Dad’s Potato Fritters

These aren’t strictly my father’s potato fritters, as he puts milk and eggs in the batter and uses regular flour. So, in truth, these are an adaptation. A vegan and gluten-free homage to something that would have me running around in glee as a child, knowing they would be for dinner that night. These are, very simply, sliced potatoes that are dipped in batter and deep fried. Most of us deep fry very little at home these days (I only do it myself a few times a year), and air-fryers have become a mainstream kitchen appliance in an attempt to reduce our fat intake. There is, in my opinion, still room for the deep fryer, but only on occasions where it is a necessity to produce a certain type of food.
This, again in my opinion, is one such food.
As a child, when the nation was still in its early transitional period from deep-frying to more healthy options, my family and I would have these fritters every couple of months when my father got the urge to make them. He would dip sliced potatoes in a regular, dairy-based batter, and fry them to a very deep brown. We would have piles of them, served usually with fried eggs, baked beans and lakes of tomato ketchup. Their crisp outer layer, covering soft potato is a fond memory of mine. I asked him about them while writing this, and it turned out that he doesn’t dip the potatoes in flour first, just straight into the batter. I have elected for the more traditional flour coating first for better adhesion. I’ve used a mixture of two flours in the batter: a general-purpose gluten-free flour and gram flour, which I use in this recipe mostly for colour. This is very much a Japanese-style tempura batter, made simply with some seasoning and cold water, also some ice cubes to chill the batter right down. This is glorious chip shop food done in your own kitchen, all you need to do is add lashings of ketchup!

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: About 12 minutes per batch.
Serves 4.

Enough vegetable oil for deep frying
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into slices about 1cm thick, then stored in a bowl of water
About 200g gram flour for dusting

For the Batter:
250g gluten-free flour
100g gram flour
1 ½ tsp salt
Sprinkle of black pepper
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
350ml cold water
4 ice cubes

Fill a saucepan half full with the vegetable oil and heat, on a medium heat, to frying temperature. DO NOT fill the pan more than half full.
Set the cut potatoes to one side and place the gram flour into a medium sized bowl. Next, whisk all the batter ingredients together in another bowl and line it up next to the gram flour. You should have the three bowls next to each other: potatoes on the left, gram flour in the middle, and batter on the right.
Take about 8 slices of potato from the water and place them in the gram flour. Shake them in the bowl until they are fully coated and then lift them, one at a time, from the flour. Shake off any excess flour and then drop the potatoes, again one at a time, into the batter. Carry the batter over to the pan of hot oil, then test that it is hot enough by dropping a small amount of batter into it. It will sizzle and float if it is hot enough.
Gently lift each potato from the batter and place it into the oil until all 8 are submerged. After they have been cooking for about 30 seconds, stir them with a slotted spoon to separate any that have stuck together. Be very careful when doing this to not splash any of the oil onto yourself.
Cook the batch for about 12-15 minutes, until they are golden brown then lift them out of the oil and onto a plate containing kitchen paper or a tea towel. Allow them to drain for a few minutes while you prepare the next batch. Transfer the cooked potatoes onto a baking tray and keep warm in a low oven while you continue cooking the others. Do this until all the potatoes are gone.

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