This acarajé with vatapá recipe makes the perfect snack at a Brazil-themed party. The crispy bean and onion cakes (acarajé) are stuffed with a flavourful vatapá - a popular Brazillian mix of salt cod, shrimp, crab, nuts and coconut milk. Chef Marcello Tully says acarajé is one of his favourite Brazillian street-food snacks, citing their moreishness and aroma as a major attraction.
When Brazilian-born chef Marcello Tully started his career at 14, he may not have anticipated working on the starkly beautiful island of Skye - but then he probably didn’t expect to be crafting some of the most exquisitely refined Scottish-influenced food on the planet, either.
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First, make the acaraje. Add the beans to a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak overnight (or for 24 hours)
450g of black-eyed beans
While the beans are soaking, gently rub them between your hands - the outer skins should come away and float to the surface. Remove the skins and discard, then drain the water
Cover the beans with water again - more skins should float up to the surface. Discard and leave the beans to finish soaking
After soaking, drain the beans and add to a food processor with the raw onions (do this in batches if necessary)
450g of white onion, roughly chopped
Scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl and season with salt. Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon for a few minutes, until light and fluffy
Heat the dende oil and the vegetable oil in a large, deep pan. Form balls of the batter with a wooden spoon and carefully drop into the hot oil in small batches, cooking for approximately 6 minutes (or 3-4 minutes on each side). They are cooked when they turn a nice bright orange colour and are crisp on the outside
360g of dende oil
360g of vegetable oil
Once they are cooked, drain and set aside on some kitchen towel
While the cakes are cooling slightly, make the vatapa filling. Add the shrimp to a food processor, blitz to a pulp then remove and set aside. Add the bread to the food processor, blitz until smooth then add the cashews and peanuts. Blitz for a further 2 minutes, then remove and set aside
300g of dried shrimp
330g of bread, day-old, roughly chopped
85g of cashew nuts, unsalted
85g of peanuts, unsalted
Add the dende oil to a large pan and place over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and sweat for 2-3 minutes until tender but not coloured
20g of dende oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Add the pulped shrimp, coconut milk, tomato and bread crumb mixture. Cook for a further 5 minutes
840g of coconut milk, unsweetened
1 tomato, large, roughly chopped
Add salt and pepper to season, then add the crab meat at the last minute to warm through. Stir through the coriander and set aside
2 2/3 handfuls of coriander, roughly chopped
250g of crab meat, cooked
Carefully cut a slit across the longest side of the acaraje and spoon some of the vatapa into each one. Serve immediately
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