The Soul of a New Cuisine: Apple-Squash Fritters
I can’t do this book justice. At ~340 pages in length with recipes spanning the entire African continent, it’s impossible to represent it in one small recipe. But that’s the challenge I have, I suppose.
Sadly, this, once again, is the first time I’ve ever cooked from Marcus Samuelsson’s The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa, but I’ve marked it to pieces with stickies denoting whether a recipe is for fall or summer, vegetable-based or meat. I don’t think I’ve found a single recipe I’m not keen on. It’s not a vegan cookbook by any stretch of the imagination, but there are tons of easily veganizable recipes. On my to-make list? Warm Eggplant-Butternut Squash Salad, Plantain-Coconut Stew, Cumin Braii Bread, Vegetable Tagine, Bissap Granite, and so many more. The book is worth finding if only for the vibrant photos of Africa and Marcus’ honest prose on his exploration of his native continent.
As for the one recipe I have tried, though? These Apple-Squash Fritters are the bomb. You’ll notice that I didn’t fry the fritters, so I don’t know if I can even call them that anymore (Apple-Squash Baked Tasty Rounds?), but, honestly, frying is one of my weak points and I just didn’t feel like using up a bunch of oil. So even though this recipe is adapted to my own personal whims, it’s fairly spot-on and a decent representation of the original.
Marcus notes that the fritters are of South African Malay cuisine and, it turns out with a little Wikipediaing (wow, that’s an awkward word) that the South African Malay are a really interesting group of people. The first community to bring Islam to South Africa, the Malay are originally from maritime Southeast Asia (Indonesia, most likely)–it’s definitely a people group I’d love to learn more about as I’d assume their cuisine marries elements from the two very different geographical regions.
Slightly sweet and nutty, these fritters are truly are a fantastic representation of autumn. The roasted garlic lent a deep, savory note, and the cinnamon and garam masala hinted at a more exotic, warm climate, and substituting a bit of corn meal for wheat flour gave just the right texture. Instead of frying, I rolled the fritters in a bit of panko and baked them until golden brown. Perfect alongside some fresh green beans from the garden and a bit of stuffed tofu.
Adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 2″ pieces
2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1″ cubes
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 c cornmeal
1 c panko bread crumbs
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Arrange the apples and squash on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Place the garlic cloves in a foil pouch, drizzle some olive oil, and seal. Roast for 15 minutes, until the garlic is tender. Remove the garlic and continue to roast the apples and squash for another 20 minutes, until soft.
Transfer the roasted apples and squash to a bowl, add the garlic, and mash with a fork. Stir in the cinnamon garam masala, salt, cornstarch, and the cornstarch. The dough will be very soft (and wet). With wet hands, shape the dough into 2 inch balls. Roll the balls in the panko, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and flatten into 1/2″ discs.
Lightly spray the tops of the fritters with the spray oil and bake for 15 minutes. Flip the fritters and bake another 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.
Remove and let cool.
Makes 1.5 dozen
On This Day in MoFos Past:
2010: Almond Butter Cups
2011: Apparently It’s Time for an Annual Pilgrimage to Richmond