Beans And Pulses/ Food/ Recipe/ Vegan African/Vegetarian/ West African Food

How to Make Koose (Savoury Fried Bean Cakes)

How to Make Koose (Savoury Fried Bean Cakes)

Koose is West Africa’s answer to Middle Eastern falafel. It is made from black-eyed peas, and in this post we will show you how to make koose (savoury fried bean cakes).

And before I go on, this post contains affiliate links I might earn from.

Do not be fooled by the beignet look-alikes. I remember recently giving my husband a bite from a freshly made batch and he was completely thrown off the taste as he took a chunk expecting a sweet delight. These are savoury and spicy bites.

I first came across koose in about 2012 or 2013 when one of my work colleagues, a fellow Ghanaian, brought some into the office. I asked whether they were an Indian dish and he looked astonished. Hadn’t I had any before? I must confess the answer was a big “no.” I turned to my mother for answers. All I really wanted to know was how to make these things. I wasn’t much of a beans lover in those days and my younger years, but the older I grow, the more appreciative I am of these pulses.

Brief History of Koose

Koose, as it is known in Ghana, owes its origins to the Hausa people of West Africa, yet it was well entrenched within Yoruba culture and was exported to Brazil over 400 years ago with the trans Atlantic slave trade. How does that even work? It is known in other parts of West Africa as akara in Nigeria and Sierra Leone. As an aside, the Hausa people fascinate me, well and truly. They have contributed so much to West African food culture. But for this one I think I will stick with the Yoruba side of the origin story because of how far afield this food travelled.

Let’s Discuss the Akara and the Accaras

Koose, the savoury fried bean cake I depict here is more as its Brazilian (Bahia region) counterpart, acaraje, a veganised version filled with broccoli and some sweet chilli sauce I made from blanching scotch bonnet, red bell peppers and blending with a little vinegar and a hint of sweetness.

But the roots of this is West African. Whilst I mentioned the Hausas, some may say the Yorubas are the source of this food. Fair enough. I do have a question for you to ponder. The name akara and the name Accra (Accara… Gamashi). The people once referred to as the Accara’s (akrahs) are the modern day Ga people. As a Ga-Adangme person, I know we have been migrants for centuries, only settling into Ghana 400 years ago. We were referred to as the Accara’s or Akrahs. By the time the Portuguese met us, our town was known as Akrah.

Where we originated is contested however we came through Nigeria. That is certain. Oral history narrates that we left a settlement near the Nile, and passed through Goshen, Ethiopia, Congo, Nigeria and Benin before finally settling in Ghana’s South East region, in Accra and Ada. I don’t know my father’s language very well but every time I hear the word acaraje, I think of the two words, akara and jiemo (Ga word – to remove/bring out). There are also comparisons to the Yoruba word for eat, lati je or he. Hence you get the Bahian akara-je.

These are not answers my friends. Just questions.

How to make koose (savoury fried bean cakes)

But if you want to know how to get from beans to “whoa mamma are those really beans?” Check out the recipe for how to make koose (savoury fried bean cakes) below. For tips on how to de-hull the beans, click here. And if you just can’t, try de-hulled beans.

I originally wrote the step-by-step instructions for The Spruce Eats.

Tumblr blurb here

How to Make Koose (Savoury Fried Bean Cakes)

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By Freda Muyambo Serves: 15 bean balls
Prep Time: 45 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Koose is West Africa's answer to Middle Eastern falafel. It is made from black-eyed peas, and in this post we will show you how to make koose (savoury fried bean cakes). These are also known as akara.


  • 1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas (dried or cowpeas)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1/2 to 1 scotch bonnet pepper (or habanero pepper)
  • 1/2 cup water (to blend)
  • 1 level teaspoon salt (flaked sea salt)
  • 4 cups vegetable oil (for frying)





1. Prepare the beans by soaking and de-hulling them 2 days in advance.


2. Place the beans into a sturdy blender and begin to pulse until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of water at a


time to facilitate the blending process.


3. Add the onion, ginger and scotch bonnet pepper to the blender and pulse until smooth. Add the sea


salt flakes and mix into the batter.


4. Heat up the cooking oil in a small to medium sized sauce pan. Test the readiness of the oil by


adding a shaved piece of ginger. If it sizzles and rises to the top, the oil is hot enough.


5. Using a tablespoon to scoop the batter, spoon about 5 tablespoons of batter into the oil. You will


see them puff up into round balls. Fry and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn them in the oil to


ensure they are evenly browned.


6. Once cooked, scoop them out of the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel. Serve as a snack with


a pepper sauce such as sauce rouge as pictured, or a tomato gravy. You can also enjoy it the


traditional Hausa breakfast way, with porridge known as Hausa koko or ogi pap.


Recipe Tips To ease yourself into making akara with whole beans, start the process up to 2 days in advance of cooking by soaking and de-hulling the beans. You can then store them in the fridge or freezer until ready for use.

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