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Cereal Chem 60:333 - 336.  |  VIEW ARTICLE
Compositional, Physical, and Sensory Characteristics of Akara Processed from Cowpea Paste and Nigerian Cowpea Flour.

K. H. McWatters. Copyright 1983 by the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc. 

Akara, deep-fat fried balls prepared from cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) paste is widely consumed in West Africa. Quality characteristics of akara processed from a commercial Nigerian cowpea flour and from soaked but not dehulled cream peas (Dixiecream cultivar) were compared to traditionally prepared akara as a reference. The flour's poor water absorption properties resulted in paste consistency that was too fluid to dispense properly for frying and in akara balls that were misshapen. Particle size analysis showed that the flour was considerably finer than traditional paste, with the greatest concentration (68%) of flour particles occurring in the 200-400-mesh range, compared to 64% in the 50-100-mesh range for traditional paste. Uncooked Dixiecream paste was darker (L = 74.8) and greener (a = -6.3) than reference paste (L = 77.7, a = -3.7) and produced akara that browned more during frying (L = 61.7) than reference or flour-based akara (L = 67.2 and 67.4, respectively). Reference and Dixiecream akara were higher in moisture (45.3 and 48.5%, respectively) and crude fat (31.8 and 30.3%, respectively) than flour-based akara (40.8% moisture, 20.8% crude fat). Flour-based akara, which contained whole egg, was higher in protein content (19.3%) than reference (16.1%) or Dixiecream akara (17.3%). Significantly greater force (27.7623 N/g) was required to shear flour-based akara than reference or Dixiecream akara (16.9713 and 17.0694 N/g, respectively). Sensory attributes of akara from all treatments were highly acceptable except for the dry, tough texture and beany flavor noted in flour-based akara. Cowpea meal or flour may require a particle size distribution closely resembling that of traditional paste if it is to function successfully in the preparation of akara.

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