Courgette Fritters are a healthy and delicious entry in a type of food that has become notorious for its fat content (though my carrot and coriander fritters are another notable exception). The stigma attached to fritters came to the fore with the arrival of the Mars bar fritter in a hazy, calorie filled moment around 10 years ago (correct me if I’m wrong). Essentially a deep fried Mars bar, these hunks of what is essentially just fat and sugar endowed the term ‘fritter’ with something of a bad name. Gladly, with health a growing concern for many the aforementioned fritter – we shall no longer speak its name – has rightly fallen from grace and out of vogue (except perhaps in Glasgow). Though some notable and respectable household chefs still seek to add fat and cheese to their fritters, the very best renditions are light and just a tad spicy – perfection in the summer months.
To my mind, there are two ways of cooking fritters – you can shallow fry them, or deep fry them. Either is good and if done properly deep frying doesn’t leave you with a fat soaked heap of a fritter. However, my personal favourite method is shallow frying – it makes less mess and is the healthier option of the two. I also find that with shallow frying you get a light crunch and crispiness, something that suits the profile of these fritters inimitably.
You can flavour these courgette fritters any way you please – they needn’t be spicy, but I would keep the base recipe roughly the same. Herbs work very well as they maintain the lightness of the ensemble, whereas cheese would work but create a heavier, fattier fritter that to my mind is best reserved for “burgers”. These are well served atop a mound of crisp salad, alongside pita bread and a little mango chutney, yoghurt, salsa or even hummus.
Could anything be more perfect for this warm weather than a courgette fritter? Is there anything you’d like to see me turn into a fritter?
• 2 courgettes, grated
• 4 tbsp gram flour
• 75-100ml water
• 1 small red onion, finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
• A large handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped
• 2 tsp cumin seed, freshly ground
• 1 tsp coriander seed, freshly ground
• ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
• Salt and pepper
1. Toast your spices gently and add them to a large mixing bowl. Take your grated courgettes, squeeze most of the water out of them using a tea towel, add them to the bowl. Tip in the red onion, garlic, gram flour and herbs (coriander, mint, basil – whatever you please) and add water until you have a batter of good dropping consistency. Season.
2. Heat a generous amount of oil -preferably tasteless – in a pan and take a scoop of the mixture in your hand (around 1 tbsp or so). Place gently into the oil, patting it down a little. Cook 2-3 at a time until each is golden brown and crisp on either side. Serve as suggested above.
Cost: Courgettes are relatively cheap (2 for £1) and are made to go a surprisingly long way in this recipe. As such, this meal should set you back no more than £1.60.