You’ve got to love the humble courgette or zucchini as it’s known over the water haven’t you? Originally from the Americas, over the centuries the popularity of this firm fleshed fruit masquerading as a vegetable (like the rest of its fradulent family, the squashes) has spread world wide. It’s true that it often doesn’t really shine simply boiled as a veggie side (you should hear the cries of ‘boring!’ when I serve them up like that in my house) probably because of their rather inconvienient tendency to carry on cooking as they sit on the table but they are so versatile that you really shouldn’t feel the need to stop there anyway.
Courgettes or zucchini (however you want to call them) are high in fibre, rich in carotenoids and are a good source of vitamin A, C and the minerals potassium and magnesium. And like their squash relatives, they’re a great option for any meat free feasts. Recipes using them crop up all over the place including (without doubt the most famous) Ratatouille from France but also range from delicious batter dipped slices from Bulgaria, hot salads from Vietnam, stuffed and baked from the Middle East and Mucver, the gorgeous little courgette pancakes from Turkey. All delicious options and definitely worth trying but for me I don’t think you can beat the combination of courgettes and some of those super healthy Indian spices. Served with some lightly minted yoghurt dip, they really hit the flavour spot and are super quick and easy to make even when the cupboards have taken a hit and are looking end of the week bare. Unlike most courgette fritters recipes, I like to keep mine egg free; it brings out the taste of the courgettes and the spices and makes the perfect vegan friendly feast too. But don’t worry, with the beans in there they are no less filling as a result. To be doubly sure of this, in a fit of uncharacteristic risk taking I served them last week on rugby training night and waited tensely for the cries of ‘where’s the meat?’ and ‘I need more food’. None came. Admittedly, I had based my serving sizes on 3 fritters per person/ growing boy and you should feel free to adapt downwards if you’re not blessed with such a large appetited (read greedy) family as I am but that was plenty for us even post training. I’ve given the recipe for 12 fritters but it could be easily doubled. Should you have an excess of courgettes on your hands but not hungry diners you could always make more and keep them a couple of days in the fridge to eat cold for a delicious alternative to the usual packed lunch or picnic. Either that or give us a call.
Spiced Courgette and Bean Fritters Recipe
Makes 12 fritters
For the fritters:
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon ( your bog standard cassia is alright here don’t worry about using true cinnamon)
150g fresh breadcrumbs
1 x 400g tinned beans (I used broad beans aka fava beans but I think flageolets or cannelini would also be good)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 courgettes/ zucchini, coarsely grated
For the minted yoghurt dip:
150 ml natural yoghurt
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
Start off by making the fritters. Light toast the spices, except for the cinnamon in a frying pan for two minutes. When they are done, grind them up in a pestle and mortar and stir in the cinnamon.
Whizz the beans up in a food processor the lightly mix them together with the breadcrumbs and spices.
Grate the courgettes and, using kitchen paper or a clean tea towel, squeeze the excess moisture out of them.
Using your hands mix the grated courgettes in too, then form the mixture into patties.
Preheat the oven to 180 deg. C then lightly fry the fritters to give them a nice golden colour. Drain them on kitchen paper and then transfer them onto a lined baking sheet and bake them for 15 minutes.
Whilst they are in the oven make up the dip. Roughly chop the mint, crush the garlic and stir both through the yoghurt.
Juice the lemon then pour that in too. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Serve the fritters stacked up and drizzle some yoghurt over. I like mine with a nice tomato and cucumber salad but I’ll leave that down to you.