Acaraje is like a Brazilian-style falafel. Packed with flavour and a great source of fibre, the balls of bean goodness are a vegetarian’s dream. These fritters are best served piping hot, topped with mojo de acareje, a Brazilian-style chilli sauce.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (28 votes)


  • 500 g (2½ cups) dried black-eyed beans
  • 60 g (½ cup) dried shrimp (see Note)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry


Mojo de acarajé

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 750 g green prawns, peeled, cleaned, chopped
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cachaça (see note for caipirinha chicken skewers)
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • 2 limes, juiced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need to soak the black-eyed beans overnight.
Drink match 2011 Di Lusso Estate Vermentino ($23).

Place beans and 4 litres water in a large bowl and soak overnight until softened and doubled in size. Drain, then rub beans together to remove any loose skins. (Don’t worry about removing them all).

Soak shrimp in 250 ml (1 cup) boiling water for 20 minutes or until softened, then drain. Process shrimp, onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add beans, cayenne, coriander and olive oil, and process to a paste. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide bean mixture into 18 balls. Flatten slightly and place on a lined oven tray. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make mojo de acarajé, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and chilli, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onions are browned. Increase heat to high and add prawns and sugar. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until prawns start to turn pink. Add the cachaça and cook for a further 30 seconds or until prawns are just cooked and liquid has evaporated. Add coriander and lime juice. Season, cover and keep warm.

Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 170˚C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in 3 batches, gently drop bean balls into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 4 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove fritters with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Serve hot, topped with mojo de acarajé.


• Dried shrimp are available from Asian food shops and selected supermarkets.



As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3.