Welcome to the series “Zest for Zucchinis”! The first recipe is a favorite standby of mine – Zucchini Fritters.
A couple of years ago, I was suffering badly from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and I had to temporarily give up some food to manage the symptoms. I was looking for some tasty, healthy options when I first came across a version of this zucchini fritter recipe. What attracted me to this is the utter simplicity – not a lot ingredients and just involved pan frying. I’m giving it bonus points too, because on top of being IBS-friendly (in moderation of course), it was utterly delicious.
Of course, the original zucchini fritters recipe was gluten-free and used psyllium husk powder as a binding agent. I religiously followed that when my problems were at peak trouble level but I’ve since then tried it with flour, cornstarch, and breadcrumbs.
Did you know that zucchinis are actually a kind of fruit? Although normally considered as vegetables, Cucurbita pepo, like tomatoes, is a variety of summer squash that’s grown for its fruits.
The thing with zucchinis is that they are rather like the human body – a high percentage is made up of liquid. And boy, do these zucchinis sweat water like crazy! At over 90% water content (it’s over 9000!!! – sorry, this is the obligatory Vegeta from DBZ callout), they’re great for hydration and fiber, but not so great if you’re trying to shape them into zucchini fritters.
You’d have to drain them and squeeze them and do all sorts of things just to wring out as much liquid as you can before you add the other ingredients. You can use cheesecloth or some towel if you want, but I didn’t want to wash more things than necessary, so I did it a mano.
Does it matter what kind of binding agent is used?
Hmm…if you aim for gluten-free cooking, of course you should stick to using psyllium husk powder or any other gluten-free flour. If you aren’t, it’s perfectly fine to use either plain, old flour (APF, bread, cake), cornstarch, or breadcrumbs. The flour or powder acts to absorb moisture from the mixture and helps you to form zucchini fritters instead of some soggy, veggie mess.
Then it’s plain sailing from here on. Just add the other ingredients and work quickly (especially if you’re not using breadcrumbs). Take a palmful and shape them into patties while you heat up the oil for frying. I got 14 patties in total.
It’s easier if you are using breadcrumbs (I used the normal one, not the Panko version). Out of the other options that I’ve tried before, breadcrumbs absorb the liquid much better. I don’t have to frantically scoop, shape, and fry before the zucchini mixture inevitably turns watery again. If you’re not using breadcrumbs, I suggest you use an ice cream scoop and just scoop a portion of the zucchini mixture without trying to shape them into fritters because it’s a losing battle. You’d be able to shape a few at first, but the rest will be too watery to bother with.
Variety’s the very spice of life (and of zucchini fritters), after all.
This zucchini fritter recipe is so adaptable and a fun way to incorporate veggies in a meal. I’m not a fan of vegetables generally, but I swear I can finish all 14 of these in 1 sitting! And I’m Asian, so I eat these with tons of rice for lunch. I know, so “healthy”.
I used to do just the bare bones – grated zucchini, eggs, and flour, with a bit of lemon juice on top. But lately, I’ve added some extras like cheese (who could say no), onions, and even carrots. Add any vegetable you can think of and top it off with some sour cream or yoghurt sauce.
I made a simple sauce with sour cream and lemon juice. I personally think that lemon (or anything tangy) is the perfect condiment for these. It cuts into the cheesy, veggie taste and adds a bit of oomph.
Try it and tell me what you think!