This street food from northern Brazil is made with fermented black-eyed peas.

by Lori Rice
Acaraje: Brazilian Street Food - Photo by Lori Rice (
Photo by Lori Rice

Yield: 4 servings


Black-eyed Pea Patties

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small hot chili pepper (such as bird’s eye chili or serrano)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil for frying (or your favorite frying oil)

Shrimp Sauce

  • 1 T. virgin coconut oil or other cooking oil
  • 12 to 15 small tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large pepper (such as poblano or green bell), chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and chopped
  • 2 T. coconut milk or heavy cream


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Black-eyed Pea Patties
While still soaking in water, remove skins from black-eyed peas by squeezing each pea between your thumb and finger to slide off skin. Skim off loose skins from water and discard. Remove as many as possible, but don’t worry if you can’t get them all.

In small food processor, combine black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, chili pepper and salt. Pulse until thick paste forms. You should be able to form it into patties. Transfer paste to bowl and set aside to ferment at room temperature for 1 to 3 hours.

In deep skillet or 5-quart Dutch oven, heat coconut oil to about 175 to 200 degrees F. Form black-eyed-pea paste into four patties. Place patties in hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and fry on other side. Remove from oil and place on paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

Shrimp Sauce
In large, deep skillet over medium heat, heat coconut oil. Add tomatoes, pepper, onion and salt. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until tomatoes break down and other vegetables soften.

Remove skillet from heat and transfer vegetables to blender. Purée until smooth and return sauce to skillet. Return to medium heat and add shrimp. Cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Stir in coconut milk or cream. Set aside.

To serve, place one patty on each plate and top with about 1/2 cup shrimp sauce.


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