A few weeks ago it was brought to my attention that Panamá had been listed amongst the Top 10 Food destinations for 2011 by the Huffington Post (if you don’t believe me you can read all about it here).
And, YES! We have been recognised for what we do best: FRITANGA!
I mean, who doesn’t like to be woken up with a nice deep-fried breakfast?
Well, apart from the bore who commented on the HP piece saying one gets over fried food after one day – Get a life and a carimañola and shut up.
Deep-fried food stuffs are amazing. They rock my world.
Whenever I go home I demand that all my breakfasts are deep-fried and then I top them with an egg (also fried), a slab of Kraft cheese (yes, the awesome yellow one) and sometimes a slice of ham (if I’m feeling in form).
So inspired by this general (bar the one crazy commenter) love of the deep-fried stuffs I decided to take a look at their glorious history, because if it’s good it can only be glorious.
First stop Wikipedia: “[…]In modern Latin America, with some exceptions, such as street fair food, fried tortillas, and pescado frito (fried fish), frying is not among the significant methods of cooking […]” – Ok, where do these people get their information from?!
What kind of demented human being decided that statement sounded true enough to have it published?!
However, I keep reading and then they mention that “If performed properly, deep-frying does not make food excessively greasy, because the moisture in the food repels the oil.” Which I really like because then it means deep-fried food stuffs are healthy contrary to common belief, right? Right.
It is even possible that deep-fried food stuffs are healthier than, say, a salad with a balsamic vinaigrette because the lettuce would have not repelled the oil. The oil is slathered all over the lettuce in fact!
I’m liking Wikipedia a little bit more by this point.
And to celebrate I made myself the simplest of Panamanian fritangas the other day – Our version of corn fritters, torrejas.
I must admit, though, that this was the first time I made them since I just normally demand them from mother, so there was a little bit of discussion over what recipe was best.
Mum seemed confused as to whether egg was needed or not.
Dad said yes, she said no.
I tried without egg, giving her the benefit of the doubt since she’s the Panamanian. And it didn’t work.
Of course it didn’t work.
What was I thinking?!
I was crushed and hungry and then when I was on Skype with my grandma (yes, she has discovered Skype) I told her all about it; she giggled and stated “Pero mijita! Claro que eso lleva huevo!” (“My dear girl! Of COURSE you need egg!”).
Talk about stating the obvious.
And then I tried again and it worked and I ate the whole batch in celebration.
I didn’t even share.
Torrejas de maiz
Makes 12 small ones
700gr sweet corn kernels (if you don’t have fresh ones, you can use frozen ones, but do defrost first!_
A pinch of salt
1tbsp clear honey
1tbsp baking powder
Pepper to taste
Abundant vegetable oil for frying
Put the corn, egg, salt, honey and baking powder in the food processor and whiz with glee until you have an homogenous mix that is easy to handle and turn into little balls.
Turn said mix into little balls and squash them a little.
Roll in the flour mixed with the pepper.
Deep-fry until golden brown on all sides.
Eat with an ice cold beer at hand.