No frittering away the time on December 2nd! Make haste and get them while they are hot because it is National Fritters Day.
Fritters come in a variety of forms, from morsels dipped in flavorful batters to bits of dough stuffed or filled with delicious surprises, all of which are deep-fried and served hot with dips, drips or dustings of seasonings, sweets or sauces. Found in cuisines all around the world, fritters are believed to have first been consumed by Ancient Romans who then introduced them to Europe. Most commonly filled with fruit or cheese, they can also be filled with savory meats, seafood and vegetables.
Fritters are popular all over the world, though obviously they’re not called fritters everywhere you go. In Asia there are several varieties, including the Burmese a-kyaw which is popularly made with a rich gourd filling, and are typically served with tea, or for breakfast. Because who doesn’t like deep fried gourds for breakfast? Admittedly, they also have it made from chickpea, onion, brown bean paste, just to name a few.
In Indonesia fritters are called gorengan, with one of the most popular being pisand goring, a banana based fritter. But don’t let that stop you from trying the breadfruit and sweet potato varieties. In Indonesia they think the perfect accompaniment to fritters is bird’s eye chili. Apparently they enjoy some soul searing spice with their fritters, but who are we to judge?
One type of fritter you may not have realized you’ve had is Tempura. That’s right, that delicious battered and fried dish from your favorite Japanese restaurant is also considered a fritter. Of course, if all one has to do is batter and fry something to make a fritter, does that make deep fried Twinkies a Twinkie Fritter?
Fritters are found in many cuisines. The French beignets, Italian bigne, and Greek loukoumades are sweet cakes of the first type of fritter.
The batter-frying technique was introduced into Japan by the Portuguese and Spanish in the late 16th century; the tempura that developed, a mixed fry of shrimps, herbs, and vegetables, has been totally incorporated into the cuisine. The Indian pakora is a savoury deep-fried cake containing bits of cauliflower, eggplant, or other vegetables.
Fritto misto is an Italian dish of bits of meat, seafood, and vegetables dipped in batter and fried in olive oil. A specialty dish of various local cuisines is the flower fritter, using daylilies, roses, violets, acacia, elder blow, and squash blossoms.
- Although very similar to a doughnut it differs in the fact that it requires some base ingredient beyond the dough it is cooked with.
- The first historical record of the fritter dates back to 1665. Samuel Pepys, an Englishman who served as a Member of Parliament during the English Restoration period, noted in his diary that he would be enjoying some fritters before Lent!
- Fritters are extremely popular roadside snacks all over South Asia and are commonly referred to as pakora.