Acaraje is that rare case when I unexpectedly (without looking for them) discover amazing recipes in cuisines I don’t know much about. My friends decided to cook vatapa for the birthday dinner, and I thought I should add something to serve it with. That’s how I came across acaraje.
I was convinced acaraje deserve all the efforts and time to make them, when found sources naming them Brazilian falafel. Everybody loves falafel! As usual, the problem with unfamiliar food is to find the right recipe. I was lucky to find it on Flavors of Brazil, and the only ingredient I substituted (for many reasons) was dendê oil (red palm oil).
They are a true find for people who follow gluten-free diet, but crave for spongy wheat bread texture. Acaraje texture is exactly as it looks on the picture — light and fluffy, doughnut-like. The original recipe is savory. But I don’t see any problem changing it to a dessert version.
I simply can’t stop eating them. Can you imagine a doughnut with the flavor of falafel? That’s what they are.
Soak dry black-eyed peas for 24 hours. Add three times more water than the volume of peas.
Stir and rub handfuls of peas to remove skins. This process is time consuming. It takes changing water about a dozen times. Some stubborn skins need to be removed individually. Drain water.
Place soaked peas and the rest of the ingredients (except for oil) in a blender jar and blend until smooth.
Using a mixer with whisk attachment, whip the batter on high speed for about 5 minutes.The batter doubles in volume and becomes a stable foam, looking similar to a merengue whipped to soft peaks.
In a deep frier, heat the oil to 350F. Spoon or pipe whipped batter into it and fry for about a minute on each side, until they are golden brown and crispy outside. Place on paper towel to absorb extra oil. Serve warm or room temperature. They are still good the next day.