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BY SHU HAN LEE
As we enter the summer months, most people are either enjoying or bemoaning an overflowing glut of courgettes. I belong to the courgette- happy group. I love them in all their varieties of shape, size and colour, the long oblong ones and the little fat round ones, the deep green ones and the mustard yellow ones. It’s almost an essential in my kitchen this month, so it’s funny that up until three years ago, I’d never even come across a courgette.
I remember buying them in my first year in London, 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, or if you’re going for the sweet rather than savoury route, they make for deliciously moist cakes.
I have been enjoying them in fritters a lot recently. Instead of going the usual route with feta, Greek-style, I’ve gone down the spicy Asian route. 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 weigh heavily on your stomach at the end of the meal. The spices add a kick which is delicious especially with a soothing raita, which you can make simply by stirring some chopped cucumber, mint and cumin into plain yogurt. Or if you’re lazy, a squeeze of lemon and plain yogurt will do quite nicely.
Curried Courgette Fritters
Makes about 8 3-inch pancakes
- 2 medium courgettes
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 2-4 tbsp plain 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
- Shred the courgettes on a coarse grater. 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.
- Taste for seasoning, adding extra salt if necessary. Combine the rest of the ingredients together, adding more/ less flour if the mixture feels too loose. Refrigerate the batter for about 10 min. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 ̊C.
- 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. Serve hot.