Spiced courgette fritters with mint and jalapeño dip
- August 2015
- 5 courgettes, topped and tailed
- 3 spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 heaped tsp nigella seeds
- 3 generous pinches ground turmeric
- 1 scant tbsp garam masala
- 50g plain flour
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
- Sunflower oil for frying
For the dip
- 1-3 jalapeño chillies, stem ends trimmed off (see Know-how)
- 250g Greek or natural yogurt
- Small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
- Finely grated zest 1 lime, juice ½
- If you have a food processor with a julienning attachment, put the courgettes through at the thickest setting. If not, either use a spiraliser and roughly chop into 10cm lengths, or grate the courgettes coarsely on a box grater (grate lengthways to get longer pieces). Line a large roasting tin with 3 layers of kitchen paper, scatter over the courgettes, sprinkle with sea salt, then top with more kitchen paper and leave to drain for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dip. Put the dip ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper and whizz until combined and pale green. Taste and season, then scoop into a bowl and set aside.
- Pat the drained courgettes dry with more kitchen roll, then tip into a large mixing bowl with the spring onions, spices, flour and egg. Season well with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Heat about 3cm oil in a large sauté pan or deep frying pan on a high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, drop in a little of the mix – it should sizzle gently. If it doesn’t, heat the oil for longer. When ready, scoop up dessertspoonfuls of the mix and gently slide into the oil using another spoon to help. Repeat until you have 5-6 frying at once. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden on the underside, then flip over with a slotted spoon or palette knife.
- Once the fritters are uniformly golden, remove and drain on kitchen paper. If you’re serving them all together, keep batches warm in a low oven while you fry the rest. Serve the fritters warm with the dip.
Make the fritters up to a day in advance, chill overnight and reheat in an oven heated to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 for 4-5 minutes until piping hot. Make the sauce up to 2 days ahead and keep covered in the fridge.
These are somewhere between a fritter and a bhaji, but you can also make them without the Indian spices. Fresh jalapeño chillies are available in larger supermarkets – they’re fat and bright green. If you can’t find any, substitute with one or two ordinary green chillies, but test to assess the heat before adding them to the dip.
Pick a tangy, fruity white with a grassy note to match the herbs – South African sauvignon blanc gets my vote.
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