Written by Berfu Durantas-Masters
Mucver (Turkish zucchini fritters) aren’t just a popular traditional dish—they’re a gateway food for picky American eaters.
One of the earliest conversations between my husband and I during our days of courtship was about food. He is half English-Irish and half Greek, and it was this morsel of Mediterranean blood that gave me hope that he would revel in my olive oil-based Turkish cooking.
Our short food conversation ended with me asking alarmingly, “What do you mean you don’t like fried fish or olive oil? You’re half Greek, for God’s sake!” And so our culinary adventure began.
My husband likes store-bought salad dressing, Hot Pockets, frozen pizza (frozen anything, really), Eggos, and American cheese. Basically his palate craves chemicals and freezer burn.
This is a far cry from the fresh foods and everything made from scratch mentality that I grew up with.
So as our wedding day quickly approached, the questions arose as to how I would feed the 6-foot-3 love of my life. How could I possibly get him to let go of the butter and dip his bread into olive oil instead? Would he ever eat a salad without ready-made blue cheese dressing? Would he ever like vegetables?
Since I couldn’t regress from eating well, it was apparent that I needed to change his palate, slowly and cleverly.
So because I figured he would eat anything fried (well, maybe not fish), one of the first dishes I made was mucver, Turkish zucchini fritters.
This is a very versatile dish; you can add shredded carrots, potatoes, and/or onions to your fritter batter if you, unlike John, enjoy more than one vegetable.
Just use the base recipe below and make sure you have 1 pound total of shredded vegetables to mix with the batter ingredients.
These fritters can be dipped in anything you choose—anything that helps your case for trying new foods, I mean. Tzatziki? Definitely! Ranch dressing? Sure! BBQ sauce?… It’s a stretch, but why not.
However, I think these zucchini fritters taste best when eaten with garlic yogurt (a clove of crushed garlic mixed and chilled with a a cup of yogurt).
Husband’s verdict: mucver was a miracle! He couldn’t believe zucchini could taste so good, and even ate the yogurt! So far, so good. Now, what green thing can I convince him to eat next?…
Watch the video and get the recipe below for Turkish zucchini fritters, AKA mucver.
- 1 pound shredded zucchini, from about 2 medium-large zucchini
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces; 57 grams) finely crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
- 1-2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons (30 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
- In a large bowl, stir the shredded zucchini with the feta cheese, dill, mint, salt and pepper.
- Stir in 1 beaten egg. Depending on how watery your shredded zucchini is, the egg may not fully coat the mixture. If needed, beat and stir in 1 more large egg.
- Stir in 4 tablespoons flour. If there is still liquid remaining in the bottom of the bowl and the batter is runny, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. You want a consistency of pancake batter loosely surrounding the strands.
- Heat 1/4 cup oil in a high-walled skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- Drop a strand of zucchini into the pan to test if the oil is sizzling. When it's ready, carefully drop large tablespoonfuls of the battered zucchini into the oil.
- Fry until golden brown edges appear around the fritter, then carefully flip to cook the other side.
- Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining batter, adding more vegetable oil as needed.
- Serve immediately.
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