There is no time of day when I would not happily devour these fritters. The basic recipe is almost unbelievably simple (to the point where it was almost an anti-climax when I eventually got round to trying them out and it took all of 10 minutes), and with the additional a little seasoning and a few spices, you get a deliciously crispy and flavour-packed snack / dinner / brunch / starter / lunch / canape / midnight snack.
The essential components of these fritters are sweetcorn (clue’s in the name) and gram flour. This flour is made from ground chickpeas (and can also be called chickpea flour) or a combination of ground chickpeas and ground split peas (sometimes called besan) – either can be used here. Gram flour is used in various cuisines but probably most commonly in Indian cooking (think crispy pakoras and mouth-watering bhaji’s). It has a high protein content and a more distinctive flavour than some other flours, and because it’s made from legumes it’s entirely gluten and grain-free. Not only this but it’s cheap – you can find inexplicably expensive hipster chickpea flour, but head to the world food aisle in your local supermarket, or any Indian supermarket, and you should be able to find kilograms of the stuff for a few quid.
There’s something really moreish about sweetness of the corn and the savouriness of the gram flour and spices. I used tinned sweetcorn but you could just as well used frozen – just defrost it in a little hot water first. And we’re not far off the time of year where sweetcorn comes into season, so if you are inundated with ears of corn you could use this too; just boil the cobs for 8–10 minutes then slice the kernels off with a sharp knife.
The only other essentials for this recipe are water, oil, and salt, and you have a perfectly decent fritter for very little time, effort, or money. However a few extra ingredients will send them to another level. I’ve added garlic, red onion, green chilli, and garam masala for a spicy Indian treat, but there are loads of different ways you could flavour them and I’ve made a couple of suggestions in the notes below the recipe.
The method is really straight forward. Sieve the gram flour into a large bowl, add the salt and spices, then whisk in the water until the batter is completely smooth. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and the batter is ready! I suggest using garlic granules, which have a sweet and mellow garlic flavour and are very convenient (you can find them with the herbs and spices in any larger supermarket). You could just as well use fresh, but I would recommend frying it on a low heat with a little oil for a couple of minutes before adding it to the batter, to cook out the hot, raw flavour.
Next, heat a large frying pan over a medium–hot heat and add plenty of oil. It’s always best to do a small test fritter to make sure the pan is hot enough, but also to taste it and adjust the seasoning and spices in the rest of the batter if necessary. Use a scoop or a ladle to pour a little batter into the frying pan – you can make them as big or as little as you want but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Bite-sized fritters might only need a minute on each side, palm-sized fritters will take a little longer, maybe 2–3 minutes on each side. You want each fritter to be turning a deep golden brown to ensure that it’s crisp. Put some kitchen roll or a clean j-cloth on a plate for the cooked fritters while you fry-up the rest.
For maximum crispiness I would recommend serving immediately, with lashings of cool raita dip, and maybe even a lemon-drenched salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion, spinach leaves, and coriander, if you’re feeling in need of some extra goodness.
Please let me know if you try these out, or if you’ve experimented with any other flavour combos! You can comment below or find me on Instagram @greedybearbakes.
Indian-spiced Sweetcorn Fritters with Raita dip
Crispy, sweet, and spicy gram flour sweetcorn fritters with a cool mint raita
Vegan, Gluten-free, Grain-free
For the fritters:
- 100g gram flour / chickpea flour / besan
- ½ tsp salt
- 100–110ml water
- 1 tbsp oil, plus extra for frying
- 1 x 195g tin of sweetcorn (approx 160g drained weight)
- black pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic granules (or 1 clove garlic finely chopped and fried for 1–2 mins)*
- 1 tsp garam masala*
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped*
- 1 green finger chilli, finely sliced*
For the raita:
- 125g vegan yogurt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp caster sugar, or agave / maple syrup
- ¼ of a cucumber
- 1 small bunch of mint (about 10g), finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, make the raita. In a small bowl stir together 125g yogurt, 1 tsp lemon juice (i.e. a quick squeeze of ¼ of a lemon), and ½ tsp caster sugar or syrup. Slice ¼ cucumber length-ways and scoop out the seeds, then coarsely grate the flesh with the skin still on. Give the grated cucumber a squeeze over the sink to remove some of the water, then stir into the yogurt along with the small bunch of finely chopped mint. Add pinch of salt and pepper, mix everything together, then taste and add a little more seasoning, lemon juice or sugar as you like. Refrigerate while you make the fritters.
- In a mixing bowl, sift 100g gram flour along with ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp garlic granules, and 1 tsp garam masala. Using a ballon whisk, whisk in 100ml water along with 1 tbsp oil until you have a smooth batter. It should be fairly thin, about the consistency of double cream. Add a splash more water if necessary. Stir in the rest of the fritter ingredients: 160g sweetcorn, a finely chopped small red onion, and a finely sliced finger chilli, and add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
- Put a large frying pan on a medium–high heat, add 2–3 tablespoons of oil, and line a plate or dish with kitchen paper or a clean cloth for the cooked fritters. Once hot, add a small dollop of batter. Fry for 1–2 minutes, and if the underside is golden brown then the oil should be hot enough. Fry the other side for 1–2 minutes and then remove from the pan. Once cooled slightly, have a bite to check the seasoning, and add a little more salt, pepper, or spice to the rest of the fritter batter if desired, then fry the rest of the fritters; approx 1–2 minutes per side for tiny bite-sized fritters or 2–3 for larger palm-sized ones. Serve immediately while the fritters are still hot and crisp.
- ¼ tsp garlic granules, ¼ tsp paprika and 2 finely chopped spring onions for a milder but equally tasty child-friendly fritter. Instead of raita you could use the same quantities of yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and snip in a small bunch of chives.
- For a Mexican-inspired fritter, try ¼ tsp garlic granules, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 finely chopped small red onion and a small bunch (about 10g) of fresh coriander, finely chopped. These would be delicious with creamy guacamole and spicy tomato salsa.
*These ingredients are optional and there are loads of other seasonings and flavours you could try. e.g.: