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Acarajé is a food that comes directly from West African food traditions, and yet is so totally and completely loved by the locals of Salvador, Brazil.

This is a small Brazilian fritter made from peeled beans or black-eyed peas. The dish uses onions and ground dried shrimp to give it an extra punch in flavor. They’re shaped into balls and deep-fried in boiling azeite dende also known as Brazilian palm oil. The balls are then split in half and filled vatapa, a creamy paste made from finely ground peanuts, shrimp and coconut milk.

The most common accompaniments to the dish include a tomato salad and homemade hot pepper sauces.

The recipe for this popular dish originated during the colonial period of the country, from the Nigerian slaves who first started selling it on the streets of Brazil.

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