Zucchini (also called courgettes by people with lovely British accents) are funny vegetables; they kind of just creep up on you. If you have ever planted zucchini in your garden, we can bet the farm (we don’t actually have a farm) that you have had an Oh My! zucchini moment. You know, those times where you check to see if there is anything to harvest, and somewhere, deep in the mess of prickly leaves and stems, you find a zucchini that you had clearly missed during previous pickings. It seems that even an extra day or two of undetected growing leads to Steroid Squash; mammoth zucchini that we can’t help but pose for pictures with… you know… to give perspective.
Zucchini are actually lovely and nutritious vegetables, that are incredibly versatile. You can eat them raw with some dip (how about fava?), you can stuff them, make fritters out of them, bread, muffins, and of course, you can make zucchini chips. If you have a spiralizer (we do not), you can also make zoodles (we do not). We’re old fashioned gals who prefer to use old fashioned regular pasta for dishes like spaghetti with meat sauce and spaghetti with oil and mizithra. Yum! In any case, regardless of how you prepare your zucchini, they have enough folate, provitamin A, and potassium, to contribute positively to your daily intake of vitamins and minerals. They are also very low in calories, which is a good place to start when you decide to fry them into thin chips. Life is short, we say. Fry away!
Zucchini are summer squash, a class of squash identified by their edible, thin skin. Winter squash include vegetable such as pumpkins and butternut squash. There are several varieties of summer squash, and all can be used for these zucchini chips, provided that you are able to slice them into thin rounds.
The key to nice, crisp zucchini chips is ensuring that your zucchini are sliced as thinly as possible. We tend to use a mandolin for such thin slicing, but a sharp knife and a steady hand will work just as well. Remember that a sharp knife is actually safer to use than a dull one.
Another important factor for delicious chips is to ensure that the oil is hot enough so that it only takes a couple of minutes per side to obtain a nice, golden colour on your zucchini. The best way to test the temperature of the oil would be to use a thermometer, but since our parents do not own one, we use their method instead. Simply slip one sacrificial zucchini slice into the oil and when it starts to bubble up, your oil is hot enough to fry with.
The batter which you will prepare for these zucchini chips is relatively runny. After you coat your zucchini slice in the batter (you will coat each slice individually), wipe it along the side of your bowl to remove the excess. You want a very thin layer of batter on each zucchini piece; this will lead to a lighter chip.
You may find that as your chips are cooking, even if you do not crowd your frying pan, your zucchini chips will stick together. Gently tease them apart using tongs and a fork, or two forks.
Another relatively common occurrence when you are frying these up is that the batter may bubble up, leading to a pocket of air between the batter and a given zucchini round. If this happens, carefully, with your tongs or a fork, break open this bubble. If you don’t, you may get oil collecting there, and that is gross (and a bit dangerous if you take a bite while the oil is still hot).
These chips are best eaten soon after they are made, which frankly, won’t be a problem. We have never heard of zucchini chip leftovers; we think that is a myth, like leftover wine. Remember to drain your fried zucchini well however, lifting them out of the pan one by one and allowing the oil to drain back into the pan for a few seconds. Then, allow the chips to rest for a few minutes on a paper towel, so that any remaining excess grease is soaked up.
Zucchini chips are delicious when served with tzatziki. Like, really, really, delicious.
Because we make these chips pretty often (no judging allowed!), we allow the oil used in frying to cool, and then we strain it and place into a glass container. We then store this oil in the refrigerator and reuse it (usually needing to add a little bit more) for our next batch of zucchini chips. We usually use the oil 2 – 3 times before discarding it.
Mia Kouppa: Fried zucchini chips
- One medium to large zucchini, sliced very thinly into rounds
- 1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup (310 ml) water
- 1 teaspoon (4 ml) Greek oregano
- 1 teaspoon (4 ml) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a large bowl combine the flour, water, salt, pepper and greek oregano. Mix until combined. You should end up with a batter which is relatively runny, so that the batter very lightly coats your zucchini rounds.
- Pour enough oil into the frying pan so that it comes 1/2 to 3/4 inches up the side of the frying pan. Heat over medium / high heat.
- Take your zucchini slices, and coat each one individually with the batter. Prior to adding to the oil, wipe the zucchini slice against the side of the bowl to ensure that any excess batter is removed.
- Carefully place one zucchini slice (battered) into the oil. When it starts to sizzle, your oil is hot enough. Add more zucchini rounds to your pan, being careful not to overcrowd them.
- Cook on one side for a minute or so, until they are golden brown. Using tongs or a fork, carefully flip the rounds over and cook on the opposite side for another minute or two, until golden brown.
- Lift each chip out of the pan one by one, allowing any excess oil to pour off into the pan. Allow to cool slightly on a paper towel lined dish. At this point you can sprinkle some additional salt on them. Enjoy.