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Whip up some homemade 'pea pups'

By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia

Can't wait for akara pea pups to show up in supermarkets and fast-food stores? Here's a recipe to make a batch of these West African treats at home.

Soak two-thirds of a cup of dry black-eyed peas in one and one-third cups of water. Rub the peas between your fingers when the seed coats begin to wrinkle (about 5 minutes), keeping the dehulled peas submerged in the water. Dehull the peas within 25 to 30 minutes to keep them from absorbing too much water.

Float off the separated seed coats under running water. Then drain the dehulled seeds in a colander and blot them dry.

Blend three-fourths of a cup of soaked, dehulled peas with one-third of a cup of water in a blender, on low speed, to form a smooth paste. This takes about 5 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the contents of the blender jar occasionally during this step.

Transfer the paste to a mixer and whip it, on high speed, for 3 minutes. The batter will become foamy during this step.

Stir into the whipped paste:

* 1½ tablespoons finely chopped onion.

* 1½ tablespoons finely chopped bell or hot pepper.

* 1 teaspoon salt.

Drop the mixture by tablespoonfuls into hot oil (380 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3 to 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown.

Drain them on absorbent paper, and serve them warm as a snack food or as a bread-like accompaniment.

Note: Cream peas with no pigmentation (white acre or Texas cream, for example) may be used without dehulling. But they need to soak for 25 to 30 minutes to absorb the proper amount of water and soften some before blending.

(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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