Bill Granger recipes: Our chef rustles up some tasty variations on the humble fritter

Whether made as a carefully planned supper, or rustled up out of what’s left at the back of the fridge, nothing beats the humble fritter for sheer versatility, says Bill Granger

Fritters have long been a staple on my restaurants' menus. At the moment I'm loving the courgette fritters with deep-fried egg, haloumi, tahini yoghurt and parsley salad in Granger & Co, then there was the potato and feta fritters with gravadlax that were massively popular in Sydney, and of course the sweetcorn fritters with roast tomato, spinach and bacon, which have been one of the bestsellers in all the restaurants since day one.

At home, fritters are often less the result of thoughtful planning, than an answer to what to do with the last couple of courgettes in the fridge. All the recipes here are versatile and can be tweaked to suit the ingredients you have to hand. The courgette flower fritters are also delicious with peas instead of courgettes; leftover rice can make an unusual replacement for sweetcorn in the Thai corn fritters; and I've often made these pakoras with a cauliflower or broccoli mix, when I can't get my hands on any okra.  

Courgette flower, mozzarella and anchovy fritters

These are inspired by the classic Roman dish of courgette flowers in batter with a mozzarella and anchovy stuffing. Enjoy them as a nibble with a squeeze of lemon and a chilled beer or Aperol Spritz.

Serves 4

3 eggs, lightly beaten
150g ricotta cheese
2-3 tbsp milk
115g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
5 small courgettes with courgette flowers attached
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
4 spring onions, sliced into rounds
1 x 125g mozzarella, finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
Light-flavoured oil for frying

Combine the egg, ricotta and 2 tbsp milk in a large bowl. Stir in the plain flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt. Gently open the courgette flowers and remove the stamen. Tear the flowers into 2 or 3 pieces and add to the bowl with the batter. Thinly slice the courgettes into rounds and also add to the bowl. Stir in the chilli, spring onion, mozzarella and anchovies. The mixture should be quite thick, but if it's too dry, stir in another tbsp of milk.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Spoon in 2 tbsp of batter per fritter. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Once small bubbles appear on the surface of the fritter, flip over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, while you cook the rest of the fritters. Serve with lemon wedges and a cold drink.

Thai corn fritters with cucumber relish and herbs

I'm all for cutting corners, but this is not the time to use tinned or frozen sweetcorn. Corn cut off the cob keeps these fritters fresh and gives them a juicy yet firm bite.

Thai corn fritters with cucumber relish and herbs Thai corn fritters with cucumber relish and herbs (Tamin Jones)
Serves 4

4 corn cobs
2 tbsp red curry paste
1 egg
125g rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
Light-flavoured oil for frying

For the cucumber relish

4 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 Lebanese cucumber (or ½ regular cucumber), finely cubed
1cm ginger, cut into thin strips
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

To serve

1 iceberg lettuce, torn
Sprigs of coriander and Thai basil

For the relish, place the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and, once cooled, pour into a bowl with the cucumber, ginger and chilli. Stir.

For the fritters, slice the corn k kernels from the cobs. Place half the corn kernels in the bowl of a food processor. Add the curry paste, egg, rice flour, baking powder and salt. Blend until smooth and tip into a bowl. Fold through the whole corn kernels and the shredded lime leaves.

Heat about 5cm oil in a heavy-based pan; you will know it is hot enough when a cube of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in 30 seconds. Line a large tray with paper towel. Drop tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Deep-fry for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on the paper towel-lined tray. Repeat until all the fritters are cooked.

Take a dish with the fritters, another with some torn iceberg lettuce and herbs and a bowl with the relish to the table and let everyone help themselves.

Okra and prawn pakoras with apple, mint and coriander salad

These are deliciously moreish. You'll know you're in for a treat the moment you start frying and the aroma of the curry leaves is released.

Deliciously moreish: Okra and prawn pakoras with apple, mint and coriander salad Deliciously moreish: Okra and prawn pakoras with apple, mint and coriander salad (Tamin Jones)
Serves 4

For the salad:

½ tsp toasted mustard seeds
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
A small handful coriander leaves
Juice of ½ lemon

For the pakoras:

1 tsp toasted mustard seeds, roughly crushed
1 tsp toasted coriander seeds, roughly crushed
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, roughly crushed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
Light-flavoured oil for frying
200g gram flour
10 curry leaves, torn
200g okra, stalks removed and thinly sliced
180g raw peeled prawns, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
Natural yoghurt, to serve

Combine all the ingredients for the salad, adding 1-2 tsp water to moisten the mixture. Season with salt and set aside.

For the fritters, mix the mustard, coriander, cumin, salt and baking powder into a large bowl with the gram flour. Gradually whisk in 200ml chilled water, to make a batter.

Heat about 5cm oil in a heavy based pan, you will know it is hot enough when a cube of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in 30 seconds. Line a large tray with paper towel. Fold the curry leaves, okra, prawns and chilli through the batter. Drop tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Deep-fry for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on the paper towel-lined tray. Repeat until all the fritters are cooked.

Serve immediately, with the salad and a generous dollop of yoghurt.

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, and 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill on Instagram at bill_granger

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