Acaraje is a pureed bean patty. The beans are soaked, then mashed with seasonings or other vegetables like onion and garlic, then fried in oil. The fermentation comes from the soaking. Not all Acaraje recipes call for some fermentation but that was how it was passed to me way back when, and I think it really adds a lot. For me, the longer the soak the better as the beans increase in digestibility and nutrient availability. I love to soak a giant bucket of beans to scoop from as I go. With a quick blitz in a food processor it makes a delicious meal in no time.
Brazilian street vendors will make a boat shaped patty to split in half and fill with pastes such as vatapa made from shrimp.
1. Cover any amount, any type of beans with water to soak. Add salt to make a brine. 1/2 TBS per quart is solid. Splash a "starter" in if you'd like (kombucha, whey, kraut brine). Leave out to ferment at room temperature for 2-3 days, or longer if you'd like, keeping in mind that eventually they'll likely sprout. If the smell gets too weird you can always strain and refresh the brine.
2. When you're ready to make acaraje, strain the beans and rinse to remove the undigestible starches. Add a garlic clove, a hunk of onion, salt and pepper to taste, and any other spices that get you excited. Puree until smooth in a blender or food processor or your mashing paws. Add some brine if it's too dry. You're aiming for a doughish consistency.
3. Form beans into a paddy or ball and either pan fry or deep fry until golden brown over med-high heat. If your puree is not holding shape because its too wet, add a little rice or garbanzo flour.
4. Serve right away with your favorite dips, sauces, and condiments and/ or on a bed of your favorite local greens.