Deep-fried spiced courgettes

Shatteringly crisp smoky batter with beautifully soft courgettes within, this is a seriously tasty snack. It only needs to be mounded generously on a plate with a gutsy dip such as an aoili or a chilli relish before getting tucked into with ice cold drinks…..

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I love this dish SO much and while I don’t often deep-fry food, when I do I really want to enjoy it without feeling any guilt! Well, this hits the spot and more.

Vegetable tempura

I also love making this with onions, aubergines, mushrooms and red peppers, and each time plates of it vanish in moments!

The batter is so simple and is mixed up in seconds, and I like to flavour it with crushed garlic and smoked paprika. But you can ring the changes and use other spices: chilli, turmeric, fennel seeds, for example, are especially wonderful………

I like to slice the courgette into thin batons or even matchsticks, but they are equally lovely simply cut into discs, no more than a centimetre thick – in which case, fry them for about 20-30 seconds or so.

As I pop about a tablespoon of them at a time into the hot oil, I let the mixture drop slowly. That way, you tend to get more individual shards of crisp-coated courgettes rather than clumped rogether. Mind you, they are also absolutely gorgeous slumped together, like pakora.

I normally go for one medium courgette for two people.

Recipe: deep-fried spiced courgettes

  • a few courgettes, sliced into thin strips


  • 100g cornflour
  • 100g plain flour
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda*
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 rounded teaspoons smoked paprika
  • cold water to mix

*I don’t always use bicarbonate of soda, but it gives an even lighter batter

to serve:

  • lime wedges
  • sea salt
  • dips of choice: aoili, mayonnaise, ketchup, chilli relish…..

(1) Preheat the fryer to 180C.

(2) Put the batter ingredients, apart from the water, into a bowl mix. Add enough water to give a thick batter: roughly the consistency of double cream.

(3) Add the courgettes to the batter and give them a good stir.

(4) Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and drop it carefully in the hot oil. Add a few more tablespoons to the hot oil: you can normally get 4-5 spoonfuls without crowding too much. Give the basket a gentle shake to stop any sticking to it. This will also help the courgettes separate, but a few sticking together in the batter is no bad thing!

(5) Deep-fry for about 30 seconds until the courgettes rise to the top and the batter is a deep golden brown.

(6) Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle liberally with salt and a spritz of lime. Enjoy with your dip(s) of choice!

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

2 thoughts on “Deep-fried spiced courgettes”

  1. About ten years ago I finally bought a small electric deep fryer. And I still haven’t used it. I’ve always wanted to make arancini, and also deep fried olives. Now I want to make these, especially with all of the zucchini I have in my garden. Let’s hope I can do it… Great recipe.


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