Seasoned » Recipes » Recipe

Michael Twitty’s Akaras (Black-Eyed Pea Fritters)

Author Michael Twitty. Photo credit Brett Hartman.

In Seasoned’s 2022 holiday episode, culinary historian Michael Twitty spoke to Tagan Engel about the origins of black-eyed peas. “The black-eyed pea, as a sacred symbol, is definitely West African,” he explained. In some African cultures “they’re the eye of the creator, never closing.” Black-eyed peas are symbolic of good luck, prosperity, and fertility in some cultures. Tagan added, “Akara, traditionally, among the Yuroba people, is an offering that’s made to the ancestors.”  Because they’re fried in oil, Akaras would be at home at a Hanukkah celebration, and you’ll find this recipe as part of a Kwanzaa/New Year’s menu in Michael’s book, Koshersoul.

Author Michael Twitty. Photo credit Brett Hartman.

Michael Twitty's Akaras (Black-Eyed Pea Fritters)

Michael W. Twitty
Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine West African
Servings 3 -4 people


  • 2 cups black-eyed peas, dried
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Suya (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher “Chicken” consommé powder
  • 1 cayenne, Scotch Bonnet or habanero, halved, with seeds removed
  • 2/3 cup water
  • oil, for deep frying

Suya (Makes 1/3 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon kosher bouillon cube


For Akaras:

  • Cover and soak the black-eyed peas in a deep bowl with cold water overnight.
  • Drain them and then rub them between the palms of your hands to remove the skins. Return the shelled peas to the bowl of water, and the skins will float to the surface.
  • Discard the skins and soak the peas again for 2 hours. Drain.
  • Place peas in a blender or food processor with the onion, Suya Spice, consommé powder, hot pepper, and a little water. Blend until a batter is formed. Move to a large bowl and whisk for a few minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan to 375°F and fry small scoopfuls of batter until golden brown, about 4 minutes, turning to make sure each side is cooked.

For Suya:

  • Mix all ingredients thoroughly; store in a cool, dry place. Many versions also contain finely ground unsalted peanuts; here use ½ cup if you so choose.


Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew by Michael W. TwittyExcerpted from KOSHERSOUL by Michael Twitty. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, AMISTAD, an imprint of HarperCollins. Copyright © 2022 by Michael Twitty.
Keyword Fritters, Frying, Hanukkah, Holiday, Kwanza, Michael Twitty

Follow Us

Stand up for civility

This recipe is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.