Frittelle di monde

The word Fritter is a very vague word. It essentially means “I fried some shit up with batter.” It’s like saying, “I made bread” or “I went on a date”. It doesn’t tell you the details, it just states the action and the general ingredients.

Fritters are bite-sized pieces of fruit, vegetable, meat or cheese coated in a seasoned flour batter and deep-fried. Fritters and similar foods have been popular all over the world for centuries: think of Apple Fritters in England, Frittelle di Ricotta in Italy; Onion Rings in the United States, Pakoras in India, and Tempura in Japan. Fritters are a popular snack food all over Africa, perhaps most popular in Western Africa, where they are often made with bananas, maize, or pineapple. For European-American style dinners, fritters make a good side dish or dessert.

Kind of boring actually, everybody seems to make some kind of fritter. But, never fear, you can spice up all sorts of mundane things with a little imagination. Maybe you could say, “I went on a date with Che Guevara.” Now that would make some people take notice…how did she manage that? Was he still dead? Did he take you to a Cuban restaurant? In Cuba? Did you sit in the smoking section?

In fact, I might argue today that men are a lot like fritters. They are all essentially the same and it’s really starting to bore me. I let someone back into my life recently. I’m trying very hard to take my own advise which I like to give so freely here. I’m trying to be patient, I’m trying to be kind. I’m trying to remember all the things I wish I would have done differently with other people and learn something. It’s not that I want him to change, I just want him to use what he has. I’m not asking for anything outrageous. Just a little imagination, a little consideration, a little spice.

For all you Fritter-Boys out there – here are some ideas for spicing things up when you need a little self-inflicted inspiration. Extrapolate the metaphors from these recipes yourselves.

Let’s start with a basic recipe for fritters – 

    • Batter:
      • two cups all-purpose flour, sifted
      • one teaspoon baking powder
      • salt and pepper, to taste — or –one teaspoon sugar or brown sugar (use salt and pepper for vegetable fritters; use sugar for fruit fritters)
      • two eggs, beaten
      • one cup milk or water
      • two tablespoons cooking oil
    • Main Ingredient (two cups of any one of the following):
      • corn (maize); (fresh, off the cob; or canned, drained)
      • okra, cleaned and sliced
      • bananas, peeled and sliced
      • pineapple, sliced or cut into chunks (fresh; or canned, drained)
      • cooked, mashed pumpkin
      • cooked, mashed sweet potato
      • any other fruit or vegetable
      • oil for deep frying
I like the idea of pumpkin. So, I asked myself, what else would go well with pumpkin. Mmmmm, beer…., yes, I am going to substituent the 1 cup of milk or water with a good beer. Maybe a nice Heffeweisen? (I would stay away from the stouts unless you are going with a pineapple and bitter chocolate fritter.) Yes. As for spices we have plenty of choices. Allspice, coriander seed, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, star ansie, saffron, cumin, pepper, ginger, cloves and dill seed are the most obvious, but don’t add them all in. Try just one or two together. For heat you could try diced red chilies or chili powder or, perhaps, a pinch of dried Naga Jolokia (Ghost) pepper and a little finely ground coffee (use water or milk in the recipe if you choose coffee).
For picking your spices, I find this particularly helpful:

Prepare batter by mixing all ingredients in a bowl. Add a bit more liquid if necessary. Batter should be thick enough to cling to a spoon without dripping. Pour oil into deep skillet or pot, to a depth of one to two inches. Heat oil to 375°F (190°C). If using small ingredients like corn, or okra slices, or banana slices: Stir the ingredient into the batter. Carefully spoon the batter into the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning a few times. If using large ingredients like pineapple slices: Dip the ingredient into the batter. Carefully transfer to the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning a few times.

My friend sent me this recipe he was making. sounds really great. Not that there might be any left overs at his house, but I would suggest that if there were, they would make for some awesome fritters. Chop up the leftovers, add the batter and fry them up. To offset the spicy, oilyness of them I would serve them with some fresh fruit, like slice apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, mango or watermelon.

Too bad they don’t make more men like him, he always has a way of spicing things up.


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