I was recently cleaning out my emails and came across a folder labeled “recipes”. Keep in mind this was set up looooong before the days of Pinterest. I came across a recipe for koose that a Ghanaian friend of mine sent me. I remember visiting London a few years ago and this very friend introduced me to Ghanaian food. I'm not sure why or how but I completely forgot about all of that amazing food. I mean come on...red red, jollof and koose. Anyway I say all of that to say when I came across this recipe I don't even need to tell you how excited I was.
Koose (kosai, akara, akla) are crispy black-eyed pea fritters that are a popular street food in West Africa and are usually accompanied by a tomato based hot sauce, kaani.
This recipe is so simple but packs a lot of flavor. I’ll admit, it can be a little time consuming on the front end but the end result is absolutely worth it.
Koose or Black-Eyed Pea Fritters
- 1 cup of dried black eyed peas
- 2 cups water, or enough to cover the beans to soak overnight
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ small onion
- ½ - 1 habanero pepper, optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Vegetable oil or palm oil, for frying
- Place the black eyed peas in a bowl of cold water and soak beans overnight.
- The next day, drain them and remove their outer skins by rubbing them together with the palms of your hands.
- Rub the skins oﬀ the peas and discard the skins. This is done easily by ﬁlling the bowl with water and pouring the water and the skins — which ﬂoat to the top — out. You may need to do this step a couple times.
- Once you have all of the skins of the peas, place them in a food processor or blender. You want to puree it to a paste - not too runny, not too thick. Add water little by little to get the consistency you need.
- Add the onion and habanero; pulse until well blended.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place oil in a deep skillet. The oil should be at least three inches deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, use a cookie scoop or spoon to drop batter into the oil. Fry for 5-7 minutes, flipping the fritter over once or twice, until golden brown on both sides.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve with kaani hot sauce (see recipe below).
Kaani Hot Sauce
Recipe adapted from Saveur
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 habanero pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, chile, and bay leaf, and cook, stirring often, until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Puree sauce in a food processor or blender, and let cool to room temperature. Store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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