Acaraje with Vatapa




Yield 20 dime-sized fritters





Stage 1 - Preparing the Acaraje

  1. Using a food processor, pulse your dried black eye peas several times. You don't want to break them up entirely or make them into a full paste yet, but just enough to break the beans into smaller pieces
  2. Move the pulsed peas into an empty bowl and submerge with water
  3. With your hand, mix the peas around as you start to see the skins of the peas rise to the top (you'll be able to tell because the water becomes murky at the top)
  4. With your hand, scoop the skins of the peas out. As you run out of water, re-submerge and repeat until you've gotten most if not all of the skins out (the water becomes less murky and almost clear)
  5. Submerge in water and set aside as you move onto the vatapa preparation

Stage 2 - Vatapa

  1. In your (cleaned) food processor, mix the cashews, peanuts, dried shrimp, chiles, garlic, ginger, onions, and scallions together. Process them finely until you get a very thick paste and set aside
  2. Rinse out your food processor then add your quinoa, steel cut oats and coconut milk. Turn on your processor and mix the ingredients together until they too develop a very thick paste and set aside

Stage 3 - Making the Acaraje

  1. Rinse out your food processor and transfer the black eyed peas in after draining them of their water. Turn on the food processor and let it grind the peas down until you have a near-mealy paste texture (this happens when the peas are very finely ground). Remove your pea puree and set aside in a large bowl
  2. Rinse your food processor out once more. Add your onion and garlic and grind down into a paste. Remove from your food processor and add it to the bowl with the pea puree
  3. Mix both pastes together well and season with your sea salt
  4. Next, take a small stockpot and add your coconut oil. Heat the oil over high heat until its melted and very warm, then reduce the heat of your stove to medium-high at most
  5. Take a large spoonful (or an ice cream scoop if you have one) of the pea/onion batter and place into the oil. Let it fry in oil until golden brown (at least 5 minutes, or ~3 minutes on each side if flipping over)
  6. Once done and golden brown, remove your acaraje and place on a plate with a paper towel to let the leftover oil drain

Stage 4 - Making the Vatapa

  1. Heat a large saucepan with your coconut oil over medium-high heat
  2. Once the oil is heated, add the dried shrimp and nut paste. Let it cook together for 2 minutes
  3. Next, add the raw shrimp and tomatoes. Stir around and cook for another 1 minute
  4. Add the coconut milk and quinoa/oat paste and stir thoroughly in. Reduce the heat of the stove to medium-low and let it cook slowly together for 5 minutes
  5. Take the vatapa off heat and add your cilantro and parsley

Stage 5 - Serving

  1. To serve, take one of your acaraje and cut it halfway open. Take a dollop of vatapa and spread in the acaraje. Garnish with red bell pepper, extra dried shrimp, or extra cilantro, and enjoy!

Courses Appetizers

Cuisine Brazilian

Recipe by Arousing Appetites: Home to the Serious Cook at