Madame Mérita Félix
It is believed that the inspiration for these crunchy fritters, a favorite snack in Guadeloupe, its sister island Martinique and Cuba, comes from Africa. But for this recipe, Caribbean cooks, including Madame Mérita Félix, who demonstrated the recipe at the Culinary Institute of America's Latin Flavors, American Kitchens symposium, use malanga, an important native Caribbean tuber.
Malanga Fritters in the Style of Guadeloupe (Accra de Malanga)
3 medium malangas (see note)
2-4 ounces fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and seeded
Scallions, trimmed and finely chopped (white and green included), to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 habanero or Scotch bonnet, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons baking soda
Flour, as needed
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Canola oil, for frying
Peel the malanga and rinse under running water. Place in a bowl of cold water if not using immediately.
Grate the malanga on the fine side of a standing grater and place in a bowl. Repeat with the pumpkin and add it to the grated malanga. Stir in scallions, garlic, habanero, parsley, thyme and baking soda and mix well. If a batter with a stiffer consistency is required, add a bit of flour.
Place the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and heat to about 350 degrees. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a heaping portion of the malanga batter and drop into the oil. Fry, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon, until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
Note: Malanga can be found in ethnic markets. Call International Food Market, 2449 Nacogdoches, at 210-821-6451 for availability.
Makes 8 servings.
From Madame Mérita Félix, Guadeloupe/Culinary Institute of America