Growing up in Brazil I ate beans and other legumes everyday, often twice a day. The smell of simmering beans takes me home. It’s a comfort, nutritious food I am always excited to prepare for my family and share with others. And when the question is
“What can I make for dinner?”
We eat beans and other legumes 3 to 4 times a week. Maybe more. I am sure everyone looking for a bean recipes can find them online, but if you would like to see what I am cooking and have questions, I hope I can encourage you to incorporate legumes into your diet. People often ask me how I cook my beans, so I created a page storycooking.com/beans that I will post this year.
We do not use can beans. Cooking them from scratch is inexpensive. I use a pressure cooker and cook enough for the week and to freeze. I also love to use my slow cooker– I love coming home to dinner or have that going on busy days.
I have my everyday “go to” recipes but for New Years I wanted to make Acarajé, a street food favorite from Salvador, Bahia. Frying is a rare event around here and saved for festive occasions. My mom is from the Northeast of Brazil and this is one of their most celebrated dishes. I did not have the traditional palm oil “azeite de dendê” so used Safflower oil or you can use another high heat oil for frying the Acarajés.
The Acarajé is traditionally served with Vatapá. For New Years we had with a salad and a little salsa. Here a video I found online that shows the process.
Bellow the right amount for 4 servings, about 16 cakes.
1 cup of Black Eyed Peas, “feijão fradinho”, soaked overnight
1 small onion
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 garlic clove
salt to taste
palm oil, “azeite de dendê”
In a bowl place the beans and cover with water and let soak overnight.
With the beans still in water, rub them with your hands to separate the beans from the outer skins. It does take time and I change the water as the skins floats to the top.
In a blender or food processor blend the onion, ginger and garlic. Only add water if needed to keep blending. I did a couple of spoons. Reserve.
Back in the blender, add beans, and make into a puree adding water if needed. Add the dough to the onion mixture add salt to taste.
Heat oil to 370 to 380 F. (our stop is on low) Wet a tablespoon with water to scoop the dough and drop them in hot oil to fry the acarajé cakes about 3-4 minutes on each side. Keep them warm in a 200F oven until ready to serve.