Friday, March 14, 2008
To make these Lebanese pancake-fritter hybrids (Ijja) first buy some zucchini, the ones with the pale green skin. Next, core them and reserve the pulp. What to do with the actual zucchini? Well, I don’t know. You can stuff them with rice and lamb and braise them in some tomato broth.
Actually these fritters are the byproduct of making the stuffed zucchini (Koussa Mahshi). It is a thrifty way of making a delicious meal out of something that might normally be discarded. To make the batter, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the pulp then coarsely chop it. Mix into the pulp a couple of eggs, some flour, chopped fresh mint, minced onions, salt and pepper.
I like to fry these in my cast iron skillet. Just heat about a half inch olive oil (or vegetable oil) and drop in heaping tablespoons. Flipping these suckers is tricky, so you have to be careful. I served them with a tomato salad (red onions, fresh mint, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper) and pita bread. These are not supposed to be crispy. They are soft and almost fluffy on the inside. Tear a piece, wrap it in pita bread and eat it with a forkful of the tomato salad and some fresh sliced chilies. Delicious.