Recipes of Crete and Greece:
Kolokithokeftedes (Courgette- or Zucchini-Balls)
It was an easy, yet impressive choice to make. Kolokithokeftedes are
fried patties of mashed courgettes or zucchini (kolokithia), other
vegetables depending on preference, flour and egg to stick the
mix together. The keftedes, or "fried balls" as we try
not to say in Crete, are made with a variety of ingredients, are
usually utterly delicious, and take only about 20 minutes from
start to finish. They are served as a meze, and are best eaten
hot. Bite through a slightly crisp, brown outer coat and discover
the meltingly soft, light yet sticky, interior. You love them.
We love them too, so here is the recipe, courtesy of Dimitris
a favourite host in Heraklion.
This recipe serves who knows how many. It depends what else you
put on the table. But it’s going to give you about twelve
keftedes that are about the size of a decent burger, or bifteki.
5 Courgettes, reasonably large.
1 big tomato
1 medium onion
1 potato, again medium sized
1 large carrot
1 teacup breadcrumbs, finely ground
1 teacup flour
1 egg (getting tired of these 1’s yet?)
A generous chunk of feta cheese
Parsley, fresh and chopped, salt and pepper. Don’t forget
that the feta is salty too.
Paprika is a good addition if you like a little spice
Wash and peel the vegetables, leave skin on the tomato, as it
will be grated.
Grate the courgettes, tomato, onion and carrot into a colander
that is standing inside a large mixing bowl. This allows excess
water to drain away. Crumble the feta cheese into the mix.
to work the ingredients together by hand, carefully, not to lose
any over the sides of the collander. Once done, lift out the colander,
empty the bowl of liquid and transfer the contents of colander
to bowl. Now break the egg into the bowl and add the feta, chopped
herbs and salt and pepper. Easy on the salt, the feta is quite
salty. Continue to massage the mix between fingers after adding
breadcrumbs and, more slowly, flour. Turmeric will be added at
I love this part, as rough shavings of vegetable matter turn soft
beneath and between fingers. The small chunks of feta, flour and
breadcrumbs will begin to melt and blend into the liquid, creating
a smooth texture. Add a little flour if necessary, but by now you
should have a smooth, but not runny, consistency.
After this, the mix is helped by being allowed to stand in the
fridge for an hour, before frying in olive oil. After standing,
the mix will ‘leak’ water, so add a bit more flower
to return to correct consistency. Scoop out patties with a spoon,
and make patties on a floured surface. The level of olive oil in
the frying pan should cover half the pattie. Fry in olive oil that
is bubbling but not too fiercely, as for fried potatoes. Turn the
keftedes once, browning both sides. Finish by placing the kolokithokeftedes
on absorbent paper for a minute, then serve with a little yoghurt
on the side and maybe a sprig of parsley.
Louis and Yannis
NOTE: This recipe has been offered by Dimitris Kayabis, owner of a cafe-ouzerie taverna in Heraklion.