Japanese korokke are the basis for these cheesy squash fritters, which can be made with freshly steamed kabocha squash or canned pumpkin puree. A drier squash, kabocha has a sweet flavor and cooks down into a custardy texture that's still dry enough to fry into these crispy two-bite appetizers. Serve them with a shortcut dipping sauce, a blend of fresh garlic, bright yuzu juice, and silky Kewpie mayo.
Pączki donuts are traditionally made just before Lent as a delicious way to use up ingredients in the pantry that would normally be given up as a Lenten sacrifice—such as butter, sugar, and jam. Try not to reroll the dough more than 2 to 3 times. This will prevent the donuts from turning slightly tough and from frying up unevenly. Freeze-dried strawberries add a terrific flavor to the jelly donut's sugar dusting. If you enjoy floral flavors, try filling the donuts with rose petal jam.
Silken tofu gives these strawberry-flavored mochi-tofu doughnuts (inspired by pon de ring doughnuts popularized in Japan) a chewy, springy texture, while mochiko (sweet glutinous rice flour) helps the doughnuts get an airy, crispy crust. The dough and glaze get their strawberry flavor from strawberry powder; to make your own, pulse freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until finely ground. This recipe can be adapted to make lemon-flavored doughnuts; read to the bottom of the recipe for instructions on how to make the lemon pon de ring variation.
The first bite of one of these buttermilk donuts takes you from a super crunchy, craggy crust to a deliciously tender cake interior, all draped in a glorious lemonade-like glaze. A touch of nutmeg adds a touch of old-fashioned flavor. Be sure to drain the donuts twice—first on a wire rack and then again on paper towels—to remove any excess oil before glazing them.
Fried sweets prepared and shared with loved ones are a mainstay of Phagwah, or Holi, a holiday celebrated by many in the South Asian diaspora each spring. Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse, founder of the blog Alica’s Pepperpot, learned to make these Indo-Caribbean coconut-stuffed fried handpies from her grandmother, Shelia. Freshly grated nutmeg and ginger are essential ingredients for the warmly spiced coconut filling. Serve them piping hot, soon after frying, for the best texture.
More Fried Dough
Anytime around Diwali, you'll find golden, translucent, crispy, sticky, jewel-like jalebis in boxes stacked up high inside mithai shops and Indian grocery stores all around the world. Jalebi, a Persian-origin sweet that is popular in India, is a treat made from batter that's drizzled into hot oil to deep-fry it, and then briefly soaked in a fragrant saffron- and cardamom-infused syrup. Typically, jalebi is made with a fermented batter, or attho, but in more modern times cooks have found a quick shortcut by using baking soda, eno (fruit salt), or lemons to acidify the batter. While making jalebi, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure the syrup is warm and to immediately drop the deep-friend jalebis from the oil into syrup so that the jalebis soak it all up. If the syrup is too hot or too cold, the jalebi will not absorb the syrup and you'll end up with soggy jalebis, which will still taste good but won't give you the crispy texture you want. I highly recommend eating them fresh—there truly is nothing like fresh jalebi right out of the syrup!