These are Kimchi Latkes, a pan-fried potato cake made and served with that ever-moreish Korean fermented cabbage condiment. Here the latkes are served in traditional style with sour cream and apple sauce as well.
And these are Pumpkin Pakora, a delicious treat with Scottish peasemeal and scrummy vegetables, perhaps slightly-more deep fried than other “pan” cakes but not necessarily so.
I’m sure as many of you do, I make stuff like this fairly often. At some point I conceptualised these kind of cakes/ fritters/ patties as a genre, as something I could fiddle around with not using recipes, using what was on hand so as to use-up and not waste and please everyone around. There can be a tender-morsel/ hor d’oeuvres quality, or a sense of burger to them as well.
I’ve talked about how I believe a cultural and media focus on fancy food and recipes may be part of the problem in people not cooking, feeling they don’t know how or can’t. We all learn in different ways. I think for many of us, there might be empowerment in knowing that perfection doesn’t matter, that you can throw things together with certain principles rather than instructions and specifics. Certainly a looser approach means less kitchen waste in that you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy ingredients, and you are afforded a creativity in using up what you do have on hand. I’ve tried to demonstrate this with frittatas and minestrone and some other posts I never quite finish.
Lately I’ve read two great approaches to making veggie pan “cakes”, and I wanted to share them with readers.
The first was this excellent Anna Stockwell article about Maria Speck’s approach to “Veggie Patties.” It’s truly worth bookmarking for every home cook and food educator, because it’s schematic but leaves loose for the pleasures of experimentation.
And just today the lovely Zero-Waste Chef posted something similar on her thoughts on Vegetable Fritters. I find Anne-Marie’s use of Sourdough Starter in this way very interesting.
Needless to say, for fermenting enthusiasts, there’s loads of opportunity to throw in our sundry creations.
Whatever ingredients you choose to play with, I find thinking this way liberating and fun– including the salsas and hot sauces you could serve as enticing condiments.
A 24 May 2016 postscript: see this fantastic Guardian piece: Anna Jones’ Versatile Veggie Fritter Recipe. I love her work.