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.

Apple-Squash Fritters

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
Spray oil

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

7 Responses to “The Soul of a New Cuisine: Apple-Squash Fritters”
  1. Caitlin says:

    i have never heard about this cookbook but will definitely be on the lookout for it(i wonder if they have it at the library?”. everything sounds amazing and those apple squash fritters look magnificent. i REALLY want one or five right now…

  2. Becky says:

    Ooh these sound amazing! Definitely on my “to cook” list.

  3. lazysmurf says:

    Plantain-Coconut Stew sounds like it would be perfect today, I should get that book I really like his American one and I bet I’d like this one even more.

  4. Yay, fall-centric cooking! I have Marcus Samuselson’s Aquavit book and it is also really interesting–lots of amazing-sounding fish. But then, it is a Scandinavian cookbook, so no real surprise there. :)

  5. Mandee says:

    All I wanted to say when I read “Apple-Squash Baked Tasty Rounds?” is “you’re a tasty round!” haha but that’s because I’m silly and I say “you’re a…” in response to everything!

    Anyway, these look so good and I’m not even a pumpkin fan. But I have about 20 apples and a sweet potato so I’m going to try making these with sp instead – thanks so much for sharing the recipe, Jes!

  6. Mel says:

    Ahhh yes, how funny that we both made African fritters today! Yours look so perfect and much healthier than my bad boys.

    I found it really interesting finding out about the South East Asian influence in Southern Africa too, I’ve learnt so much new information this month from researching countries it’s doing my head in!

  7. Oh, I want this! It sounds like the kind of book I want The Africa Cookbook by Jessica Harris to be. Not that Harris’ book isn’t great (it is), but it can be a bit basic (which is wonderful in its own way!). This seems a little more Bryant Terry/up my alley. Thanks for sharing it – I’d never heard of it!

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