Sunday, 1 July 2012

Curried Courgette Fritters



Yesterday was the Pimlico Farmer's Market big birthday bash, celebrating the efforts of all the amazing people who've been bringing in their amazing produce for the past ten years. Shuk from Flourish bakery baked an impressive giant cake, topped with the most adorable decorations that were tributes to each and every one of the producers, including the hilarious marzipan T-bone steaks. Inside, were three layers of carrot, beetroot, and courgette cake, which everyone polished off in an hour. Granted, no one resists free tea and cake, but it really was very good cake, moist and sweet from the best of this season's vegetables, grown lovingly by the very people for whom the cake was made for.

I've had carrot and beetroot in cakes before, but courgette's entirely new to me. It's probably not the most avant-garde of cakes you've had if you grew up here, or even if you grew up on the other side of the pond where it's called zucchini bread, but up till three years ago, I've never even come across a courgette before. I remember buying them in my first year, thinking they were cucumbers by some sort of  queer old-English name, and being entirely disappointed by its crunch-less, juice-less, seed-less insides. It's one of my favourite summer vegetables now though, so versatile in stews, roasts, or shaved into ribbons for salads or pseudo pasta, and now, even in cake.

I do love that false sense of virtuousness in putting vegetables together with cake, and it was very good cake at that, so I was a woman on a mission once I got home, determined to track down that courgette cake recipe which Shuk wasn't allowed to divulge. Promising Nigel Slater recipe scribbled down, courgettes all hand-shredded, oven all heated up, I realised then that I was out of flour. Five minutes of mild cursing and another five minutes of larder appraisal later, I made these (inadvertently gluten-free) curried courgette fritters.

Curried Courgette Fritters
makes about 8 3-inch pancakes
Ingredients
2 medium courgettes
1 free-range egg, beaten
2-4 tbsp fine rice flour
1 tsp garlic powder /grated garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp unrefined sea salt, plus more to taste
ghee/ coconut oil, for frying

Method
1. Shred the courgettes on a coarse grater. You could use the food processor but you won't get nice long shreds and a nice arm workout. Toss with 1 tsp of salt and leave for 10 minutes. Squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can, you might be quite surprised at how drastically small your courgette pile has become, but it's important for non-soggy fritters.
2. Taste for seasoning, adding extra salt if necessary. Combine the rest of the ingredients together, adding more/less rice flour if the mixture feels too loose. Refrigerate the batter for about 10 min. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
3. Heat a shallow layer of oil in the frying pan, and when hot, drop heaped tablespoons of the mixture and fry over medium heat till golden brown on the bottom and edges, flipping over once. Leave to drain on paper towels, then transfer to the oven while you finish the rest. They should all have about 5-10 minutes in the oven to really crisp up.


Golden and crisp on the edges, and fluffy and moist on the inside, these fritters are not at all like the greasy takeaway pakoras that weight heavily on your stomach at the end of the meal. The spices add a kick which is a delicious especially with a soothing cucumber-mint raita, or even a tzatziki which is a pretty similar dip anyway but frankly would probably go better with a more traditional greek-style fritter with feta. Or if you're lazy, a squeeze of lemon and plain yogurt will do quite nicely. This pretty much made me forget entirely about my failed mission, though I must admit, I'm very easily cheered up by food.

For more courgette ideas, see zucchini a la carbonara.

33 comments:

  1. Yum! I love courgette fritter, never thought to curry-ify them before though. Do persevere with the courgette cake mission - it makes a really lovely moist cake.

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    1. I've almost just shoved all plans for it aside, but okay, I shall persevere after all!

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  2. That's some appetising fritters!
    I've made banana courgette cake but the texture was a little springy in a good way and since we are talking about veg in cakes, I've once made an aubergine brownie too and that was surprisingly delicious!

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    1. the banana courgette cake sounds great, sounds like it'll be even more moist and delicious, and aubergine in brownie, wow! care to share the recipe? ;p

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  3. Yes over here we call it zucchini bread and it is the preferred method of home gardeners for getting rid of big, overgrown zucchini, which can happen very quickly with them if you're not vigilant. I've always done the Greek-style fritters with feta, fresh mint, dill and scallions, but I like your idea of using curry - very creative! Sometimes the best discoveries happen by accident.

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    1. Ah too many courgettes, what a lovely problem to have don't you think? I really do like them in cake, or bread as you call it, and will hopefully power on with my mission! Hope you try the curried version, it's a nice take and doesn't require feta, just some storecupboard spices!

