South African style pumpkin fritters the healthy way (paleo & gluten-free)

South African style pumpkin fritters the healthy way (paleo & gluten-free)

Also on my recent visit to South Africa, I helped my mum make some traditional style pumpkin fritters (or Pampoen koekies as they are known in Afrikaans) for a family get together. In South Africa, these pumpkin fritters, sweet as they are, are eaten with a main course on the side. We South Africans love to add sweetness to a savoury meal. The traditional way to make them is by mixing cooked pumpkin with flour and eggs and then deep-frying them in hot oil, and dusted with cinnamon sugar, or even sometimes soaked in a caramel sauce (and no, they are not served as dessert).

After my return to the UK, I was still craving those “pampoen koekies” and decided to make my own ‘healthy’ version without wheat flour. These resembled little pancakes rather than the clumpy, crispy traditional version, but they were satisfying and very tasty nonetheless. I reckon they would be fab for breakfast too!

Pumpkin Fritters (Pampoen Koekies)

  • 1.5 Cups Cooked pumpkin/squash (I steamed mine)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons Almond flour/ground almonds
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Tapioca flour/gluten-free flour mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons coconut oil/ghee
To dust
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut sugar, Xylitol, or honey

Add the cooked pumpkin, almond flour, tapioca flour, bicarbonate of soda and sea salt to a blender and blend, or mix together with a whisk until smooth. Using a heavy based frying pan, add a teaspoon of oil, heating the pan over a medium heat. Use a ladle to add small amounts of batter to the frying pan, you should be able to make three fritters in one go in a medium frying pan. When the batter starts to bubble and you can see the edges turning brown, flip them over and cook for a couple more minutes until both sides are golden brown. Add more oil before frying the next batch.

If using a granular sugar substitute such as palm sugar or xylitol, mix it together with the cinnamon and dust the fritters with it. Alternately, you can drizzle the fritters with honey and dust with cinnamon.

Banjo enjoyed a couple of these fritters too. Just remember that if you ever use Xylitol, it is extremely poisonous to dogs, so never let them share any xylitol treats with you.

Hanri and Banjo xx