Changing The African Food Narrative

Bean cakes

BEAN CAKES (AKARA)
There is just so much to love about street foods in Nigeria. If you want to learn about the Nigerian culture, its people and their sense of taste, you need to savour the street foods. Nigerian street foods are tasty and give an unforgettable culinary experience. The street foods are always low-priced, handy and delicious.
Bean cakes, popularly known as akara in Nigeria is one of the street foods that everyone can’t get enough of. Akara is made of beans which is high in fiber and antioxidants. Akara is a traditional Nigerian dinner that helps reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and it also helps to prevent cancer. When making akara, you have to plan ahead (soak the beans) and it will come together quite quickly. Akara is made from beans puree/batter spiced with tomatoes, pepper and many other ingredients depending on your choice, cut and rolled into balls, then deep fried with preferred oil. It is usually eaten as a snack, appetizer or as a breakfast dish, served with Pap, bread, custard or oatmeal. Beans cakes snack are rich in protein and is known to provide a healthy alternative to your meat and animal proteins.
Akara looks a lot like a pancake, but smaller. Try adding ground dried shrimp to the batter. In Western Africa, akara is prepared at home for breakfast, for snacks, as an appetizer or side dish. Akara is also sold by vendors on the street, marketplaces, and at bus stations.

Guess what? Akara has health benefits! The health benefit that comes with eating the main ingredient (beans) are enormous. Let’s quickly go through some of these health benefits and how to prepare this delicious snack.
• It Is Rich In Nutrients
Aside protein, complex carbs and fiber, beans contain a powerhouse of nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Menstruating women, who are at risk of iron deficiency, can also benefit from eating Akara. It is also an ideal food for pregnant women to help produce a healthy baby.
• It Balances the Blood Sugar
Beans contain a beautiful blend of complex carbohydrates and protein. Because of this, beans are digested slowly, which helps keep blood glucose stable, and may curtail fatigue and irritability.
• Low In Fat
Most beans are about 2 to 3 percent fat and contain no cholesterol unless they’re processed or prepared with other ingredients.
• Good For The Heart
Beans contain an abundance of soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Ditch canned ground beans to avoid the sodium used to preserve it.
• It Reduces The Risk of Cancer
They are filled with great antioxidants and fiber which promote overall health and prevent serious diseases like cancer.

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