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Acarajé (Portuguese pronunciation: [akaɾaˈʒɛ]) 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 states 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 stuffed with vatapá and caruru – spicy pastes made from shrimp, ground cashews, palm oil and other ingredients.[1] 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.

Akara (as it is known in southwest and southeast Nigeria) was a recipe taken to Brazil by the slaves from the West African coast. It is called "akara" by the Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria and the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria, "kosai" by the Hausa people of Nigeria or "koose" in Ghana and is a popular breakfast dish, eaten with millet or corn porridge. In Nigeria, Akara is commonly eaten with bread or "Ogi" a type of Cornmeal made with fine corn flour.

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 available outside of the state of Bahia as well, including the streets of its neighbor state Sergipe, and the markets of Rio de Janeiro.

In Candomblé[edit]

Acarajé is a fixture in the Afro-Brazilian religious traditions of Candomblé. Although it is the ritual food of the goddess Iansã, the first acarajé in a candomblé ritual is offered to Exu.

A street vendor selling Afro-Brazilian acarajé in Salvador, Brazil.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blazes, Marian. "Brazilian Black-Eyed Pea and Shrimp Fritters - Acarajé". Retrieved 17 May 2012. 

External links[edit]