Acaraje with a Spicy Shrimp Filling

Of all the places I’ve visited, Brazil has never been one of them. And for a boy who grew up listening to Brazilian pop and jazz music as well as one who’s flown over and around the country of Brazil numerous times, well, I don’t have to tell you how sad this makes me. But one thing that doesn’t make me sad is Brazil’s cuisine, a mélange of cultures and culinary influences from Europe, Africa and South America. And as long as I can keep eating my favorites from home I’ll be just fine until I get to visit. Brazil, you are on the top of my list!

This recipe for Acaraje, a black-eyed pea and shrimp fritter, is absolutely fantastic, satisfying and filled with a wonderful combination of Spice Islands spices. I love anything with shrimp, adding spices and frying it only makes it better. And until I get to Brazil and eat them in Bahia, well, I’ll be making plenty of them with some of my favorite Spice Islands ingredients.

Someone hand me a beer!


Makes 12

½ lb dried black eyed peas
1 cup Vidalia onions, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons Spice Islands Paprika
1 teaspoon Spice Islands Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Spice Islands Pepper, Black Medium Grind
1 teaspoon Spice Islands Cayenne Pepper
2 cups palm or peanut oil for frying

Spicy Shrimp Filling:
½ lb tiger shrimp, peel and cleaned (with tails removed)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Spice Islands Curry Powder
2 teaspoons Spice Islands Ground Cumin
½ teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Coriander
½ teaspoon Spice Islands Pepper, Black Medium Grind
½ medium yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Salt to taste

1. Submerge black eyed peas in cold water overnight. Drain peas and peel and discard any remaining skins.
2. Preheat palm or peanut oil in a dutch oven to 365°F, using a candy thermometer.
3. Place peas in a food processor with the onion, garlic and flour and puree until just combined.
4. Pour the mixture into a bowl and fold in the paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne until well combined.
5. Form mixture into ¼ cup balls until all of the mixture has been used.
6. Carefully drop the balls into the oil and fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. (This will have to be done in batches)
7. Drain on paper towels and finish frying remaining fritters.
8. For the filling: In a bowl toss together the shrimp, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Set aside.
9. In a sauté pan heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat.
10. Add the onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent and begins to soften.
11. Add the seasoned shrimp and garlic and sauté for another 4-5 minutes, or until the shrimp has just cooked through.
12. Remove from heat and stir in green onions. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
13. When the fritters have cooled enough to handle, cut a slit into the side of the fritters, creating a pocket, and fill with a small amount of filling. Serve warm.

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3 Responses to Acaraje with a Spicy Shrimp Filling

  1. Gaby says:

    omg yes please! These look like the perfect flavorful little bite to just pop in your mouth!!

  2. Márcia Pires says:

    really…. in brazil we have a great cuisine!
    i like the way you did this recipe and i hope you come here someday.

  3. you’ve got great post here, keep ‘em coming.