Banana Akara

02 May 2012

Sweet and savoury deep-fried fritters have been popular all over the world for centuries; from the frittelle of Roman times to pakoras in India or tempura in Japan, apple fritters in England and the onion ring in the United States. In West Africa, fritters are a popular snack food, where they are often made with bananas, maize, or pineapple.

This recipe for sweet fritters using ripe bananas and rice flour, known as ‘akara’, comes from Sierra Leone: From Earth to Table, published recently by Slow Food to highlight local ingredients and their uses. Whether boiled or ground into flour, rice is an essential ingredient in many of Sierra Leone’s traditional dishes. However local rice production has been devastated by civil war and cheap imports. Mangrove rice is one of the most productive and disease resistant local varieties in Western Africa, cultivated by controlling ground water salinity in coastal areas.

Sierra Leone: From Earth to Table contains this and many others recipes using local vegetables, grains and seasonings – downloaded it here in English or French.

Rice Flour and Banana Fritters (Banana Akara)

4 ripe bananas, peeled
160 grams (1 cup) rice flour
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
warm water
oil for frying

Mash the bananas in a bowl into a smooth paste and stir in the sugar.
Add the rice flour and mix well with a wooden spoon, adding a little warm water if needed to keep the mixture moist but not too runny. The mixture should hold together enough that it slowly drops off a spoon held upside down.
Refrigerate for around 15 minutes.
Heat enough oil in a saucepan to deep-fry spoonfuls of the mixture. Drop in a few spoonfuls at a time, leaving enough space between them. Fry until golden brown.
Drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

Enjoy freshly cooked, as is, lightly dusted in icing sugar and cinnamon or with a drizzle of honey and a scoop of coconut ice cream.

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