Thursday, 26 November 2015

Moroccan Chermoula fritters or beignets - Beignets ou galettes de chermoula

These fritters are a way to whip up any extra chermoula marinade left in the bowl after we pick up the fish for frying (see here and there). We usually serve them along with fried fish liver or anything that's been marinated in loads of chermoula.

While I realized these fritters are not commonly known in Morocco, they're not a new discovery in Fez where my parents come from and you can even get them as part of the street food menu in some places. They're always typically served as a starter during lunch time.

Chermoula is generally thinned with water and thickened with plain flour or a mix of white flour and durum flour then the mix is scooped and dropped straight into hot oil. The fritters come flat and are usually served with a harissa vinaigrette.

Maybe they don't look very appealing but wait until you try them out...

Right, chermoula fritter with shredded potato, left, without potato

There is no fixed recipe as far as my family is concerned. I just remember anyone making them thickening the chermoula with as much flour as needed, then you work your way through the texture with experiment. Some add an egg and some baking powder (but then no water added). One of my aunties adds one grated potatoe to the mix as well, then you could add other things but again I prefer the original version.

I wanted to measure the recipe but I never got around it. Surprisingly, I found it in Street Cafe Morocco written by Anissa Helou. Although she adds an egg to it but I reckon the taste will be the same. You can replace the egg with a grated and squeezed medium-size potato for an eggless version. It goes without saying the spiciness can be adjusted to taste. I've adapted my written recipe from hers..

It's always good to eat them in the couple of hours after frying them.

You can add some crispiness by mixing the flours or using
only fine semolina flour (durum flour)

Ingredients
Prep: 2 min - Frying: about 3 min per batch


  • 1/3 cup of basic chermoula 
  • 1 egg, standard size or a grated potato (thin with 10 to 15 cl of water if using potato)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric for colour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 150g of flour (ideally, 50 % of it should be durum flour)
  • Vegetable oil for frying


The batter is rather like a double cream in texture.
This one is mixed with grated potato
Preparation


Mix well all the ingredients and add just enough water to have a double cream or pancake-like batter texture.

heat the oil in a deep frying pan, drop the batter by tablespoonful, leaving space between each fritter. Fry for 90 s to 2 minutes per side and flip around.

Fry until golden brown.

Fish out the fritters and place them over a double layer of kitchen paper to drain excess oil.

Serve hot or warm, ideally within a couple of hours after you fried them.


Note

The reason this recipe is difficult to measure is due to the texture of chermoula left for it itself. In this case shown in the picture, chermoula is very thin and hence does not need further liquid but rather flour to thicken it. Just use common sense to come up with the pancake-texture mentioned about.


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