One of my favourite Ramadhan treats since childhood has been Cape Malay Daltjies or spinach and corn fritters made with chickpea flour. They are a ubiquitous Cape Malay appetiser found on the tables of most homes during Ramadhan.
My favourite daltjies or dhaltjies recipes during childhood were those made by my father’s sister Gadija and his niece Faieka. I was never able to master either of their recipes, to my great disappointment.
In Cape Malay homes daltjies are usually eaten at the time of breaking the fast with mushroom soup, red lentil soup, boeber or falooda milkshake. Our spinach and corn fritters are very similar to Indian vegetarian snacks or appetizers called pakoras, except the pakoras have a drier texture. My later father enjoyed his crispy spinach fritters if they were made with big pieces of spinach leaf dipped into the daltjie batter and shallow fried.
A few years ago my mother’s friend gave me a tip that transformed my daltjies from boring to sublime. She suggested that I use her easy chili bites recipe that consisted of a popular pre-packaged daltjie mix with sweet corn added in. It resulted in the most delightful flavour combination, and one I have tried to recreate here without using any pre-pack mix.
These Daltjies or Spinach and sweet corn fritters are a made from scratch and are a delicious and easy to make Cape Malay appetiser, crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside.
They are delicious at iftar served with warm Boeber, a milky and nourishing beverage scented with cinnamon and cardamom, or Falooda milkshake flavored with rose syrup. For other Iftar ideas you can check my Ramadhan recipes.
Daltjies Spinach and Corn fritters
- 100 grams chickpea flour (approximately 250 ml or 1 cup)
- 140 grams cake or fine sponge flour (approximately 250 ml or 1 cup)
- 10 ml baking powder (approximately 2 level teaspoons)
- 2.5 ml salt (adjust as required)
- 7.5 ml ground cumin (approximately 1 1/2 teaspoon)
- 5 ml ground coriander (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 2.5 ml turmeric powder (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 small red onion (finely grated (approximately 40 grams))
- 1 small carrot (finely grated (approximately 40 grams))
- 50 grams chopped spinach (approximately 250 ml or 1 cup)
- 125 ml sweet corn kernels (approximately 1/2 cup)
- 1 chopped green chilli (use 2 for spicy)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves and stalks
- 1 clove garlic (finely grated)
- 1 egg plus water to make 200 ml liquid.
- 5 ml olive oil (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 5 ml sugar (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 125 ml Sunflower Oil, for deep frying (use as much as required to deep fry in your pot)
- Coriander micro-greens
- In a clean medium sized bowl sift the chickpea flour, cake flour and salt.
- Add the ground cumin, ground coriander and turmeric and combine with a whisk.
- In another bowl grate the garlic, onion and carrot and add the chopped spinach, corn kernels and chilli and stir to mix through.
- Finely chop the coriander leaves and stalks and add to the other vegetables.
- Toss the vegetables into the chickpea flour and then add the egg and water mixture. If using add the sugar and oil too.
- Stir to combine thoroughly and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before frying.
- Add the baking powder just before frying and mix through thoroughly before frying off tablespoon fulls of batter in oil at least 5 cm deep.
- The batter may seem thick at first but will loosed up while it rests as the vegetables start releasing their liquid.
- Fry until golden brown and check that they are evenly cooked before removing with a slotted spoon.
- Drain on kitchen paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Garnish with coriander micro-greens (or chopped coriander) and serve hot.
If you want it a bit spicier, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder.
If you don't have spinach, then kale or swiss chard may be used instead.
I used a small ice cream scoop to obtain even sized balls.
The balls will roll over when they are cooked on the one side.
Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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This recipe was first published on 05/06/2016 has since been updated.