Sweet Potato Fritters with Pomegranate Syrup and Feta

Growing up sweet potatoes were relegated to the Thanksgiving table, and often confused with the yam. Since then I’ve found a fondness for sweet potato as long as it was exclusively used in savory applications, no honey or brown sugar, please! That is until I found a way to pair them with spices that only plays with the idea of sweetness.

Playing with food is fun, and one of the greatest of ways is to turn that food into a crispy fritter. The flavors used marry together while the hot oil infuses them into the chosen main ingredient; grated sweet potato in this case.  Most would go with herbs or just a simple salt and pepper seasoning, but because I wanted that idea of sweet without the sugar I used cinnamon and nutmeg for sweet warm flavors, and coriander seed and cumin for fresh earthiness. The combination of which becomes something that creates a craving for one more bite and makes these hard to share.

With a fall or winter snack in mind for these fritters, a pomegranate fruit seemed like an ideal pairing to these tastes. Turned to a thick sweet syrup, the pomegranate turns this nearly into a dessert, begging to have a sweet whipped cream or honeyed yogurt to go with it. A crumble of salty feta, on the other hand, brings the dish back to an appetizer or luxurious snack.  But really, it could easily go the other way if one was so inclined!

These sweet potato fritters are so versatile it’s hard to choose how to present it most deliciously!

Sweet Potato Fritters with Pomegranate Syrup and Feta

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Fritters

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • ½ onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Light oil
  • Crumbled feta cheese

Syrup

  • 1 pomegranate
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cinnamon back
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

Fritters

  1. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Peel and trim the root end off of the onion and thinly slice it. Cut the onion slices into 1/2 – 1 inch long pieces. Peel and finely mince the garlic.
  2. Using a box grater, grate both sweet potatoes.
  3. Put the grated sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, and flour into a bowl. Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander seed, cumin, and salt. Add the eggs to the bowl and mix everything together.
  4. Heat approximately 1-1½ inch of oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat to 350F.
  5. Using two spoons form a loose ball of sweet potato mixture and drop it into the hot oil. Allow the raw fritter to fry until golden brown on all sides, turning it half way through cooking.  Transfer the cooked fritter to a plate lined with paper towels to allow it to drain excess oil. Repeat with the rest of the sweet potato mixture.
  6. When all of the fritters have been cooked, sprinkle with coarse salt and allow them to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Pomegranate syrup

  1. Cut the pomegranate in half and put the seeds from one half into a bowl. Put the pomegranate seeds, sugar, cinnamon stick, and water into a small saucepan.
  2. Place the pan on a stove top over high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow it to simmer 10-15 minutes or until the seeds have lost most of their juice and the liquid has reduced by half. Turn off the heat.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the cornstarch. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve and discard the leftover seeds.
  4. Serve the sweet potato fritters with the pomegranate syrup drizzled on top, crumbled feta cheese, and a sprinkle of the rest of the pomegranate seeds from the other half of the fruit.

Notes

These fritters can be made ahead of time and frozen for a couple of months. Follow all of the steps up until serving, and instead freeze them. Pop them back into hot oil to fry after thawing when ready to use.

STEP ONE – PREPARE THE FRITTER INGREDIENTS

Run cold water over the sweet potato to clean off any dirt or debris before peeling all of the outside skin and rinse again.  Remove the peels from the onion and garlic cloves and cut off the root ends. Slice the onion thinly and then chop the slices into ½ -1 inch long pieces. Mince the garlic cloves and set them aside.

STEP TWO – GRATE THE SWEET POTATOES

Grate the sweet potatoes on the large hole of a grater.

STEP THREE – MIX THE FRITTERS

Place the sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, and flour into a bowl along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander seed, cumin, and salt.

Crack the eggs into the bowl.

Stir it together until it comes to a thick mixture and everything is evenly distributed throughout.

STEP FOUR – HEAT THE OIL

Pour light cooking oil into a deep pan to about 1 to 1 ½ inches deep. Place the pan on a burner over medium-high heat and wait for the oil to reach about 350F, checking with a cooking thermometer. Alternatively, use a deep fryer, which has a temperature gage built in.

If a thermometer isn’t available, drop a ½ inch cube of bread into the oil and if it turns golden brown in 30 seconds, it is hot enough.

STEP FIVE – FRY THE FRITTERS

Scoop up a spoonful of the sweet potato mixture and transfer it back and forth between          too spoons to form a loose, but sticky, ball.

Drop the sweet potato ball into the hot oil and let it cook through;

about 3 minutes on one side, turn and 2-3 on the other.

STEP SIX – DRAIN FRITTERS AND SEASON WITH SALT

Transfer the finished fritter to a plate lined with paper towels and repeat with the rest of the fritters, cooking them in batches of 4-5 at a time.

When the fritters are all cooked, sprinkle them with coarse salt and allow them to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

STEP SEVEN – REMOVE SEEDS FROM FRUIT

Cut the pomegranate in half with a chef’s knife. Remove the seeds from one half of the pomegranate and put them in a bowl as you work.

Transfer the seeds to a small saucepan and add in the sugar, cinnamon stick, and water.

STEP EIGHT – COOK THE POMEGRANATE SYRUP

Put the saucepan on the stove over high heat and bring it just to a boil. Turn the temperature down to medium-low and let it simmer about 10-15 minutes. It’s ready when the liquid has reduced by about half and the juices from the seeds have seeped out into the pan. Turn off the heat.

STEP NINE – STRAIN THE SYRUP

Pull the cinnamon stick out of the pan and discard it. Stir the cornstarch into the mixture and let it thicken.

Strain the syrup through a mesh sieve and toss out the seeds.

STEP TEN – DRIZZLE FRITTERS WITH SYRUP AND FETA

Serve the sweet potato fritters with the pomegranate syrup drizzled over them, a crumble of feta, and additional pomegranate seeds from the other half of the pomegranate on top.

As I mentioned above, these fritters can easily be turned into dessert if the feta is left out and either a creamy honey goat cheese is substituted or whipped cream!

How do you prefer your sweet potato? Is it sweet or savory, baked or fried, or some other delicious way? Let us know!

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