The Best Kurdish Carrot Fritters in the World

by Sarah on February 25, 2010

In high school many years ago I was a fencing champion and was written about in the local paper- the Daily Freeman, which I once thought was so worldly and sophisticated. Everyone was always so impressed when I told them “I won the gold in the New York State fencing championships” as they made a show of raising their eyebrows and tilting their heads in slight surprise and perhaps awe, I would like to think. But of course it was all a joke since there were no other female contestants at this prestigious event.  The organizers scoured the auditorium and found two bewildered nine year olds whom I was told to compete against as it was hardly ethical to present me with a marble mounted trophy for just sitting there. I swiftly put down my young opponents with one lunge and happily accepted my well earned trophy which I have until today. Last summer I visited my fencing teacher, Umberto and his wife Elene who also own a horse farm near the Ashokan Reservoir and who still practice periodically in the nearby town of Woodstock.

Umberto teaching my son tricks in archery

Umberto's and Elene's farm

This is why my carrot fritters are truly the best- it is the only ones that I have eaten in my entire life, there is nothing to compare to them. I passed over the recipe dozens of times while leafing through my Kurdish cookbook but it seemed too simple to bother with, a typical amateur mistake as only quality produce is needed for a delicious meal. When I called my mother to ask if she ever had carrot fritters she told me that her grandmother used to make it often for school sandwiches. That would be a lot of fritters as she has six brothers and sisters.

The Best Kurdish Carrot Fritters (קציצות גזר)

Although carrots can be obtained in Israel all year, their flavor is undoubtedly better during the winter season.

5 medium sized carrots (about 2 cups), finely grated

1 onion, grated

2 eggs

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together until homogenous. Create about 15 flat, round, fritters from the mixture, about 1 cm thick. Heat oil in a pan, enough so that it comes half way up the fritters. Fry fritters until golden brown, on both sides. Remove on to paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve with labneh or yogurt. Variations: Ground coriander goes well with carrot fritters, either in the mixture or added in the labneh, try adding a variety of herbs such as parley and thyme.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacqueline Church February 25, 2010 at 8:02 am

Lovely story. I went to school in New Paltz and the area is lovely. I remember the Ashokan fondly, if not well. Hiking in the ‘Gunks was a favorite. Woodstock – I just saw theLittle Bear is still there in a newsletter about Hudson Valley restaurant week!

So, these fritters look wonderful and I’m sure it’s a way to get vegetables into the meal. I’m totally unfamiliar with Kurdish food. Cardamom would be great with Carrots. Do you have the Labneh recipe to share, too?

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Sarah February 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

thank you! labneh is simply drained yogurt so it’s a spreadable consistency. I usually buy labneh but it’s possible to prepare it at home, using a cheese cloth.
when I tried doing this at home it took about 24 hours.

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Robin from Israel February 25, 2010 at 8:11 am

Those look delicious.

I’ve got the words to Ashokan Farewell running through my head now. Luckily, that’s a good thing :).

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Zahavah February 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

So, the real question is, what did your boys think????

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Sarah February 25, 2010 at 10:05 am

I believe my youngest is going to turn orange! he ate almost half the batch. and he is the pickiest eater of the family

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Celeste February 25, 2010 at 10:05 am

Since I already have the labneh, I am going to make these fritters to go with.
I have made zucchini fritters so I will add this recipe along with the other.
I have also served the fritters with an aioli sauce.
The way you have plated the fritters is marvelous.

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Yael the Finn February 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm

That picture with the fritters is amazing! And the fritters sound super delicious, I will have to try these. So you were a fencer! Now I am impressed……

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Stella February 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm

These look wonderful. I sometimes make Algerian Potato cakes with cilantro to go with a meal, but I will have to try this next time. At least this ‘friedness’ is full of beta carotene.

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Rebecca @ InsideCuisine.com February 26, 2010 at 7:20 am

I *HEART* CARROTS! and I’m definitely going to try these they look truly delicious. What I really like about your post too is the nod to carrots seasonality even though they are available all year round x

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tasteofbeirut February 26, 2010 at 8:31 am

Interesting and beautiful pic! I need to ask my friend and former cook Asma who is Kurdish about these, she never made them for us.

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Sarah February 26, 2010 at 8:38 am

thanks! My grandmother from Koysanjak and cookbook author from Zakho made carrot fritters but not a relative whose family came from a small town near the border of Turkey. I think there are many regional foods which developed because of their isolation from each other.

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Annie Ozsarac February 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

Is there any chance these can be fried in less oil and baked to lower the fat content? Or would that change the taste? Regardless, I will be making these this weekend, they look delicious. Did you know that carrots from southeast Turkey used to all be purple? Every now and then you can find them in the pazars, especially in the southeast. Imagine the fritters made with purple carrots. It would be an amazing color as well! Thanks again for a great recipe.

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Sarah February 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

I tried baking zucchini fritters and they came out ok, liked the fried ones better.
Would be worth a try

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Cmiranda March 7, 2010 at 12:01 am

Lovely story.Yes I agree often the simplest recipes are often overlooked but once tried you just feel so guilty, at least thats the case for me for not trying them sooner.

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Anh March 18, 2010 at 3:15 pm

This looks amazing. I will try the recipe soon :)

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melpy April 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I just made these and they are FANTASTIC! I made one batch and ate almost the whole thing. I have to stop myself from eating all of them so my boyfriend gets to try them.

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Sarah April 30, 2010 at 9:26 pm

lol, thank you, hope your boyfriend like them to!

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Jamie May 18, 2010 at 4:28 am

You have me laughing! I adore your story, champion! And those fritters looks marvelous! I must try them. Along with your cauliflower fritters!

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kate May 28, 2010 at 9:47 am

I’m trying these out for a picnic tonight, thank you for the recipe!

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Sonia - L'Exquisit June 26, 2011 at 5:42 am

I made these carrots last night and they were delicious, although I would bake in the oven.

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Sarah June 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Thanks Sonia, Glad they came out well for you.

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Pille @ Nami-Nami January 8, 2013 at 12:53 am

Definitely going to make them – I have Turkish zucchini fritters and Greek tomato fritters in my repertoire already and carrot ones sound like a good addition.
While studying in Edinburgh, I was often chatted up with “You are the most beautiful Estonian girl I know”. I thought that was hilarious, as I knew for sure I was also the only Estonian girl they knew. :)

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Sarah January 8, 2013 at 4:06 am

Pille, I love that story. Always nice to be the best (or the prettiest in this case..) even if they are no competitors ;-).

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Adam May 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I’m am making these with my boyfriend as I type and I am eager to taste the results! I stumbled across your blog today and have found myself wandering around it and saving EVERY recipe!
Cheers & Good Eats!

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