Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
While bean fritters are thought to have their origin in Nigeria, one can find them throughout West Africa. Inspired by the Black-Eyed Pea Fritters served at the Gambian-Cameroonian restaurant Bennachin, in New Orleans, chef and author Bryant Terry whipped up this dish.
- 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, sorted, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ½ cup raw peanuts
- 1 teaspoon minced thyme
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 5 cups coconut oil (see note in Healthy + tab)
- Hot pepper sauce (see below)
Remove the skins from the beans by adding them to a large bowl, filling the bowl with water, agitating the beans, and fishing out the skins that float to the top with a fine mesh strainer. Rinse beans well.
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the beans, onion, peanuts, thyme, cayenne, vinegar, water, and salt and pulse until completely smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Remove the batter from the refrigerator, add the bell pepper and cornmeal, and beat with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
In a medium-size saucepan over high heat, warm the coconut oil until hot but not smoking, about 5 minutes. Lower the oil to medium high, and in batches of 5, spoon the batter into the oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. Fry, stirring around, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. If necessary, adjust the temperature to ensure that the fritters do not cook too quickly.
Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate and allow them to drain. Transfer the drained fritters to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.
Serve hot with Hot Pepper Sauce (below).
Hot Pepper Sauce
Bryant Terry writes: “This is my attempt to replicate the oh-so-slammin’ hot sauce at the Senegalese restaurant Joloff, my favorite eatery in New York City. This version is only slightly hot, but if you really want that fire add one more habanero chile.”
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- Coarse sea salt
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 habanero chile, minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
In a saucepan over low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, cumin, cayenne, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and sauté until the onions start to caramelize, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and chile and sauté for 2 minutes more. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, vinegar, and water. Mix well, and simmer until it starts to thicken, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer all the ingredients to an upright blender, add the white pepper, and puree until smooth. Season with additional salt to taste. Store in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.
Black-eyed peas and other legumes are a healthy way of adding fiber and protein to your diet. Coconut oil, once seen as bad news, is now a staple in the cupboards of many health-conscious people. Check out this interesting New York Times article about it.
Bryant Terry is a chef, food justice activist, and author of three books. His interest in cooking, farming, and community health can be traced back to his childhood in Memphis, Tennessee, where his grandparents inspired him to grow, prepare, and appreciate good food.
Since graduating from culinary school, Terry’s guiding mantra has been, “Start with the visceral, move to the cerebral, and end at the political.” He says that because so many people are detached from having pleasurable experiences with wholesome, fresh food, empowering people to cook at home and share meals with family and friends is a revolutionary first step toward food justice. More about Terry >>
Recipe from Bryant Terry’s book Vegan Soul Kitchen. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. © 2009.