Monday, November 29, 2010

fritter heaven

What comes to mind when you think of kiwi food? While there’s the archetypal lamb roast and pavlova*, it's not something you’ll find in every café. When it comes to a certainty on every urban menu, the gong has to go to fritters.

Corn fritters seem to appear on almost every New Zealand breakfast menu for over a decade. Despite the fact canned corn never goes out of season, the more adventurous establishment will branch out to zucchini or other fresh vegetables in summer. They are cheap, easy to make and team well with relishes, chutneys and a host of side dishes.

In the past I’ve just haphazardly thrown some flour, egg and soy milk into a bowl and beat til it formed a batter. Following on my promise of making some earmarked treasures from my old Annabel Langbein cookbook The Best of Annabel Langbein, I gave her soda water fritter batter a go. The first time round I followed it to the letter. Certainly the creaminess of milk (or soy) is not missed but I still found it quite a cakey batter. I’ve had a few goes at making my own variations; it’s a work in progress so feel free to direct me to your favourite recipe.

Basic Fritter batter
These rose nicely and were a little lighter than the original recipe.

1/2 cup unbleached plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup soda or sparkling mineral water

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in the eggs and soda water and mix til your have a smooth batter.

If your batter is not smooth you can always force it through a sieve.

Allow to sit for half an hour before cooking.

Carrot fritters
Per cup of batter

1 carrot, grated
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Grate the carrots.

Toast the seeds in a hot pan and then grind to a powder.

Add all ingredients to the batter, ideally while it’s resting to infuse the spices.

To cook the fritters

Add a neutral vegetable oil to a heavy bottom pan and bring up to a medium heat. Cook fritters in batches, place spoonfuls of the batter in pan, encouraging a roundish shape. Allow small bubbles to appear in the batter before turning (about 2-3 minutes each side). Cook til golden on each side.

Recipe Update (Nov 2011)

Less batter, more carrots = excellent outcome. Here's my latest version.

For the fritters - basically halve the flour

1/4 cup unbleached plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 - 1/2 cup soda or sparkling mineral water

For the spicy carroty part

3 carrot, grated
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Follow the previous method.

Spiced carrot fritters – deluxe version

Top warm carrot fritters with good quality mayonnaise mixed with a spoonful of harissa paste and a squeeze of lemon. Adjust to taste; the spices should be noticeable in the mayo without burning your mouth.

Finish off with some strips of the queen of Kiwi delights, smoked eel.

I promise you this is a seriously good combination!


Not so cheap but marvellously cheerful is the other national dish whitebait fritters. Don’t confuse the batter recipes; whitebait only requires the lightest of licks of egg to keep them together.

I sometimes make a double batch of the basic batter and divide in two for a different set of flavoured fritters for lunch and then breakfast the next day.

Fritters make handy vegetarian meals and also a clever way to hide vegetables for fussy kids.

Some combos of my favourite fritter combos include:
Corn and caramelised onions
Zucchini (drain grated zucchini in a sieve first) and mint
Corn fritters served with a dollop of guacamole

* wash you mouths out my dissenting Aussie friends, New Zealand definitely is the home of the pav!

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Blogger Johanna GGG said...

mmm those corn fritters look amazing - must try them for my fussy eater though her problem is that she just wants her vegies as is with no disguise!

8:55 pm  
Blogger Cindy said...

I love a good fritter! You might get a giggle out of the not-goat-cheese ones I made earlier this year. I'd like to experiment with chickpea flour a bit more, as well as different veges.

3:46 pm  
Anonymous Nola said...

Delicious! I've been a bit fritter mad myself lately since I figured out they were so easy to make.

Last winter when we had a glut of cauliflower to deal with I went through many, many ways to cook them including the humble cauliflower fritter. The recipe from Rosa's Kitchen works well for me. Also, the sweet potato fritters from Ottolenghi's Plenty are excellent too.

I guess I know what I'm having for dinner tonight!

3:58 pm  
Anonymous penny aka jeroxie said...

Oh! I am so narrow. Always thinking corn fritter and forgetting the humble carrot!

4:02 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Cindy chickpea flour is a brilliant idea and would work wonderfully with Nola's cauliflower. I guess that's heading into pakora territory :) (double yum!)

Jeroxie - wish I had Annabel's book in front of me as I type...but she has lots of variations including mussel fritters and smoked fish fritters.

I love experimenting with herbs in fritters too. Carrots are so versatile, they go with almost anything.

4:19 pm  
Anonymous Recipes of Gulzar said...


Great information in this post and I think the Fritters make handy vegetarian meals and also a clever way to hide vegetables for fussy kids.

12:37 am  
Anonymous Emma said...

A pleasant holiday shopping season to you and your readers. Thanks for continuing these posts on your blog.

3:36 pm  
Anonymous Sean Grey Hanson said...

It's really the best idea to make fussy eaters eat veges.

5:20 pm  
Anonymous Denise said...

Happy holidays to all your blog readers!

3:49 pm  
Anonymous Margaret said...

I love Annabel,s recipes they are so trustworthy!
I tried abalone fritters when I was in Coromandel! Hm! Not sure, but the carrot fritters sound yum! But while we are on the subject of fritters, I made very yummy sourdough fritters the other week.
1cup of sough dough starter
1cup of plain flour
1cup of milk
Mix, leave out of fridge for 1hour, then refrigerate over night. In morning add 3 or 4 eggs and enough milk to make a thick batter, cook on a hot pan in a skerrick of butter and serve with maple syrup and lime juice or auger and lemon or ice cream even! You could also use the batter for waffles!

1:08 am  

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