Move over potatoes and onions, because we chanced upon five unusual fritters this monsoon. With rains lashing down the windows of DSSC Headquarters at 4pm all we dream about is digging into platefuls of hot fried snacks, dipping them into luscious dips, and downing copious amounts of tea nay coffee nay hot chocolate, as we trudge along. And while we wait for our larger than fair share of fried beer, we dug gold with these unusual varieties that we promptly added to our ‘must try’ list. Of course, we have all heard of fried mars from Scotland, fried ant larvae from Mexico, and fried silkworms from Vietnam and China, but the buck doesn’t stop at these!
If a thick slather of butter on hot toast melts your heart, it is time to take a leap and progress to Fried Butter. Yes, it exists. And did we share it is utterly butterly delicious? Abel Gonzales Jr. invented Fried Butter at the Texas State Fair for a competition where it won the ‘Most Creative Food’ prize. Wondering how is it prepared? Pats of frozen butter are rolled in a batter, deep fried, and sprinkled with powdered sugar before being served. The Fried Butter is crisp on the exterior, and oozes a pool of melted butter from its soft centre. Abel is also credited with inventions like Deep Fried Coke, Deep Fried PB &J Sandwich, Fried Cookie Dough, and even Fried Jambalaya.
Fry crickets in oil over medium heat until brown… this is not an erroneous recipe, but a delicacy from Thailand, a country whose street food menus list dishes with bugs and insects as their main ingredient. They have Cricket Phad Thai and Grasshopper Salad on their list, too. But Cricket Fritters stand tall among the list. The crunchy dish is prepared by making a flour paste to which cricket powder, boiled and chopped crickets, chives, onions, and seasoning are added. These are then deep fried till they attain that perfect golden hue, and enjoyed hot off the wok. Take that dare?
Ever thought of making a snack out of spideys? Well, it is a phenomenon in Cambodia, something most tourists have on their must-do list, especially if they are visiting Skuon. Whole tarantulas are rubbed in a mix of salt, sugar, crushed garlic, and MSG, and fried in oil. What you taste are crunchy legs with little flesh, delicate meat on the head and the body, and a gooey brown paste in the abdomen which has a mix of organs, sometimes eggs, and even excrement. These tarantulas are either bred in holes or foraged, and the practice of eating them is believed to have germinated during the autocratic Khmer Rouge regime to combat starvation. As for us, we have no qualms in coming clean with our arachnophobia.
Post winning crickets and tarantulas, Apple Jalebis are an unusual but delectable option to try. We do need to give ‘em apple pies a break, don’t we? The Apple Jalebis bag bonus points for saving us travel time and money, for they’re available just next door at Café Lota. These are essentially a cross between a doughnut and a jalebi with apple slices coated in a batter and deep fried. The crisp ‘jalebi’ is dusted with cinnamon and served with cold coconut rabdi, presenting to your mouth, a medley of textures and flavours.
Edible flowers are not only meant for salads and to build Instagram-friendly plates, these can be fried too. Fried flowers are indeed a delicacy in some parts of the world, yet unheard of by many. Common among these are the pumpkin flower fritters consumed by the Assamese and Bengali communities in India; and zucchini flower fritters doled out by the nonnas in Italy, filled with cheese, coated in a batter, and deep fried. In Thailand, Sampran Riverside resort is popular for its, hold your breath…fried orchids, roses, and even bougainvillea.
If you know of more such unusual fritters, we’re glued to our e-mail all day long. Write to us at [email protected]