Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Acaraje Crab Fritters (Brazilian Crab Cakes)

Acaraje Crab Fritters (Brazilian Crab Cakes)

Pelourinho district of Brazil reminds us all of the toughest days colonial Brazil. This place has its streets streaming with road side vendors serving wonderful foods, one of which is the Crab Fritters or Acarajes. These tasty fritters or Acaraje are so lovely that the locals have made them almost a part of their daily cuisine. These snacks are often served with a somewhat complex Brazilian sauce called vatapá but I have stuffed them with an equally delicious crab salad. I learned this from my ex-colleague from UNICEF, who was posted in Brazil for a few years. My family members and friends love this so much that I keep on making these off and on. You too can try them at home. I assure you of the fact that everyone would keep on asking for more...

Preparation Time  :  30 minutes
Soaking Time        :  24 hours
Cooking Time       :  20 minutes
Difficulty               :  Easy
Serves                   :  8 - 10 (this makes around 30 /40 fritters)

Ingredients : 

  • 450 grams dried Black-eyed Peas
  • 1 Red Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet, stemmed, seeded and minced (in case you don't get Scotch Bonnet any Spicy Red chili instead)
  • 150 grams Dried Shrimp, finely chopped (optional, but authentic)
  • 3 teaspoons kosher Salt (or use Salt to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked Black Pepper
  • 850 grams cleaned Crab meat (you can Par Boil crab and take out meat, or in case fresh ones are not available use Canned Crab meat, but please don't use artificial ones)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • Canola oil, for frying ( Or any other vegetable Oil as per your preference)

Method :

  1) Soak the peas in water to cover for 24 hours, changing the water once. Drain the peas and add fresh water to cover the next day.
  2) Rub the peas between the palms of your hands to remove the outer skins. Allow the peas to settle and some of the skins will float to the top. Pull the skins from on top of the peas and drain off the water.
  3) Blend the peas in a food processor with the onion. (Blend until it resembles oatmeal in texture).
  4) Combine the pea mixture with the Scotch bonnet, dried shrimp, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  5) Heat a fryer over High flame and add canola oil (or any vegetable oil) till it heats up to 350º. (If you don't have a thermometer to check, put in 1 inch piece of bread, if it browns in 30 secs, the oil is ready).
  6) Using two oval spoons form some of the pea mixture into small oval shapes.
  7) Carefully drop them in the fryer and cook until golden, about 1 minute, turning them from time to time with a slotted spoon. This is Acaraje.
  8) Drain them on paper towels and keep them warm in a low oven as you work.
  9) Dress the crab meat with the mayonnaise.
  10) Split open the acarajéand make a little "sandwich" out of each one by filling them with the crab mixture (1 teaspoon each).
  11) Serve them Hot with a salsa or any sweet and dip.

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