Monday, September 12, 2011

Pan-Fried Vegetable Fritters

Good day, lovely ninja readers!  Today's recipe is for vegetable fritters.  A "fritter" is basically anything that is batter-coated and deep fried, so be forewarned that this recipe is not going to be at the pinnacle of ninja-healthiness.  However, you can also be assured that these little crunchy veggie discs are DELICIOUS!  I mean, hey, what isn't delicious when it's dipped in batter and fried?  Feel free to try this recipe with other types of veggies (I think root vegetables like shredded carrots and parsnips would be great!) although stick to vegetables that have some "substance" to them and will hold up to the frying.  Leafy greens and veggies with a very high water content like tomatoes or cucumbers are probably not going to work here.  Most anything else is probably fair game though, so go nuts, get creative and fry up a storm!  These little fritters are best if eaten right away (well....let them cool off first!) so invite over some ninja friends to help you.  They have a tendency to get mushy if you keep them as leftovers.  If you don't have any hungry ninjas to help you eat them, you may want to halve the recipe, or just mix the batter and only fry up what you need while keeping the rest of the batter refrigerated in a tightly-lidded container; it should keep for a day or two in the fridge this way.

Pan-Fried Vegetable Fritters


2 small zucchini, grated
1 cup frozen corn, rinsed under warm water to thaw
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 of a 16oz package water-packed silken tofu
1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
Several grinds black pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Place the grated zucchini in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.  Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, 3-5 minutes.
Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, oregano, cayenne pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.
Take your 1/2 block of tofu (to divide the block just eyeball it and cut it in half with a knife; it doesn't have to be perfect) and put it in a small blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Add the pureed tofu to the dry ingredients in the bowl. 
Go back to your zucchini, squeeze as much water out of it as possible, and add it to the bowl with the corn.  Mix everything very well.
Coat the bottom of a large cast iron or non-stick skillet with a 1/8" layer of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-high heat.  Test to see if the oil is ready by dropping a small amount of the batter into the pan.  The oil is ready when bubbles form around the edge of the batter and it starts to sizzle.
Drop about 3 Tablespoon-sized scoops (a scant 1/4 cup) into the oil and flatten them out slightly with a spatula.  Fry until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes.
Drain the fritters on paper towels and allow them to cool for a few minutes before eating.  These are great with ketchup and hot sauce!

Tips and Tricks:

1. Don't make your fritters too large, or they will fall apart when you try to flip them, and make sure you squash them down a bit while cooking both sides so the middles get cooked evenly as well as the outside.  Also be sure not to under-cook them or they will fall apart as well.  You want them a deep, golden-brown color.

2. Please flip carefully!  Burning yourself with hot oil or setting your kitchen on fire would be bad!  To flip without splashing, try using two spatulas - one slid underneath and the other on top so you can flip and set the fritters back down into the oil gently.

3. What to do with your leftover 1/2 box of tofu - you have a few options here.  My favorite is to blend leftover tofu into pasta sauce, which gives you added protein and also turns red sauce into a nice, creamy pink sauce.  Just take about a cup of your sauce and put it into a blender with the tofu and blend until smooth, then mix it back into the rest of the sauce and stir until blended and heated through.  You can also freeze leftover tofu (although this works better for firm rather than silken); it will turn a weird yellowish color, but it's still okay for eating.  Just thaw and use however you normally would.

4. Thawing your frozen corn - it doesn't need to be totally thawed, but you want to make sure there aren't lots of ice crystals that will melt and make your batter too runny.  Just run the frozen corn under some warm water until most of the ice is melted.

So that's all for today....more recipes to come!  Creamy avocado dip and 3-bean vegetable chowder recipes soon to come!

<3 The Fur Ninja

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