Ever tried Kolokythakia Tiganita? Say whaaat? The Greek version of Fried Zucchini, truly crispy and irresistible. In fact so irresistible that I cooked tons of them this summer in our restaurant (in case you were wondering what I've been up to these past few months).
*Word Of Warning: Once you try them you can't go back. Be prepared, everyone will be asking for these again and again.
Kolokythakia are made by dipping very thin slices of zucchini in batter and then frying them in very hot oil. The batter helps keep the zucchini very soft and tender on the inside, while crispy crust forms on the outside. And this is how they're served in almost every Greek restaurant. Along with some grated Kefalotyri cheese on top. But that's optional really.
8 out of 10 Greek's will order this appetizer on their dinner out (along with a Greek salad that we pair it with each and every food). They're that popular in Greece.
And finally, after so many years I figured out how to make the best batter for Fried Zucchini. And it's so ridiculously simple and easy to make. All you have to do is whisk together soda water (club soda), with all-purpose flour, and a bit of salt and pepper, until a smooth, slightly runny batter forms.
If you're not familiar with Soda water or want to know what's the difference with sparkling water you may read this article, which explains it.
How To Fry Zucchini
There are a few tips and tricks to achieve making extra crispy zucchini. Other than the batter itself which helps, you need to pay attention to the temperature of the oil. It needs to be hot enough, so the batter forms a crust around the zucchini right as it gets dipped into the oil. The ideal frying temperature is 140-145°C (284-293 °F). An instant-read thermometer is a real savior in this case, but if you don't own one, then toss a little drop of the batter in the oil to test if it's hot enough. It should rise on the surface right away and start frying.
When it comes to frying, a gas stove always yields the best results. But that doesn't mean you can't make crispy zucchini on an electric stovetop. You will just have to pay extra attention to keeping a stable cooking temperature (as it tends to drop on an electric stove) so you may need to turn it a bit higher if you see that the zucchinis start to look like they simmer instead of frying.
Start with 2-3 slices to see how it works out on your stove. While keeping in mind, that they need to cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until they get a deep golden color.
Crispy Fried Zucchini (+ 2 ingredient batter)
- 2-3 medium light green zucchinis
- 200 grams / 7 oz all-purpose flour
- 300 ml cold soda water
- salt and pepper
- frying oil
- OPTIONAL: grated Greek Kefalotyri cheese, Pecorino Romano, or Parmesan cheese to serve with
- Rinse the zucchinis and slice off the tops and bottoms. Cut into long slices that are about ½ cm thick (⅕-inch). Season with salt and pepper.
- In a mixing bowl using a whisk, stir the flour and soda water until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Cover a sheet pan with paper towels and keep it next to you.
- Half-fill a large frying pan with frying oil. Or use a cooking pot. Heat over high heat until the oil becomes sizzling hot. Or until the temperature reads 180°C (356 °F) on an instant-read thermometer.
- Dip a zucchini slice into the batter, shake to remove excess batter, leaving only a very thin coating, and add to the hot frying oil. Give it a few seconds to form a crust before adding the next slice (so they won't stick together). Keep the heat to medium- medium-high while you fry them and don't overcrowd them in the pan (See note 1 below).
- Fry the zucchini in batches. Waiting until the oil comes back up to the desired temperature before adding the next batch. Cook for a couple of minutes until they become deep golden (almost brownish in color) all over, turning them as needed. Transfer on paper towels. Don't place them too close together while they're still warm.
- Serve right away with grated Greek Kefalotyri cheese on top. You may use Parmesan or Pecorino cheese instead.
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