Crispy, batter-fried zucchini—Kolokythakia tiganita, pronounced koh-loh-kee-THAHK-yah tee-ghah-nee-TAH—is a Greek favorite often served in taverns. It is usually part of a meze platter, perhaps alongside batter-fried eggplant and accompanied by a cooling cucumber yogurt sauce (tzatziki). This recipe serves four as a side dish or six to eight as an appetizer—meze in Greek.
There are a few tips you need to follow to assure that you get crispy zucchini instead of soggy zucchini. First, make sure the zucchini is cleaned and dried well, and be sure to slice it evenly so all pieces cook at the same rate. The key to great crispy zucchini is to slice it thinly and fry it at high heat so it has time to cook without absorbing a lot of oil. If the oil isn't hot enough, the zucchini will soak it up and come out greasy. It is important the oil reaches—and maintains—the correct temperature for frying (which is usually between 350 F and 375 F).
- 1 large zucchini
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- For the Batter:
- 8 ounces bottled soda water (club soda)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- For Frying:
- 1/2 inch olive oil
Prepare the Zucchini
- Wash the zucchini thoroughly in cold water and pat it dry. Trim the ends.
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into strips about 1/8- to 1/16-inch thick.
- Cut the zucchini slices in half if they're long. Slices measuring about 3 inches work best.
- Place the slices in a bowl with the salt. Let them sit for at least 20 minutes, and up to 1 hour.
- Pour off the accumulated liquid. (The salt will draw the water out from the squash.)
Make the Batter
- Pour the soda water into a bowl. Slowly stir in the flour and salt, using a whisk or a fork to mix.
Fry the Zucchini
- Bring the oil to high heat.
- Coat the zucchini with the batter. Use a fork to place the pieces in the oil.
- Fry for about 5 minutes until golden and crispy on both sides, flipping them over about halfway through. The batter will puff up and the zucchini center should be soft when they're done.
- Drain the zucchini on absorbent paper toweling just long enough to remove the excess oil. Serve hot.
Tips and Variations
- Use a cheese slicer, a mandoline, or a long-bladed knife to get uniformly thin slices.
- Frying the zucchini slices in a single layer also helps to avoid sogginess. Use more than one frying pan if necessary.
- You're not limited to using just salt in the batter. You can add almost any of your favorite herbs, such as oregano or thyme. You might even want to add some minced garlic.
- It's important to serve this dish hot. The zucchini will turn mushy if it's allowed to cool off to room temperature.