The secret to perfect crispy vegetable fritters

Zucchini fritters love a dollop of aioli.
Zucchini fritters love a dollop of aioli. Photo: Edwina Pickles

​My corn, zucchini or carrot fritters never cook all the way through, no matter how long I leave them in the pan. What is the secret to perfectly cooked, crispy pan-fried fritters? R. Newman

I remember cooking vegetable fritters for my siblings when I was an adolescent. I chopped up loads of fresh vegetables, mixed through some eggs and plain flour and fried them in oil. They were so tough they could have been used by the Australian Olympic discus throwers. In fact, I think my brother managed to fling one out the kitchen window, where it left a dent in the HQ station wagon. You can make brilliant fritters using eggs, a few tablespoons of self-raising flour, some parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and some veg. The secret is to get the water out of vegetables such as zucchini and carrots, otherwise the energy from the hot oil is used up trying to evaporate the water instead of breaking down the cellulose. The result is a brown outside and undercooked interior. Grate the vegetables, place on a clean tea towel then twist and squeeze hard to press out some of the water. Mix with the other ingredients and spoon into the hot oil to cook. Veg such as corn, broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens such as silverbeet need to be steamed first. The thicker the batter, the thicker the fritter. For thinner fritters add a little extra liquid. For fluffy flour-free fritters, separate the eggs and whisk the whites to a stiff foam. Add the egg yolks to the grated veg then fold in the whisked egg whites. Fritters love to be accompanied by moist condiments such as spiced yoghurt, hummus, chutney or relish.

How to make perfect scrambled eggs

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How do I make fluffy scrambled eggs? L. Franks

Steam power. Steam is what makes pastry puff, sponge cakes spongy and scrambled eggs fluffy. When you heat liquid the water evaporates and expands. If that steam is surrounded by dough, batter or egg albumen it creates holes as it pushes its way out. These are the little pockets in puff pastry, the holes in a sponge and the fluffiness in eggs. If you add a tablespoon of liquid or two of extra liquid to eggs and give them a good beating some of the trapped air will help form bubbles that set as the egg harden with heat. And as the water bubbles into steam it creates little pockets in the eggs thus creating fluffiness. If you add milk, the fat in it interferes with the egg proteins bonding making creamier scrambled eggs. The ultimate in fluffiness occurs when you separate the eggs, whisk the whites, fold them back in the beaten yolks and gently fold that mixture through some hot butter in a pan. Remember to be gentle with your eggs, folding them with the spatula and never taking to them with a wooden spoon like a sadistic Dickensian poorhouse master.

Send your vexing culinary conundrums to brainfood@richardcornish.com.au or tweet to @Realbrainfood.

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