PAP AND AKARA: NIGERIAN DELICACY
One food that can be said to have a Nigerian root is the Akara which is most of the time accompanied with a semi-liquid corn based food that we know as Pap. Akara is made essentially from beans and bits of other ingredients like pepper, tomatoes, onions and other things that you may wish to add. On the other hand, Pap is basically extracted from corn and prepared with sugar, milk and water and it is best served when hot. Akara which is also known as bean cake is a very healthy meal and is served with pap and milk usually on a Saturday morning. This is one meal that is known to give you the energy needed to get the day kick started.
When it comes to akara, they are rich in protein gotten from beans. This food is known to provide a healthy alternative to our meat and animal proteins. They help to repair tissues that are worn out. This bean cake is also rich in soluble fibre which is known to lower cholesterol level. Most people have always disliked this form of cake because of the beans it is made of. They feel beans causes indigestion and flatulence. It may interest you to know that this same food help a great deal in losing weight.
According to nutritional experts, each ball of this cake (100g) contains 71 calories approximately, if just prepared with the basic things as mentioned earlier. Its calorie content for fat is just 10 and protein s high as 45 calories and which is really good when it comes to losing weight. Fibre and sugar make up the remaining the 14 calories. Now this is where caution must be preached, because a ball oof akara would not satisfy the average Nigerian. About 5 or so would do the job thereby loading into calorie stores and if taken excessively could cause obessity.
On the other end, pap a popular staple use of corn is another nutritious and healthy food. Corn here is one plant that qualifies as medicinal and good for the heart. It is wholly natural with no additives what so ever. It contains potassium which helps to lower B.P – effortlessly maintaining a normal blood pressure. This makes it perfect for hypertensive patients. This food contains a high level of water which is why nursing mothers use it to help the easy flow of breast milk after a delivery.
Its texture also makes it very easy to digest, making it a perfect food for recuperating individuals just recovering from illness and also perfect for breakfast as the stress it exerts on the digestive system is so minimal. Pap delivers a great deal of carbohydrate despite its texture. This is why it is recommended for athletes like during their half time when they can’t afford to take something heavy (as this can affect their movement in the game) but need to be refreshed and fluids lost by sweating replaced.
Akara, together with Pap is an ideal form of breakfast any time any day. Together they are a healthy combination with countless nutritional benefits and help in the prevention of lots of diseases like stroke and the rest. This food combination is considered the perfect way the start your day.
Ingredients for Akara
•Beans (black-eyed or brown beans)
•Habanero chilli peppers
•Salt to taste
•Vegetable oil for frying
How to prepare Akara
•Soak the beans in a bowl of water for five minutes to soften the coats, remove the coats, rinse very well and put in a blender
•Add pepper and little water and blend.
•Slice onions into the blended beans, add seasoning cubes with salt. Add crayfish if desired. Deep fry the bean balls in oil.
Caution is Preached!
Akara could be eaten with bread and agidi apart from the traditional pap. But it is usually better prepared with healthier oil (unsaturated fat) such as olive oil, vegetable oils and sunflower oil as these are good and heart healthy which when taken in moderation reduce cholesterol in the blood.
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The author Prince
Hi, I’m Prince.. a registered Dietitian, an avid reader and a passionate writer. I hope you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy writing them