There’s only one thing better than a few tasty bite-sized nibbles to start a meal off on the right foot, and that’s a glass of bubbles – or two.
Choose your nibbles well, as it sets the tone for the rest of the meal. They can be as simple as a bowl of spiced nuts, or something more exotic, such as betel leaves stuffed with crabmeat and flavoured with kaffir lime and chilli or, my favourite, corn fritters with guacamole and smoked salmon.
This is a variation of my corn fritters, which I often serve with crispy bacon. Light and easy to eat, they can be enjoyed on their own or dressed up with rocket (arugula), smoked salmon and cucumber, sweet chilli sauce, or smoked salmon and guacamole.
Thai corn fritters
75g (½ cup) self-raising ﬂour
185g (1¼ cups) polenta
½ tsp baking powder
250ml (1 cup) milk
2 corn cobs, kernels removed with a sharp knife
25g (½ cup) chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
4 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1 small red chilli, seeded and diced
Oil for frying
Preheat the oven to 180C.
In a bowl, combine the ﬂour, polenta, baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the egg and milk and mix until the batter is smooth.
Add the corn kernels to the mixture, along with the coriander leaves, spring onion and chilli. If the mixture seems too thin, add 1–2 tablespoons extra ﬂour; if it’s too thick, add 1–2 tablespoons extra milk.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add 1–2 tablespoons oil and tablespoonfuls of batter. Cook on one side until golden brown, with bubbles forming on top. Turn the fritters over and cook until golden brown on the other side.
Repeat until the mixture is used up, keeping the cooked fritters warm in the oven. Serve with the guacamole and smoked salmon.
Variation: Mexican corn fritters
Omit the spring onions and red chilli. Add two diced chipotles en adobo, 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Serve with yoghurt tahini sauce.
- This is an edited extract from In The Kitchen by Michele Curtis and Allan Campion (Hardie Grant, $59.99) out now. Next week, pork and watermelon salad