A fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep-fried. Although very similar to a doughnut it differs in the fact that it requires some base ingredient beyond the dough it is cooked with.
In fish and chip shops, the fish and chips can be accompanied by “fritters”, which means a food item, such as a slice of potato, a pineapple ring, an apple ring or chunks, or some mushy peas, fried in batter. Hence: potato fritters, pineapple fritters, apple fritters, pea fritters, etc. At home and at school, fritters are also sometimes made with meat especially spam and corned beef.
In the United States, fritters are small cakes made with a primary ingredient that is mixed with an egg and milk batter and either pan-fried or deep-fried; wheat flour, cornmeal, or a mix of the two may be used to bind the batter. “Corn fritters” are often made with whole canned corn and are generally deep-fried. “Apple fritters” are well known, although the American apple fritter is unlike the Australian one. Clam cakes and crab cakes are varieties of fritter. Another regional favourite is the “zucchini fritter”.
Whitebait Fritters are popular in New Zealand.
In Burmese cuisine, fritters are called a-kyaw, while assorted fritters are called a-kyaw-sone. The most popular a-kyaw is the gourd fritter. Diced onions, chickpea, potatoes, a variety of leafy vegetables, brown bean paste, Burmese tofu, Chayote, banana and crackling are other popular fritter ingredients. Black beans are made into a paste with curry leaves to make bayagyaw — small fritters similar to falafel. Unlike pisang goreng, Burmese banana fritters are made only with overripe bananas with no sugar or honey added.
The savoury fritters are eaten mainly at breakfast or as a tea snack. Gourd, chickpea and onion fritters are cut into small parts and eaten with Mohinga, Myanmar’s national dish. These fritters are also eaten with Kao hnyin baung The fritters are also eaten with Burmese salsa verde — called chin-saw-kar or a-chin-yay. Depending on the fritter hawker, the sauce is made from chilli sauce diluted with vinegar, water, coriander, finely diced tomatoes, garlic and onions.
In Indonesia assorted fritters is called gorengan (Indonesian: fritters, from goreng “to fry”), many kinds of fritters were sold on travelling cart or street side vendors. Various kinds of ingredients were battered and deep fried such as Pisang Goreng (banana fritter), tempeh, tahu goreng (fried tofu), oncom, sweet potato, cassava chunk, cassava flour, breadfruit, and flour with chopped vegetables (carrot and cabbage). Gorengan were usually eaten with fresh bird’s eye chilli. Another type of Indonesian fritter are Perkedel Jagung (corn fritter) and perkedel kentang (mashed potato fritter). In Malaysia and Brunei, it is common for a variety of fritters, called “cucur” (such as yam, sweet potato and banana) to be fried by the roadside in a large wok and sold as snacks. In the Philippines egg fritters are called kwek-kwek or tokneneng and also sold in travelling cart or street side vendors.
In Japanese cuisine tempura is vegetable or seafood dipped and fried in a light crispy batter and served as a common accompaniment to meals.
Fritters are extremely popular roadside snacks all over South Asia and are commonly referred to as Pakora (Pakoda) or Bhajji (Bhajia) in local parlance — the onion bhaji also enjoys a high popularity abroad.
Although containing soft centres within fritters can be tricky, it is a common misconception that in this case they contain bread. Fritters are exclusively dough- or batter-based foodstuffs.