When I was a high school senior my agricultural boarding school in Israel served some seriously greasy, gloppy slop. Once, after months of frustration over the oil slick that was inevitably left on my plate at the end of each meal, I approached once of the large, hair-netted lunch ladies and pointed out that there was kind of a lot of oil in the food, and asked if there might be a way to change that. She looked at me with an expression that was clearly a mix of boredom and indigestion and shook her head imperceptibly before continuing to shovel limp string beans onto oncoming plates. I knew then that this was not going to be one of those times when a-change-was-gonna-come, and resigned myself to choosing carefully when eating in the school dinning room.
Everything else about Pardes Chana Agricultural was so great that I managed to overlook the terrible food for the most part, and even found a few things that seemed downright tasty compared to the rest of what was available. One food that played a big part in sustaining me for those 10 months were veggie corn patties (not actually ‘cooked’ by the lunch ladies, but reheated). Israel is a country with a decent number of vegetarians and therefore, more tasty veggie patty options in grocers’ freezers than I find here in the States. Most of these are made by the ‘Tivol’ brand, and although they do make a corn option which I bought while we were in Jerusalem this summer, it didn’t taste quite like what they were serving us back at PC in’96.
I thought all was lost on the corn patty front until I found this recipe from Vegan Yum Yum…
I don’t remember seeing Lauren Ulm in the dinning room at Pardes Chana Agricultural, but whether it’s coincidence, divine intervention or just my luck, that her corn fritters are so remarkably like those delicious patties, I am glad to have discovered them — and you will be too. I suggest you double this one.
Corn Fritters, adapted slightly from Vegan Yum Yum, by Lauren Ulm
When I first looked at this recipe I thought, ‘What a random assortment of spices’, but they really taste great together, and they definitely give these little fritters wonderful flavor. Also, I doubled this recipe which gave me 10 medium-size fritters.
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh corn (2 large ears)
1-2 Tbs of oil for the pan frying
Mix the flour, cornmeal, salt baking powder and spices together
Add the soy milk and water to the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined. The batter should be thick, but not too thick to whisk
Fold in the corn
Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium high heat with a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, take rounded tablespoons of batter and cook 3 or 4 at a time (only 3 fit in my 9 inch pan), spreading them out gently with the back of a spoon before they set. Cook until golden brown, then flip and cook until the other side is golden (I kept my cooked fritters in a 200 F oven while a fried the others, until they were all done). Drain on a paper towel before serving. Serve with herbed vegan sour cream or ketchup.