This works with squash just as well; so make them year-round! These fritters are everything a fritter should be: lacy, crunchy, bursting with sweet – that’s the apple – and savoury goodness. Made with chickpea flour, they’re also gluten-free.
1 large purple onion, shredded or super-thinly sliced
About 2 cups (500 mL) of shredded pumpkin or squash
1 apple, grated
1 small hot chili, finely minced
1 cup (250 mL) fresh mint, coarsely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) fresh coriander leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric
1 tsp (5 mL) whole coriander seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) garam masala
1 tsp (5 mL) fine sea salt
Approximately or up to 2 cups (500 mL) chickpea flour (gram flour)
Up to ½ cup (125 mL) water, more or less
Oil for deep frying; enough to fill a high-sided pot two-thirds the way up
- The key to making blow-your-mind fritters is in the water-flour-ingredient ratio, but, most importantly, it’s in the way you arrive there.
- First, you will need a really big bowl; you need room to stir. Second, for best results, use your hand to stir. So wash up and remove the bling. And, thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, add the flour and water to the ingredients a bit at a time. We are not making a batter and then adding veggies; it’s the other way around. We are making a veggie mix and adding flour and water to it to hold it together, and wait until you see – and taste – the difference for yourself.
- Into a very large bowl, add all the ingredients except the flour, water, and oil for frying. Stir and toss the apples and veggies together with the spices until nicely combined.
- Now, start adding the flour, a few shakes at a time, stirring with one hand, adding flour with the other. Stop and rest for a few minutes, and notice how the apples and veggies release some moisture; add some more flour to soak that up. You might need to add a drop of water at this point.
- What you are looking for is a thick pancake-like batter coating that doesn’t completely smother all the veggies. When you grab up a small handful of veggies in batter, you should be able to squeeze it and have it hold together. If not, keep adding flour and water; shake by shake, drop by drop. Stir, stir, stir.
- Once you have a nice gooey batter holding it all together—you may or may not have used all the flour and water; that’s ok!—set the bowl aside while you bring the oil up to between 325°F to 350°F (160°C to 180°C) in a large, high-sided pot or wok. Best to use a deep-fat thermometer for this. Too cold and the fritters will be leaden and greasy; too hot and they’ll burn outside and be raw and doughy inside.
- Set up a cooling rack over a sheet pan near the stove to drain the finished fritters.
- To test the heat of the oil, drop in one little bit of battered mixture, and if it starts to sizzle immediately and bobs up to the surface within a second or two, you’re good to go. But keep an eye on the oil temperature, and don’t over-crowd the oil; just drop in a few pinches—about 2 Tbsp (30 mL) each—at a time. Use a slotted spoon or Chinese spider to move them around and flip them over. When they are golden brown—about 2 minutes on each side—lift and transfer to the cooling rack.
- Serve with store-bought tamarind sauce or make a batch of Maple-Mint Apple Raita.
Makes about 25 to 30 bite-size fritters
From Hudson, Quebec, now living in Port Hope, Ontario, Signe is a restaurant chef-turned-writer who tells award-winning stories and creates delicious recipes for LCBO’s Food & Drink, Manna Pro Hearty Homestead, The Harvest Commission, and Today’s Parent; she published her first book – Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs; Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes – in 2015.