Koose (Black-Eyed Pea Fritters)

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

Instructions

  1. Place the black eyed peas in a bowl of cold water and soak beans overnight.
  2. The next day, drain them and remove their outer skins by rubbing them together with the palms of your hands.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. Add the onion and habanero; pulse until well blended.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

Instructions

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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