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  4. Those look yummy! Another good topping would be hot pepper jelly. Nice job changing direction :)

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    1. Oooh what a great idea! (That would be what I call sweet chilli sauce/jam I presume?)
      OH I just thought of something now that you brought up jellies: some mint chutney!

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    2. Yes, mint chutney would lighten it up and be so summery! The hot jelly might be different from what you mentioned. This is hard core jelly, which probably originated in the southern U.S. I've never made it, but friends have made it for me and it is divine as part of a cheese platter. Here is an example to give you an idea http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spicy-Red-Pepper-Jelly-236699

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  5. Oh no, what a shame about the cake! But actually what a good mistake, because these fritters look and sound absolutely delicious. I often make Ottolenghi's courgette and manouri fritters which are quite similar - love love love :-)

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    1. A happy mistake, but I will persevere with the cake mission this weekend! I love ottolenghi's food, might give that a go one day if I can! Manouri is a bit obscure to find :/

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  6. I am always on the lookout for ways to prepare zucchini (courgettes, of course, for you). If I ever made fritters from them I don't remember it. I will do so very soon. Maybe even this week!!!

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  7. These look fantastic, and good innovation on your part for having run out of flour! I've known them only as zucchinis (or sometimes green squash). My husband also didn't know what they were when he first saw them, he thought they were a type of cucumber too!

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    1. I'm always running out of something because I don't plan ahead :( Glad to know I'm not the only one making that mistake!

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  8. I have made these exact fritters and know how good they taste... can't wait for my courgettes to mature so I can fritter them up... The Viking is lusting after these too!

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    1. Yay, great minds ;) I keep forgetting that everything comes a little later up north, no matter, can't wait to see you and your courgette ideas then!

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  9. Yummy! Can’t wait to pick my home-grown courgettes now!

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  10. Yum!!!! Need to eat more veggie food and I know these will help me!

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  11. this curry flavored zucchini fritter dish sounds sinfully delicious! It's been very hot here in NYC so I'll save this fried dish until the weather is cooled down a bit. As usual I love your artistic drawing/illustration!

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  12. The fritters look scrumptious! And the CAKE!!! It's stunning!

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    1. You clicked over to see huh? The cake's absolutely genius!

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  13. Hi Shuhan - you're right, it's never nice to have a fritter which you can squeeze and watch the grease dribble out! I love fritters actually... usually I make them with sweetcorn only, sometimes with courgette, although I never tried a curried one before. I'll have to try this next time - thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Yuck I don't even want to think of a fritter like that! I actually have never tried a sweetcorn fritter! Now I know what to do when they start coming into season. (:

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  14. I love zucchini (or courgette) fritters! yummmm!

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  15. Nice! Inadvertently creating something edible (much less delicious) is always awesome. Very resourceful. :)

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  16. I have had many kinds of fritters, yet to try curry ones. Got to try making this soon.

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  17. Sounds and looks really delicious. Always been a huge fan of courgette. It's practically my 'don't know what to cook' feel safe back up plan. There's nothing a plateful of pasta sauce made with some grated courgette and creme fraiche can't do. And next time, I'll use some of the grated courgette for this. Thanks for sharing Shuhan :)

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  18. I cannot believe I have almost missed these beauties! I love courgette and I think it's the first vegetable that comes to my mind when I make an Asian stir-fry (weird isn't it?). Now that they are in season and taste really good (I admit I buy them all year round... ) I have them almost every day. Your fritters look fabulous and somehow seem to be an ideal summer dish.

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  19. I love courgette fritters but have never tried curried ones! Any excuse for more courgettes; the fritters look great.

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  20. anh: agreed, they're yummy!

    linda: thank you, I'm glad plan b turned out alright!

    quay po: I like adding some spice into my food (:

    j: oooh, grated courgette and creme fraiche. lush!

    sissi: oh great to hear from you! I do have them quite a lot too, probably not every day though, now that they're in season!

    all that i'm eating: heh a bit of spice always helps to kick things up a little!

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  21. Omg awesome recipe, Shu Han! I don't think I've had anything like this before and curry spice is always a good thing no matter what you're eating huh. Interesting addition but can totes see how it works. Only someone like you would have the eye, nose and mouth to pick that up! =D

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    1. Aw winston you always overwhelm me with your response haha! Thank you, and I hope you try it (:

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  22. I'm so into curried dishes at the moment. My courgettes are still tiny at the moment and I'm fighting the slugs for them but as soon as I get any to mention I will try this it sounds scrumptious. Thanks for sharing Shu Han.
    Deb

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