Marathokeftedes, or Fennel Fritters are a local, traditional Greek vegetarian meze, where its routes goes deep in the back yard of every Chios country house. Yes, fennel, which is the key ingredient for this tasteful meze, can be found almost in every garden in Chios. Fennel which in Greek is “marathos” or “malathros” among Chians, thought to have its name originate from the famous Greek battle at Marathon against The Persians back in 490 BC. As it happens with every Greek product, there is a story behind it which varies from place to place, from storyteller to storyteller.
To delve deeper into Chios gastronomy you should start thinking as locals do. And locals are thinking for a reason to prepare marathokeftedes. Turns out to be a delightful meze for ouzo, while is not missing every single menu of Chios tavernas.
To make this recipe the traditional Greek island way, combine the fennel with some chopped onions and spring onions and fry in extra hot oil, to give it an extra layer of crispiness. The onions really make the fennel taste shine through and gives this dish its unique character.
This fennel fritter meze is best served with some fresh yogurt or tzatziki (recipe will follow) which gives this dish a nice cooling texture, without adding any additional saturated fat.
- 2 ½ cups self raising flour
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 bunch fennel, finely chopped
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- corn oil for frying
- Finely chop the onion, spring onions and fennel.
- Place into a large bowl and add the flour, along with some water and mix with a wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a thick batter. Sprinkle with salt and plenty of pepper and stir well.
- In a pan add enough oil to fry the fritters, and heat the oil into medium-high heat.
- Dip a tablespoon in some water and spoon out some of the mixture into the hot oil. Repeat this procedure until the surface of the pan is comfortably filled. You should dip the spoon in the water every time, so that the dough doesn’t stick on it. Fry the marathokeftedes until nicely colored. Place them on paper towel, to absorb the extra olive oil.
- Serve with sprigs of fennel and a dip to your taste.