Donuts can transform the most mundane vegetable into something magical

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I’ve always associated pancakes with my mom’s 1970s recipe books, in which whole rings of pineapple were coated in a thick batter and deep fried. Delicious golden clouds of smashed fruit, it was a recipe I remembered before I got down to the trifle and the steamed pudding.

Then I got my hands on the first book by Yotam Ottolenghi and discovered the joys of vegetable fritters. I was amazed how sweet potatoes, halloumi or herbs could be combined with some flour and egg. Magic happens when a dollop of dough is dipped in sizzling hot oil, and it turns crispy, crunchy, flavorful and very different from the boring vegetable it started out as. That’s the transformative effect of deep frying.

Of course, zucchini will benefit from the same treatment. I always sigh a little when I find zucchini in the fridge. I know I bought them so we could have more variety, change things up and whatnot, but now I have to deal with cooking them and making them appealing to the masses, including my kids. I choose to deep fry them and serve them with some creamy mascarpone.

Funnily enough, mascarpone is more of a texture than a flavor. It’s cool, thick and creamy. Perfect for tiramisu and here ideal for stirring into a dipping sauce. You can use equal amounts of cream cheese in the dipping sauce and in the donuts themselves instead of the mascarpone.

I love Rebel Chilli’s red sweet chili sauce for this dish, but use your favorite sauce. A nice sriracha or smoky hot sauce would be great too. A friend of mine once expressed his love for hot sauce and he now has all sorts of chilies and hot sauces at his disposal. Every birthday and Christmas causes his collection to grow bottle by bottle. He knows his jalapeno from his habanero and even dresses up as a ghost chili for Halloween. He takes on the subject and will chatter endlessly about the Scoville scale. It’s not a bad hobby and it’s great to have for nachos.

The mint is a welcome fresh taste flavor here and so good with the chilli. Coriander would also be ideal. Sometimes I add a pinch of cumin seeds to the batter along with some black cumin seeds. It’s a very versatile recipe. I like to serve these fritters as a light dinner with a large green salad and sliced ​​room-temperature tomatoes. They also taste great with baked or small boiled potatoes.

Recipe: Zucchini Fritters with Chili Mascarpone

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