Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

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This recipe is renowned chef Pierre Thiam’s unique take on a traditional Senegalese dish – the accara, or black-eyed pea fritter. Sold on street corners across West Africa, often as a sandwich on a fresh baguette. This recipe treats them more like a falafel, as they’re stuffed inside a pita bread instead. The spicy pickled carrot condiment has its roots in Thiam’s Vietnamese godfather. Deliciously light and rather addictive, these accara make a great snack alongside drinks.


  • 1 cup black-eyed peas (dried)
  • 2 tablespoons white onion (chopped), and some sliced onion for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground (optional)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Pita breads or fresh baguette
  • Spicy pickled carrots, for serving (see below)
  • Lettuce leaves, for garnish
  • Sliced tomatoes, for garnish
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, place the black-eyed peas and cover with hot water. Soak for a minimum of 15 minutes, although longer is fine (as is overnight), until you find the skins easy to peel when rubbed between your two palms. Rub the skins off the peats, allowing them to float to the top of the bowl. Carefully pour the water out of the bowl, along with the skins, leaving the peas behind. Keep repeating until all your peas are cleaned.
  2. Drain, and place in food processor. Add the onion, salt, baking soda, a splash of water, your black pepper, and red pepper if you have chosen to use some.Smoothly blend the batter until it resembles the consistency of a light hummus.
  3. Into a large cast-iron skillet (or other heavy, straight sided pan with a 1 inch depth), pour your oil. Over a medium-high heat, heat up your oil to 365 degrees. Reduce to medium, and use a spoon to carefully drop 1 tablespoon of batter into the oil. Repeat until you have used all the batter.
  4. To plate, split a pita bread or ¼ baguette, and fill with 3-4 fritters, a liberal spoonful of pickled carrots, along with some lettuce, onion, tomato & cilantro. Alternatively, the accara can also be served sans bread, simply on a platter along with drinks. Serve immediately and enjoy hot!