read from you….

  24. Titi Ogundipe

    June 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Very unconventional but looks good.As for the akamu smootie for me not sure I will like it but there is no harm in trying.Keep up the good work.

  25. becca

    July 1, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    this quite funny tho… will try it out someday.. will jst bookmark this..

  26. Abi

    July 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I’m so going to try this Uzo, very creative and it looks yummie.

  27. yeancah

    July 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    @Mz Socially Awkward…. use the coconut milk for stir fry coconut rice/bughlur wheat using a day old cooked basmati rice, shredded chicken breast, diced veggies, oyster and soy sauce…. add scrambled eggs to the mix. you’ll love it. As for the akara burger i’ll try it. never knew i could spice my beans with crayfish and stock cubes.. i just use scotch bonnet pepper and onions. Would try the recipe soon Uzo

  28. chika

    July 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    innovation bby! koolies.

  29. slimmy

    July 29, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Pls, how do I know when the taste is okay for me to stop adding salt? Is there any technique? Thanks. Will definitely try it.

  30. bibi.e

    August 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Yum yum
    Your fellow Foodie

  31. jnihillz

    August 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    would do the akara ASAP

  32. Glowing

    August 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Loving on your creativity Uzo. Nutritional Value, Presentation…*what??!* Cook with a touch of Excellence…Well done!!!

  33. ZeZe

    August 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    uh but the akara “burger” has been around for a looooooong time. In igbo land its called “akara edemede” and I used to eat it in the village at my grandparents place. Its just akara squeezed between bread. Delish.

  34. Joy

    September 27, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Just stumbled on u after ur time with wana wana. So love dis recipe. Will try it out but without d burger sha

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