These crispy Plantain Fritters, from The Gate, make a delectable dinner party starter.
Well ahead, make the stuffing. Soak the sultanas in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain and roughly chop. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and cook the chilli for 30 seconds, then stir in the garlic, ginger and shallots and cook gently for about 5-10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 6-7 minutes more, until this is soft. (If the mixture catches, stir in a few drops of water; don’t worry as a little charring adds to the flavour.) Stir in the sugar until dissolved, then stir in the lime juice, pine nuts, sultanas or dates and herbs. Leave to sit for 3-4 hours to let the flavours develop.
To make the fritters, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 and roast the plantains and sweet potato in their skins for about 30 minutes, until the plantain skins split and the flesh inside has darkened.
When cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the plantains and rinse them while still warm as this helps them mash more easily. Peel off the sweet potato skin. Mash the vegetables together. Mix thoroughly.
Roll the mixture into 12-16 ping-pong size balls. There are two ways of stuffing the fritters; either push a thumb deep into a ball and pile the stuffing into the hole, then push in the edges around the hole to seal it; or make them by flattening the ball out, placing a spoonful of the stuffing in the centre, folding the mixture around the stuffing and rolling it back into a sealed ball. The second method will allow space for more stuffing mixture. Chill the fritters for at least 30 minutes.
For the sauce, heat the oil in a small frying pan and sauté the chilli briefly, then add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Stir in sugar, mirin and cream, bring to just below the boil, still stirring, and take off heat. Sieve and keep warm.
To cook the fritters; heat 3 cm of vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan until almost smoking and cook the fritters in two to three batches, turning them so they cook evenly, for 2-3 minutes until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm while you cook the rest in the same way.
To serve, arrange three to four fritters in the middle of each plate on green salad leaves, pour the cream sauce around, speckle the plate with chilli coulis and scatter over some chive stalks.
Recipe courtesy of The Gate.
The Gate is a top London vegetarian restaurant in three locations – Hammersmith, Islington and Marylebone – established by brothers Adrian and Michael Daniel in 1989. The food reflects the diverse cultural background in which the brothers grew up: Indo-Iraqi Jewish modulated by a French and Italian influence. A fourth restaurant will be opening in St. John’s Wood in 2019.