Crisp on the outside, moist in the middle, these black-eyed pea fritters topped with garlic prawns are perfect for parties and family gatherings.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (21 votes)


  • 250 g (1¼ cups) dried black-eyed peas, soaked in cold water overnight
  • small onion, roughly chopped
  • garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • dendê oil (see Note) or vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 16 raw prawns, peeled and deveined
  • chilli sauce, to serve (optional)



  • 190 ml (¾ cup) fish stock
  • 50 g dried shrimp
  • 50 g white bread, crusts removed and torn into pieces
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) coconut milk
  • 40 g (¼ cup) unsalted peanuts, lightly roasted
  • 40 g (¼ cup) unsalted cashew nuts, lightly roasted
  • ½ small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cm piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • ½ long red chilli, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp dendê oil (see Note)
  • tomato, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • juice of ½ lime
  • sea salt

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.


Drain and rinse the peas, cover with fresh water and rub them between your hands to remove the skins. Skim off and discard the skins as they float to the surface, then drain and rinse. Repeat until the majority of the skins are removed.

Finely grind the peas in a food processor, scraping down the sides occasionally. Transfer to a bowl. Finely chop the onion and garlic in the food processor, then add to the peas with the sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, and stir to combine. Refrigerate until required.

To prepare the vatapá, heat the stock in a small saucepan. Add the dried shrimp and set aside to soften for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak the bread in the coconut milk for 5 minutes.

Finely grind the peanuts and cashew nuts in the food processor. Remove and set aside.

Drain the shrimp, reserving the stock. Coarsely chop the shrimp in the food processor. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli, and finely chop.

Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the shrimp mixture and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Stir in the nuts, soaked bread, tomato and reserved shrimp liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until thick. Stir in the lime juice and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm while you cook the fritters.

Shape the chilled pea mixture into eight oval fritters. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan to 180ºC, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds. Cook the fritters in batches, turning occasionally for 4-5 minutes per batch, or until they are dark brown and cooked through. Remove the fritters using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

To serve, cut the fritters in half horizontally, cutting three quarters of the way through. Drizzle with chilli sauce, if desired, fill with a large spoonful of vatapá and top with the fried prawns. Serve immediately, using a napkin to hold the fritters.



• For the vatapá, substitute 2 tablespoons vegetable oil mixed with ½ teaspoon ground turmeric if dendê oil is unavailable. For an authentic Brazilian garnish, substitute the fried prawns for dried shrimp.