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Things to Eat Before You Die

Bill Granger's Corn Fritters


I'm feeling triumphant today. Because for the first time in a while, I can present to you yet another recipe to be printed and laminated and stuck on your fridge! Yes, indeedy, we've got ourselves another keeper. Fast! Delicious! Unique! Nutritious! Versatile! I love love love this recipe and I'm not a little bit miffed at Ben for finishing every single last one of these suckers last night so that I have absolutely no leftovers, the greedy pig. (I kid! The poor man is about 100 pounds short of being a greedy pig. And I did kind of politely urge him to finish them off. So if I'm miffed at anyone it's at myself for not being greedier. Or for not making more. Or at Betty Baboujon for not providing a recipe that doubles the quantities! That's it! I'm angry at the LA Times. For not keeping me supplied with fresh corn fritters in perpetuity. Jerks.)

There's really nothing like success in the kitchen. Don't you think? Even when you find yourself boiling jalapeno bits in sugar and vinegar, puzzled as to why you would be attempting to blanch the flavor out of the spicy little things, and juicy corn kernels keep spurting about your kitchen as you attempt to denude a few cobs, while you cross your fingers that defiling the cobs in this way instead of just sticking to the tried-and-true boil-and-eat-preferably-coated-with-lime-juice-and-cayenne-pepper method will pay off at dinnertime. And then dinner turns out to be totally spectacularly delicious and you shake your head at your silly, doubting self.

In an article on the benefits of using rice flour in the LA Times, Betty explained that subsituting rice flour for some of the regular flour in this recipe from Bill Granger, a chef (the Australian version of Jamie Oliver?) in Sydney, would result in lighter, crisper fritters. I would have happily obliged Betty's instructions, if only I hadn't been too lazy to make my way through the rush-hour crowds at Whole Foods and therefore went to three (3!) other grocery stores in search of rice flour, all to no avail. So, yeah, if you're looking for rice flour in New York, don't even bother with Garden of Eden, Balducci's or D'Agostino's. I know, I would have been surprised to find it at D'Ags, but GoE? Balducci's? Come on, these places are supposed to carry marveled-at, yet untrafficked and barely-touched goods. Possibly marked up at a high price point, too.

In any case, I made the fritters with regular flour, and since I seemed to have misplaced my cumin (no crying shame), I substituted that with a quarter-teaspoon of curry powder, and of course, used parsley instead of cilantro, and a green jalapeno in the dipping sauce instead of a red. Despite all of these changes, these fritters were fantastic. Now, that's a good recipe. Bursting with fresh corn crunch and sweetness, touched with delectable Southeast Asian heat, and the pungent, syrupy dipping sauce adding another layer of sweet-sour flavor, these fritters made up our entire dinner (along with a salad of soft lettuces and summer tomatoes). I will be making these again. And again. And again.

In other news? I'm completely and utterly bowled over by the comments left on the occasion of my blogiversary. They're to blame for the besottedly happy grin that's been plastered on my face for the past 48 hours. Thank you all so much!

Corn Fritters with Sweet Chile Sauce
Makes 12 fritters

1 red jalapeño, finely chopped
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced

1. In a small saucepan, combine the jalapeño, vinegar, salt, sugar and garlic. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.

2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a slightly syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and set aside to cool while making the fritters. (The sauce continues to thicken as it cools; it can be made a day ahead.)

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I used 1/4 teaspoon curry powder)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water
2 cups corn kernels, cut from 3 large cobs
4 spring onions, finely sliced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (or chopped parsley)

1. In a bowl, sift together the rice flour, flour, baking powder, salt, coriander and cumin. Add the egg, lemon juice and water. Beat until smooth.

2. Add the corn, spring onions and cilantro, stirring until just combined.

3. In a large frying pan, pour in enough oil to generously cover the bottom. When the oil is hot but not smoking, spoon 2 tablespoons of batter for each fritter into the pan, about half an inch apart, immediately flattening each fritter slightly. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown underneath, then turn and cook the other side for about 2 minutes. Use a splatter screen to cover the pan. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary.

4. Serve immediately with the sweet chile sauce.