I’ve had a very sad few weeks. I can’t really see my way clear to write a chipper or heartfelt story of any kind, but I can share with you an excellent recipe that I made. I was trying to make onion rings, but they turned into fritters. This is basically junk food, although it does involve whole amaranth grain. I could try to pass it off as healthy junk food, but to be honest, I’ve included the amaranth for its ability to get crispy when fried rather than for its health benefits. I am not a nutritionist and cannot speak with any authority about the health benefits of amaranth anyway. I can, however, assure you that amaranth, like most things, is really great deep-fried.
The dipping sauce is barely adapted from an amazing recipe for steak sauce from Smitten Kitchen. If I made and ate steak at home, I would eat a lot of this sauce. I, sadly, almost never eat steak. Luckily, it is a great sauce for deep-fried onion fritters as well.
CRISPY SEEDED AMARANTH AND ONION FRITTERS
- 1/2 cup amaranth
- 3/4 cup water
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 small onion ( about 3/4 cups chopped)
- more brown rice flour for dusting
- canola or sunflower oil for deep-frying
- Bring the amaranth, water and pinch of salt to boil in a saucepan. Cover it and turn the heat to low. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed. It’s okay if the grains on the bottom start to crisp up a bit since they are going to be fried later anyway, but don’t let them burn!
- Combine the cooked amaranth, eggs, yogurt, brown rice flour, black pepper, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, salt, baking powder and onion in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Start the oil heating in a deep and narrow pot over medium high. You’ll need about 4 inches.
- While the oil heats, scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and form them into oblong balls or disks. Roll each ball or disk in some more rice flour. Tap the extra flour off before dropping the balls into hot but not smoking oil. The oil should bubble and the ball of dough should float. If the dough sinks your oil is too cool. I like to fry about 4 at a time. If you put too many in at once the oil temperature drops. As they turn a golden colour, fish them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on a mesh rack or on paper towels. Serve the fritters hot with charred pepper and tomato dipping sauce.
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 ripe plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup orange juice (the juice of half of an orange)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Preheat your broiler. Place your pepper and tomatoes on a baking sheet and cook them under the broiler until all sides are very charred, turning with tongs as needed. The peppers will take a bit longer than the tomatoes but all in all it will take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, depending on your broiler.
- Let the tomatoes and peppers cool while you measure out the remaining ingredients into a blender.
- Remove the woody stem from the roasted tomatoes and add the tomatoes with all of their seeds, skin and juice to the blender. With your fingers or a pairing knife, remove and discard the stem, seeds and membranes from the pepper. If possible try to catch and save as much of the juice from the pepper as you can. It help to work in a mesh colander set over a bowl. Add the pepper (with its skin) and any juices you have collected to the blender. Puree mixture until as smooth as possible.
- Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan. Simmer it gently over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. You can use the sauce hot, cold or at room temperature.
MORE JUNK FOOD…