Here in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August (when local sweet corn is in season) and sweet apple fritters in September and October (when local apples are in season). I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried. Doughnuts were/are made on Doughnut Day, and, even though they're deep-fried, we don't call them fritters either. Why? Like their precursor cousin the beignet, they don't contain any chopped protein, fresh or dried fruits and/or vegetables, and, with or without holes, they're just plain old deep-fried dough!
A bit about fritters: Defined as small, sweet or savory, deep-fried (not pan fried), dough- or batter-based cakes (fritters contain no bread or bread crumbs) made by combining chopped food (not whole pieces or chunks) with a thick, seasoned batter, dropped into hot oil and deep-fried until crisp on the outside and cooked-through on the inside. Depending on the consistency of the batter, fritters can emerge flat (like pancakes) or round (like golf balls). Once chopped, almost anything can be made into a fritter: meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruits or vegetables.
Fritters can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as a snack, side-dish, main-course or dessert. Fritters are sold on street corners and in five-star restaurants where they can be picked up and eaten with the hand or eaten with a fork. Fritters are the original fast food and pub grub. Fritters are multi-cultural -- you can find a fritter anywhere in the world where they deep-fry food!
You can find fritters anywhere in the world where they deep-fry food!
Thailand is no exception and the Thai people like sweet corn A LOT. Thai cooks incorporate it into their currys, soups, salads and desserts. Throughout the country, it's a popular snack food. Street vendors sell corn on the cob prepared on portable grills. At the University of Bangkok, like any other college town, fast food joints cater to the appetites of hungry college students, and this includes corn fritter stalls. For the love of corn fritters: tod mun khao pod!
Why? Eating fritters is a fun way to fritter away the day!
2 tablespoons sugar, for sweetening the blanching water
1/2 cup thinly-sliced then finely-diced green onion, white and light green parts only
1/2 cup minced cilantro, stems included
3 tablespoons Thai seasoning soy sauce
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2-4 more tablespoons flour, if necessary
1/4 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 cup water, reserved from blanching the corn, more or less (Note: Plain water mixed with 1/2-3/4 teaspoon sugar may be substituted.)
corn or peanut oil for deep-frying
~Step 1. In an 8-quart stockpot bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the sugar to the water. One-at-a-time lower the corn into the water. When the water returns to a boil, blanch the corn for 1 minute. While the corn is blanching, use a pair of tongs to dunk the tops down into the water. Do not overcook. Using the tongs, remove the corn to a large plate and set aside until corn can be easily handled with your hands, about 20-30 minutes.
~ Step 2. When the corn has cooled to the point where you can comfortably hold it with your hands, it's time to shave the kernels from the cobs. This is quite easy. For details and tips, read my post ~ How to: Shave Corn Off the Cob with No Mess!!! ~. You can find it in Categories 4, 15 or 20. Note: Corn shaving is not a precise sport. Six cobs will yield about 3 cups. Eight cobs will yield a bit more than needed, but it insures enough.
~ Step 5. In a large bowl, place the corn. Using a hand held vegetable masher, crush the kernels to release some of their liquid. Take a minute or two to do this, and, put a little bit of muscle into it too!
Add the curry mixture to the corn mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, thoroughly combine.
Add and thoroughly stir in the water. Set aside for 15 minutes. If a loose, sticky batter hasn't formed, add a bit more flour, but do it judiciously. Fritter batter is not formable, it is spoonable, meaning, if you can roll or pat it into balls or patties with your hands, you've added too much flour. My advice: don't add additional flour until you've deep-fried one as a test. If it holds its shape and fries up crisp -- you're golden. Also, size matters. Don't drop over-sized scoops into hot oil because the additional time required for them to cook through to the center will cause the outsides to burn.
Deep-frying fritters is a tad tricky -- follow instructions carefully:
Deep-fry fritters for 1 minute. After 1 minute, lift basket out of the oil and give it a shake, to insure no fritters are sticking to the bottom. Return basket back to oil and continue to cook 2 more minutes.
Transfer fritters to a cooling rack that has been placed over a few layers of paper towels.
Sprinkle with a fresh grinding of sea salt & serve ASAP (hot or warm)...
Special Equipment List: 8-quart stockpot; tongs; cutting board; chef's knife; bundt pan (optional); hand-held vegetable masher; large rubber spatula; deep-fryer; 1 1/2" ice cream scoop; cooling rack; paper towels
Cook's Note: If your are looking for another superb appetizer that pairs perfectly with these corn fritter, cucumber relish and sweet chili sauce, click into Categories 1, 11, 13 or 14 to get my recipe for ~ Crunchy Thai-Style Deep-Fried Coconut Shrimp ~!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)