Summing up the essence of NZ cuisine

Photos: Josh Griggs
Photos: Josh Griggs
For New Zealand chef Al Brown these fritters come close, for him personally, to a dish that encapsulates New Zealand cuisine almost perfectly.

"A fritter is such an informal but delicious thing to cook and eat."

He says you can substitute different shellfish in this recipe, like mussels, pipi or cockles. The kūmara is an inherently Kiwi vege, helping to bulk out the recipe if you are short on the kaimoana, and of course it adds a subtle sweetness to the equation.

The book

Eat Up New Zealand: The Bach Edition, by Al Brown (published by Allen & Unwin NZ, RRP $49.99)

Tuatua and kūmara fritters with egg, gherkin and caper mayonnaise

Makes 12

Egg, gherkin and caper mayo

1 cup (250g) mayonnaise

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and rough chopped

⅓ cup gherkins, finely diced

¼ cup capers, rinsed and finely chopped

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

¼ cup (7g) finely chopped parsley


650g tuatua meat

350g kūmara, cut into 1cm dice

½ cup (80g) finely diced red onion

¼ cup (60ml) sweet chilli sauce

⅓ cup (15g) basil leaves, finely chopped

1½ Tbsp lemon juice

3 eggs

¾ cup (110g) plain flour

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For frying

Cooking oil

To serve

Lemon halves


To make the egg, gherkin and caper mayo, place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix together then refrigerate until required.

Take the tuatua and place in a colander to drain. Now roughly chop and place in a medium-sized bowl.

For the kūmara, place in a small saucepan, cover with salted cold water, then place over high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 2–3 minutes, until just soft through.

Drain, spread on a tray and let cool.

Add the kūmara to the bowl with the tuatua, followed by the onion, chilli sauce, basil and lemon juice. Mix through.

With a stick blender, blitz the eggs and flour together in a bowl to create a thick batter. Add to the tuatua mixture and mix through. Take the stick blender and blitz about a cup of the mix, then fold this back in (this will help bind the fritter and hold it together when cooking). Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until required.

Place a cast-iron pan or similar heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Once hot, add a splash of oil and cook off one small fritter to check and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Cook the fritters to your desired size, until golden and cooked through. They should take a couple of minutes on each side.

Serve with the egg, gherkin and caper mayo, and lemon halves on the side. Eat now.