• Ginger ricotta fritters (Sarina Kamini)Source: Sarina Kamini

Dairy fills a large piece of the Indian dessert story. But where green cardamom is the dessert queen, this time ginger takes a turn in the spotlight, with these hybrid ginger ricotta fritters in a ginger syrup. It is a three-step dessert if you make your own ricotta, but the results are worth it.

Serves
4

Preparation

55min

Cooking

40min

Skill level

Mid
By
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Ginger is often the spice relegated to back-of-pantry purgatory. It’s too well known for that. Gingerbread, ginger biscuits and ginger cake will bring it back into the fold for the most part. What about in the regional world of Indian cooking? Just like its cousin turmeric, ginger contributes to almost every dish.

What makes ginger ubiquitous is its all-embracing warmth. In a sweet context, these are the spices suited to baking and dairy-based desserts. In the savoury world, warm spices like ginger round out sharper flavours created by pungent and bitter spices, giving the mouth access to a pleasure pit-stop in its endless task of flavour identification.

In Kashmiri cooking, ginger is a savoury addition used prolifically in both its forms.

As a dried and ground spice, ginger’s heat is offset by a subtle sweetness and a bitter finish. As a fresh spice, ginger is astringent with all of the sharp and nasal-cleaning character more commonly associated with garlic and onion. 

In a dish, the two variations perform different functions. 

Fresh ginger has more oomph, more heat and pushes through the weight of dairy, egg and sugar that the fritters contain. Ground ginger is the warmth that we all seek when we think of gingery, wintery desserts. Using both in these sweet ginger ricotta fritters is the best way I know to tell ginger’s story in a fresh, delicious and comforting way.

Ginger top tips

• Using a very fine grater for fresh ginger means there’s no need to take time to peel its skin. Just give the root a wash before use.

• Ginger and turmeric are cousins, which makes them a natural complement. Use them together in savoury dishes to deepen that gingery profile.

• Ginger’s warmth - in fresh or dried and ground form - makes it a perfect partner for clove, nutmeg, cinnamon or mace.

 

Ingredients

Ricotta

  • 2 litres milk (full fat)
  • 2 lemon, juice only

Ginger syrup

  • 3 tbsp ginger, finely grated
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ⅔ cup caster sugar

Batter

  • 250 g ricotta (if you're using storebought)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp fresh finely grated ginger
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 lemon, juice and grated rind only
  • ⅓ cup caster sugar
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup icing sugar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

  1. To make the ricotta, heat milk in a large saucepan over high heat until it comes to a boil. When the milk starts to bubble and rise, turn off the heat and immediately add the lemon juice to split the milk into curds and whey.
  2. Strain the curds in a muslin or a fine-woven tea towel and hang while preparing the ginger syrup.
  3. Remove the ricotta from the muslin and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, salt, ground ginger, fresh finely grated ginger, plain flour, the bicarb soda, juice and rind of one lemon, and the caster sugar. Stir until well combined. It should form a fairly firm dough, still soft and not dry.
  4. To make the ginger syrup, put the finely grated ginger in a small pan with water caster sugar. Cook on medium-low heat so it is just simmering for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer a further 15 to 20 minutes until syrupy and rich. Turn off the heat and set it aside. You can strain the syrup if you don't want to keep the ginger pieces in your syrup. 
  5. In a deep frying pan, add two to three cups of vegetable oil and heat to high heat, but below smoking.
  6. While the oil is heating, roll the ricotta mix into even balls.
  7. Fry in small batches until golden and cooked through. Then strain on a kitchen towel.
  8. Roll the cooked ricotta fritters in the icing sugar. Mount on a plate and drizzle with the warm ginger syrup. Serve immediately. 

 

'Not just curry' is a fortnightly recipe column on SBS Food lead by spice lover, Sarina Kamini. It shares the flavourful insights and potential behind a different spice that may be tucked away in your pantries and is celebrated with a brand-new recipe. Find out more here.

Photography, styling and food preparation by Sarina Kamini.