My courgette plants are HUGE! Right now I can just about crawl beneath the massive leaves to pick off a few courgettes every day. It’s like entering the Amazon rainforest. I have four courgette plants, and for those of you who know how prolific the fruit of a courgette plant can be, you’ll know that four plants is way too many for a family of two adults and two small children. That gives us a plant each, and roughly one courgette per day each to cope with – just to keep on top of things. I never intend to grow this many summer squash plants, but when I’m sowing seeds back in March, I worry that not all of them will germinate, and then I like bit of variety too – so of course I need to grow at least 2 types of courgette… All six of my courgette plants germinated and grew strong and healthy: three ‘Black Beauties’ to give me glossy dark green fruit, and three ‘Gourmet Gold’ for a fresh yellow variety. Two plants were donated to the school garden (where obviously huge marrows will grow over the 6 week summer holidays!) and the other four made it into the veg patch.
So what am I to do with this glorious glut. I have in the past made Courgette Glutney, and I may well be heading that way this year too – but in the meantime I’d like to make the most of eating as much of this fresh abundant veg as possible.
These little fritters were a roaring success at the dinner table, making a fruit that is often sneered at by the small ones, into something that had them fighting over the last bite.
These are completely vegan and using protein rich gram flour means they are gluten free too – so an excellent choice to feed any visitors that happen to pop by over the summer.
Makes about 16 small fritters, serves 4 as a main meal (with accompaniments)
- 2-4 courgettes – about 800g (£2.25)
- 1/2 tsp salt (1p)
- 1 large onion (10p)
- 3 cloves of garlic (15p)
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes – optional (12p)
- 1 tsp curry powder (16p)
- 1 tsp of turmeric (10p)
- 2 tsp brown mustard seeds (10p)
- 120g of gram (chickpea) flour (20p)
- refined coconut oil for frying (30p)
- salt and black pepper
Prepare the courgette at least half an hour in advance, by grating it, salting it and leaving it all in a colander over the sink or a bowl. Over the next half an hour or more much of the water from the courgette will drain away (and can be used in a soup or a sauce if you’re making one) and you’ll be left with decidedly less soggy grated veg.
Meanwhile, chop the onion finely and add it to a large bowl with the crushed garlic, chilli flakes, curry powder, turmeric and mustard seeds and the salt and black pepper (remember you’ve salted the courgette so don’t overdo the salt here) – combine these ingredients together.
Once the courgette has stood and drained, squeeze as much water out as possible in handfuls before adding it to the bowl. Combine the grated courgette with the onion, garlic and spices.
ideally sieve the gram flour into the bowl (gram flour had the tendency to get very lumpy) and combine it bit by bit. Then take small handfuls of the mixture, roll them into balls and squash them flat. Keep them on a floured surface ready for frying.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Once at a moderate heat, place the fritters in the pan, in batches with plenty of room around, and let them cook for 3-5 minutes. When the underside is firm and golden, flip them over and cook for anther 3 minutes, squashing down slightly to flatten them.
These are best served straight out of the pan, but can be eaten cold, or even revived in a warm oven. They are great as a lunch time snack with some fresh salad and maybe some cucumber and mint yoghurt dip, but they also make a hearty mean meal, served with vegetable fried rice and some chill sauce.
Being so seasonal these little fritters are very frugal – I’m sure most of you out there are able to get your hands on a few free courgettes this time of year – allotment growers the country over are desperately trying to give these things away to anyone who knows what to do with them… And I’m certain this recipe would work with marrow too, as long as you cut out the wet seedy core before you grate them.
This recipe comes to £3.49 at organic supermarket prices, so that’s 87p per portion. Even adding 50p to cover the accompaniments that makes a frugal meal of only £1.37. Now most of the cost lies with the organic courgettes, so if you can just pick these things out of your garden – this is virtually free food!