Fritter is a name applied to a wide variety of fried foods, usually consisting of a portion of batter or breading which has been filled with bits of meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables or other ingredients. Fritters are prepared in both sweet and savory varieties.
In British fish and chip shops, the fish and chips can be accompanied by "fritters", which means a food item, such as a slice of potato, a pineapple ring, an apple ring or chunks, or mushy peas, fried in batter. Hence: "potato fritter", "pineapple fritter", "apple fritter", "pea fritter", etc. At home and at school, fritters are also sometimes made with meat, especially Spam and corned beef.
In the United States, fritters are small cakes made with a primary ingredient that is mixed with an egg and milk batter and either pan-fried or deep-fried; wheat flour, cornmeal, or a mix of the two may be used to bind the batter. "Corn fritters" are often made with whole canned corn and are generally deep-fried. "Apple fritters" are well known, although the contemporary American apple fritter is unlike the British one. Older versions of the apple fritter in the United States were prepared in the style of British ones, by slicing apples, dipping them in batter and frying them. Clam cakes and crab cakes are varieties of fritter. Another regional favourite is the "zucchini fritter".
Corn fritters are a very popular menu item in cafes across Melbourne, Australia. Whitebait fritters are popular in New Zealand.
In Burmese cuisine, fritters are called a-kyaw (Burmese: အကြော်), while assorted fritters are called a-kyaw-sone (Burmese: အကြော်စုံ). The most popular a-kyaw is the gourd fritter (ဘူးသီးကြော်). Diced onions, chickpea, potatoes, a variety of leafy vegetables, brown bean paste, Burmese tofu, chayote, banana and crackling are other popular fritter ingredients. Black beans are made into a paste with curry leaves to make bayagyaw—small fritters similar to falafel. Unlike pisang goreng, Burmese banana fritters are made only with overripe bananas with no sugar or honey added.
The savory fritters are eaten mainly at breakfast or as a snack at tea. Gourd, chickpea and onion fritters are cut into small parts and eaten with Mohinga, Myanmar's national dish. These fritters are also eaten with Kao hnyin baung rice and with Burmese salsa verde—called chin-saw-kar or a-chin-yay. Depending on the fritter hawker, the sauce is made from chili sauce diluted with vinegar, water, cilantro, finely diced tomatoes, garlic and onions.
In Indonesia fritters come under the category of gorengan (Indonesian: fritters, from goreng "to fry"), and many varieties are sold on travelling carts or by street vendors. Various kinds of ingredients are battered and deep fried such as pisang goreng (banana fritter), tempeh, tahu goreng (fried tofu), oncom, sweet potato, cassava chunk, cassava flour, and breadfruit, and these are often eaten accompanied by fresh bird's eye chili. The variety known as bakwan commonly contains flour with chopped vegetables such as carrot and cabbage, whereas the fried patties called perkedel typically consist of mashed potatoes or ground corn (perkedel jagung).
In Malaysia and Brunei, it is common for a type of fritter called "cucur" (such as yam, sweet potato and banana) to be fried by the roadside in a large wok and sold as snacks. In the Philippines, egg fritters are called kwek-kwek (quail) or tokneneng (chicken), and squid fritters are called kalamares. These, along with shrimp fritters called okoy, and banana fritters called maruya are also sold in travelling cart or street side vendors.
Throughout China, fritters are sold at roadsides. They may contain pork, but are commonly vegetarian.
In Japanese cuisine, tempura is vegetable or seafood dipped and fried in a light crispy batter and served as a common accompaniment to meals.
Fritters are extremely popular roadside snacks all over South Asia and are commonly referred to as pakora (pakoda) or bhajji (bhajia) in local parlance—the onion bhaji also enjoys a high popularity abroad and at home. In the south Indian state of Kerala, Banana Fritters are extremely popular and are known as Pazhampori (പഴംപൊരി).Fritters