Acaraje (similar to vada or vadai etc) are fritters from a batter of soaked ground black eyed peas.

The hard part is removing the peels. I gave up rubbing + rinsing at 75% peeled and the result was tasty just a bit gray.

Is there an easier way?

Soaking with baking soda? Parboil a minute?

AfricanBites.com offers these instructions but I don't know if it will make the job easier:

Soak them for about 15 minutes, pulse in the blender or food processor to break the peas (about 5- 10 times or about 10 to 15 seconds) you should do this in small quantities. In a large bowl soak the beans with warm water for about 2 hours or up to 24hours, cover with water until tender. Rub the peas between your hands to take the skin off. The skins will float to the top. Pour off the skins, into a colander; you may have to do this process several times. Most of the skin will come off the peas; Sort through the remaining peas to remove all the skin.

Ottolenghi calls for soaked chickpeas to be drained and cooked 5min in a hot pan while stirring before the simmer phase to get the skins tender. That step worth a try?

2 Answers 2


It seems that there are specific machines for de-hulling beans; that'd be the easiest way.

Other than that you should soak for 24h, the beans will expand and rip the hulls more easily, but I suppose you still have to peel them by hand - Most of the time I've seen people making acarajé they peel it one by one...

The traditional acarajé is made without the shell, some say the shell will make it bitter. Honestly, it's a ton of work to peel it one by one, I'd give it a try with the shell and compare.

  • soaked more than 24hrs. Didn't get easier the longer I waited. the resulting batter of 75% peeled was tasty just a bit gray.
    – Pat Sommer
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 14:31
  • yes, I don't think it will make much difference after 24h, but it should be easier than soaking for just 2h
    – Luciano
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 16:45
  • Ummm, that machine is coffee bean huller. how would it work for black-eyed peas?
    – Pat Sommer
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 2:00
  • oops wrong link. There are other machines specific for beans, I don't think the one for coffee would work
    – Luciano
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 9:58

Not tried Ottolenghi's method yet but Africanbites.com went well:

After exactly 15min initial soak, pulsed handful at a time in blender 5X.

Many peels already falling off. 1hr soak later began the rubbing as the beans were rubbery not hard at all.

Scooped out skins using ladle with holes (skimmer) while agitating water rather than rinse/drain. Left only 2 or 3% stubborn peels to do by hand. enter image description here

  • This time I briefly blended half the container full covered in water. just until the contents completed a 2 full cycles -maybe 5, 6 seconds. Same outcome and less tedious.
    – Pat Sommer
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 17:10

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