Akara (bean balls) is a meal I love so much both for myself and my family. It is a delicacy for families across Nigeria. It can be taken anytime of the day but preferably in the mornings or evenings.
I remember as a child, it was a must on Saturday mornings. Though my mum would have wanted to make it more often but due to the stress involved in its preparation, she would rather make it once a week and we enjoyed eating it with pap and lots of milk (smile).
As it was with my mum, not being able to make this meal more than once a week because of the associated stress involved, so it was with me when I became my own woman and started having my own family. Though I loved Akara so much, I was forced to buy from those making it for sale outside instead of making it myself.
Over the years I sat down to ask myself reasons for my inability to make this meal for my family and reasons I came up with were:
1. Being a career woman, I was just so busy that I needed to do everything as fast as possible.
2. There was much stress in preparing the beans needed for the delicacy.
3. The stress of looking for where to blend the beans which is the main ingredient was not worth it to me.
I endured the pain (so to say) of not being able to prepare this meal for my family as a woman until I finally resigned from being a career woman and became self-employed, giving me more time to care for my home. As the months went by being my own boss, I began to fix those things I missed out on while working and making Akara was one of them and I am here to help other busy or career mums who are in my previous shoes overcome this challenge.
Overtime, I have realized that making Akara can be so easy if some things were put in place or learned differently. I have been able to eliminate all the stress areas of preparing this meal and at the moment, I actually prepare it as much as 3 times in a week especially at my husband’s request. I am so glad I do it now so effortlessly.
So, what actually changed? What do I do differently now? Busy mums… let’s roll!
- Preparing the beans.
Beans is the main ingredient for making Akara. As we know, the beans has to be soaked in water for at least one hour so as to increase its size and make it tender enough to grind. Next, the beans is washed by taking off the peels. This is one big issue with making Akara as many mums have a hard time removing these peels. I also had such problems but not anymore.
My liberation came when a dear friend introduced me to carrying out this process with the help of a plastic grater. Yes, your regular grater like the image below:
What u do, is just take a little in your hands at a time and gently move over the rough sides of the grater and voila! The peels just come off so easily and in no time you will be done. Indeed my plastic grater is life saver! (smile)
Tip: an easy tip for really busy mums is not to wait for the whole 1 hour before beginning the peel removing process. Just soak for about 5-10mins and begin to wash with the grater. But make sure to keep the beans in water throughout the process so it can continue getting soft and tender. This is a time saving trick I use when in a hurry.
2. Grinding/Blending the beans.
This is the next area that discouraged me so much in the past from making this delicious meal. Most times, the practice here in Nigeria is to take the washed beans to a commercial mill where it can be grinded into paste before frying. Every woman will agree with me that it’s not funny when you are the busy type.
To overcome this stress, every busy mum should please invest in a good blender! Yea, that’s it! Your home blender can do the job of the milling machine excellently and save you time and stress involved in walking around looking for where to grind your beans. So, after washing with the plastic grater, just switch on your blender and blend to a fine paste, but the consistency should not be watery.
So, busy mums, after eliminating those 2 stress areas above, you just go ahead and fry……..
- You can eat akara with pap and milk
- You can eat akara with bread
- You can eat akara with cereal
- You can eat akara alone