Sunday, September 7, 2014

Greek fried zucchini with yoghurt sauce

There’s nothing more classic in Greek cuisine than battered and fried eggplant and zucchini slices. When you go out to a taverna in Greece, these nibbles are amongst the first you order.

When you have a meat- or fish-based Sunday lunch at home, you whip these up as a meze to accompany the grand attraction. They are the go-to side dish for every Greek who respects themselves.

When they are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, they are the best. Paired with tzatziki or a simple yoghurt sauce, they are divine.

In order to change things up because admittedly I am so bored of eating them with a plain batter, I added some sesame seeds and fresh mint to it. It made a big difference as they enhanced the flavor of the zucchini, adding freshness and extra crunchiness. The dip of Greek strained yoghurt was flavored with ground coriander that was faintly spicy and provided acidity to the fried zucchini.

S and I loved it. Especially S who couldn’t keep his hands off of it long enough for me take a photograph.

Greek fried zucchini with fresh mint and sesame seeds and a yoghurt dip with ground coriander

I used small, light-colored zucchini that taste far better than the large, deep-green ones and are less watery but any old zucchini will do.
I used a mandoline to slice them but a sharp knife will do the job as well.

Yield: enough for 4-6 people as appetizer


for the zucchini
3 courgettes (600-650 g), cut into 0.5-0.7 cm slices on the diagonal
80 g all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
160 ml cold sparkling water
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
Sunflower oil, for frying

for the yoghurt dip
7 Tbsp Greek 2% strained yoghurt
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ tsp ground coriander
1½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper (2-3 turns of the pepper mill)
¼ tsp salt

Special equipment: mandoline (optional)

In a medium-sized, high-sided, heavy-bottomed pan, add the sunflower oil. Be careful not to use a pan that’s too small, because the oil will rise and bubble and triple in size when you add the zucchini. You don't want the oil spilling out of the pan.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat. You can check if the oil is ready for frying by dropping in it a 2.5 cm cube of white bread and if it browns in 60 seconds, it is ready. If it browns in less time then your oil is too hot!

In the meantime, prepare the batter. It’s crucial that you prepare the batter at this point and not earlier, because this way it will retain the bubbles from the sparkling water and the zucchini fries will be more airy and crispy.

In a large bowl, add the flour and salt and mix with a whisk. Add the sparkling water, pouring it little by little and whisking continuously until it comes together into a somewhat thin batter. Add the sesame seeds and chopped mint and stir.

Once the oil is hot enough (it should be very hot so the zucchini doesn’t become soggy but crispy), dip the zucchini slices in the batter briefly and fry. Do not overcrowd the pan because they will not be uniformly fried. Fry them for 2-3 minutes, until they take on a golden color and crisp up.

While the zucchini is frying, prepare the yoghurt dip. Add all the ingredients for the dip in a medium-sized bowl and mix well with a spoon.

Remove the zucchini slices from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain excess oil. Then transfer them onto a platter and sprinkle with a little salt.

Serve immediately with the yoghurt dip.


  1. I have two zucchini in my fridge just begging for me to do this with them!!


  2. I love the idea of adding sesame seeds and mint to the batter: brilliant!

  3. I love the addition of the seeds and mint! And the sparkling water for the batter. Look forward to giving this a try! Have a great week! ~ David

  4. These just brought me back to my little Greek adventure. And we're huge vans of Belvoir, too :)

  5. Hello all! I'm happy you liked this recipe. It is truly delicious!

  6. I made these for a movie watching snack. They were delicious. I especially liked the yogurt dip.

  7. Hi could you use quinoa flour or of a different gluten free grain, and ordinary natural yoghurt rather than Greek?
    Sorry if these are silly questions, just a newbie to trying out cooking recipes!

    1. Hi Rachel. I've never tried using another type of flour so I can't really say. Plain yoghurt would work just fine.

  8. This one didn't really work for me. The batter was runny and the zucchini turned out mussy instead of crispy. I don't fry vegetables often so I probably did something wrong. The idea is great though! :)

    1. Sorry to hear this didn't turn out well for you. Better luck next time!