Monday 28 February 2011

Deep Fried

I don't have the squeamishness that some people have about deep frying. I love it; from the vaguely healthy, like agedashi tofu, to the horrendously deliciously unhealthy, like buttermilk fried chicken. Of course I've had my accidents; my first foray into deep frying was squid tempura and I cowered behind my wok lid shield as furious fat spat all over my kitchen, in protest of having wet squid chucked into it. I learned my lesson from that one.

I saw a post on fried pickles at the excellent Homesick Texan and I knew I had to make it. Pickles? Crumbed and fried? Yes please. A buttermilk dressing was made to accompany it, though I added my own tweaks. Combined, the crunch of the coating giving way to crunchy, tangy dill pickle slices was brilliant. The garlicky buttermilk dressing, with a heavy hand in coriander, made an ideal dipping sauce.

Surprise of the day though was a happy snap decision. Some squat mild chillis were in the fridge, while some halloumi was slowly growing mouldy. Since I had a wok full of shimmering hot oil, I figured I might as well give it a go, and they were a hit. Mild, slightly spicy pepper bursting with melted halloumi was a pretty perfect snack to go with a couple of beers.

Coriander Buttermilk Dressing

Makes a small bowl

4 tbsp buttermilk
7 tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic
Juice of half a lime
A large pinch of cayenne pepper
1 green chilli, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
A handful of coriander, minced

In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, buttermilk and mayonnaise. Add the garlic, minced finely and the cayenne pepper and chilli. Add the coriander and mix well. Taste for seasoning.

Deep Fried Pickles & Cheese-Stuffed Chillis

Makes enough for 4 as a light snack

4 large pickled dill cucumbers
10 mild squat red chillis
Half a block of halloumi
6 Matzo crackers
4 tbsp buttermilk
1 egg
Plain flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Slice the cucumbers to the thickness of about an inch and leave to dry on kitchen paper. Make a slit in the chillis just down one side and carefully scrape out the seeds. Stuff with sticks of halloumi.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Process the matzo crackers into crumbs and place in a sandwich bag. Whisk together the egg and the buttermilk and cover a plate with the flour. Dip the pickles and chillis firstly in the flour, then the egg and then in the sandwich bag for a good shake to cover. Heat the oil until it's shimmering and a breadcrumb sizzles in it and fry the pickles and chilli in batches until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen towel and place in the oven to keep warm.


Su-Lin said...

Brilliant! Heard of fried pickles but never heated up the oil to fry them. What kind/brand of dill pickles do you recommend?

Nowadays, it's not so much the hot oil that makes me nervous but the stink it imparts to our small flat.

Helen said...

Squeamishness about deep frying? Not talking about me by any chance?! Well I've really got over it since that deep fried beef at Pople's feast; the inch long welt on my arm really did the trick of curing my fear.

Cat said...

I just found your blog - Hollow Legs was my nickname as a child! Lovin' the buttermilk chicken. Haven't made this in quite a while.

Joshua said...

Looks like they worked out well. For some reason I can't stand the though of a buttermilk dip though, too much like yoghurt for my liking.

Like you I've got nothing against deep-frying, and do deep-fry every week, although I try and limit it to a single time - this week was buffalo wings.

Unknown said...

I have the deep frying FEAR.
I do need to get over it though because I've had those deep fried pickles from Homesick Texan favourited for ages.

Cook in a Curry said...

Fab recipe Lizzie. Love buttermilk fried chicken. Anything with a crispy curnchy coating & deep fried is yum. Even better with halloumi. Love the dressing. I make something similiar with cumin powder and capers. Delish post!

Kavey said...

I looove deep fried goodies (though wish they didn't love ME as much!) but I do have a fear of deep frying.

I don't know why, as my mum fried pakoras and poorees and other goodies throughout my childhood and there's never been an accident (touch wood) to put such fear into me.

And yet I do fear hot oil.

I'm tempted to get a deep fryer, which feels safer than an open dish on the stove, but then wonder if that'll just lead to me eating too much fried food (currently restricted to eating out) and become even MORE lardy than I already am.

Gourmet Butcher said...

They look so yum Lizzie!! Great nibbles if you are having guests round!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Oooh, fab. I have no fear, until it starts hurting ;) In any case, where deep frying is concerned, any pain is worth it, no?

Liking the sound of these particular fries. Halloumi - yes, had that before, but not fried pickles, too. Mmmm.... Cheese-stuffed chillis? I am SO there.

miss south said...

I love the idea of fried pickles, but despite my gherkin love, I have always wanted to try these before making them myself, but the only place I can find that serves them is Hooters...

By the way, where do you get buttermilk? I can only find the cultured stuff in wee tubs rather than the proper milk in cartons like I grew up with in Ireland.

Oli Black said...

Great post- I love fried pickles.

First tried them last year from a brilliant street food stall - typically it was in a beautifully retro Airstream trailer - in Austin Texas. They cut the pickles into quarters from top to bottom (a pickley baton!?!) which meant the pickle stayed really moist and soft.

Also, they used cornflakes and hazelnut nibs which gave a great crispy bite!

PDH said...

I love deep frying, I don't think there is much that can't be improved by battering it and throwing it in the fryer!

These chilli's sound great though I'd probably use feta. Halloumi is a bit to squeaky for me :^)

Anonymous said...

Oh man, as a Texan in London I have to agree. Fried pickles are the best. Seriously missed top food.

Gin and Crumpets said...

When I was a kid every summer was marked with a different food fad, which me and my sisters would make over and over again.

One summer, when i was about 13, it was doughnuts. God knows what my mum was thinking but we deep fried doughnuts every day for about 3 weeks, often while wearing bikinis. I finished the summer lightly speckled with hot fat scars.

Now I'm a grown up and terrified of everything I would never just heat up a saucepan of hot fat. Instead I spend ages staring at deep fat fryers in shops and thinking: "Can I justify buying this? Can I?" Imagine the chips. And now, also the chillis stuffed with cheese.

Chris Pople said...

These were brilliant, especially the halloumi-stuffed chillis. Perhaps I shouldn't have stuffed my face with them until they ran out, but you only live once.

S said...

love love love this. pakistanis adore fried food, we arent scared of it in the least, it's just the sort of food you can find in restaurants in lahore which serve afternoon tea. quite a far cry from the afternoon tea at the Wolseley! the combination of the hot peppers and halloumi, all hot and crumbly must be scrumptious. a definite one to keep for my arsenal for when my mum and i host a tea party. x shayma

The Grubworm said...

Fired pickles? There's summat that would never have occurred to me. All I have to do is conquer the deep frying nervousness (not fear, not yet) and give it a go.

catty said...

deep fried pickles OMGGGGG.. can't believe I saw this while still on my post-surgery diet, I WANT SOME NOW!