Acarajé Recipe


The first time that I tried acarajé was at the airport in Salvador, Bahia (located on Brazil’s central coast region). 3 ladies wearing traditional Bahian attire (see below) were sitting just outside of the terminal in a make-shift kitchen consisting of a couple of large metal pots, a butane burner and a few coolers. They recommended their acarajé, a specialty of the region. These deep-fried cakes consisting of mashed beans, shrimp, and spices were so good that I found myself ordering them throughout my stay in Salvador. This is a simple recipe. You can form acarajé as cakes or balls depending on your preferred serving size.

bahia - acaraje vendor

Recommended Equipment:
food processor or blender

1 15oz. can navy beans, drained
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 Serrano pepper, diced
1 cup of fresh shrimp, chopped
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn black pepper
3 tbsp manioc or tapioca flour
oil for frying

dipping sauce:
3 tbsp olive oil
3 shrimp. finely diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
2 to 3 dried hot peppers
3 tbsp dendê oil (palm oil)
1/4 tspn salt


  1. Place the beans, onion, Serrano pepper and shrimp into a food processor and pulse to form a smooth paste.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and flour and mix the ingredients until they are well combined.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil for deep frying.
  4. While the oil heats up, form the acarajé using your hands. You can form them as balls or paddies – it’s up to you. You can even garnish them with small dried shrimp pressed into the pattie if you prefer.
  5. Serve hot with dipping sauce.

dipping sauce:

  1. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the shrimp, onions, and hot peppers.
  3. When the onions become clear and translucent, add the dendê oil and salt to the skillet and reduce the heat to simmer.
  4. Serve when all of the acarajé are ready.

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