Friday, 14 September 2007

Corn fritters (Τηγανίτες με καλαμπόκι)

All children will go on as adults to remember one dish that their mother made so well, that they could never eat someone else's version in the same way. My son will always remember my corn fritters. I got this recipe from an old but very good NZ vegetable cookbook by Digby Law. At one point, I read his obituary in a New Zealand newspaper, which referred to his sexual leanings. We often read about the surviving members of one's family in an obituary, but I didn't think that a famous cook's sexuality needed to be revealed in an obituary, especially in a country that practiced political correctness fervently. (I'm sorry, but I can't find the article which contained these 'facts' about Digby Law, so you'll have to take my word for it.)

People's attitudes to corn have come a long way in Greece. When my friend Philippa from New Zealand first arrived in Hania, her Cretan husband told her to prepare a meal for a dinner party. She made a rice salad with corn and other mixed vegetables. She was rather taken aback when one of the guests, who had never been out of the environs of the island, exclaimed in horror that Phillipa was serving them 'chicken-feed'. Corn cobs are a regular part of the Greek menu in the summer; admittedly, when corn has come off the husk, it stops being a part of the traditional Greek diet.

Like many informed citizens around the world, I like to check the labeling on packaged food. You have to be particularly careful with corn. Among the different tins on the shelf at the supermarket, one of them claimed to be a product of the Monsanto company. I know that GMO products are forbidden in the European Union, so what is Monsanto's name doing on our supermarket shelves? I used to buy tinned corn that clearly states it is not GMO - until it stopped bring stocked. I now buy the Green Giant brand, believing it is 'sans GMO' as the other tin used to clearly state on the packaging.

Corn fritters were one of the customers' favorite fritters, along with paua fritters and potato fritters, in my parents' fish shop. In our house, we have them as an evening snack.

You need:
1 egg
salt, cumin and pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a cup of corn kernels (you can use creamed corn)
1/2 carrot and 1 small onion, finely grated (these are not in the original recipe; I add them because it is one way of getting children to eat their vegetables without realising it)
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup milk
Mix together the egg, salt, cumin, pepper, baking powder and the corn. I like to put them in the blender so that the corn mashes up a little. You can keep the kernels whole, or use creamed corn instead. I use the blender to make these as I find it less messy. At this point, add the extra vegetables if you are using them; I include them to make the corn fritters more healthy. Pour the mixture into a bowl (if you were using the blender to make them), add a cup of flour and 1/2 a cup of milk. Mix well; add more milk if the batter is not runny enough to pour spoonfuls into a pan (ie it is like a dough), OR add flour if it is too runny (it is like oil).

Heat up some oil (enough to cover the base of the pan) on medium heat in a shallow pan and pour spoonfuls into the pan. Turn the fritters over with a spatula when you can see the edges browned, to cook them on the other side. They do not break up easily. My kids eat these as a dinner snack, instead of our usual dacko, kalitsounia or sandwiches. They also get them as a morning snack at school if there were some leftover from the previous evening.

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