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Unusual Fried Food - Idea Needed

Every year for TG I try to add an unusual fried food as an appetizer. Hell, the turkey's frying and there is usually a little room left.

In the past I've done Fried Mac & Cheese, Fried Bugs, Fried bacon wrapped shrimp (Big Hit) and I want to do something new & different this year. Considered Fried Bacon, won't consider Fried Sweet Stuff, no Twinkies, Oreo's, etc.

So, if anyone has any ideas, they would be appreciated.

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  1. If you can lay your hands on a venison tenerloin, there's nothing finer than chicken fried deer.

    6 Replies
    1. re: James Cristinian

      Thanks James.
      I would prefer something along the lines of an Appetizer. Although I do like making Steak fingers with Venison.

      Saw a recipe for Fried Avacado, to bad I can't find a way to take out the seed, leaving a hollow core that could be stuffed with shrimp or bacon! Houston restaurant serves battered Avacado with meat and cheese, guess they put the halves back to gether somehow.

      1. re: Porscheboy

        I was watching Big Daddy on the Food Network and he did a tempura fried green bean. I think he blanched it first, but I wasn't really paying close attention.

        Big Daddy's
        6001 N Main St, Fort Worth, TX 76179

        1. re: James Cristinian

          I was going to suggest the same thing. The Neely's did a fried green bean also, but regular flour & seasonings then fry...they didn't blanch though. Another thing I tried was a tempura seedless red grape. Wow, that was good!

          1. re: Cherylptw

            Tempura green beans are the best thing on the menu at P.F. Chang's, imo. Yum.

            1. re: Cherylptw

              I watched the same program and I noticed that when Gina bit into the bean it had quite a bit of tooth to it, meaning it was uncooked. I agree, blanch the beans then fry. Or asparagus with a crucnhy light tempura batter and a dipping sauce. Yum.

              Also another favorite is shrimp toasts.

          2. re: Porscheboy

            You can also make avocado fries. They are a beautiful thing.


        2. The Texas State Fair here in Dallas is infamous for its fried foods. Last year's hit was chicken fried bacon. This year Fried Butter got all of the applause and was misrepresented as "new." Then I found a recipe for fried butter in my Larousse Gastronomique, so it was more a case of "everything old is new again."

          You might also think about Chicken Fried Pizza; a large fully loaded whole pizza cut into bite size pieces, then dipped in batter, breaded and deep fried. Chicken fried pitted kalamata olives might also be interesting. Or maybe tempura pot stickers for something more exotic?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caroline1

            I was just about to suggest the same, Caroline!

            Here is a like to some fried foods used at the Texas State Fair:

          2. If the bacon-wrapped shrimp were a big hit, why not do 'em over again!

            Here's another recipe involving shrimp:


            One of my Hong-Kong style dim sum favorites is balls of chunky shrimp paste, wrapped in bacon, dusted with flour and deep-fried. You can use the shrimp paste in the recipe above, bound with just a little bit of corn starch (1/2 tsp) to make the balls.

            Good luck on your fried-food adventure!

            3 Replies
            1. re: shaogo

              For these concoctions, I am assuming the shrimp you use are raw?

              1. re: Sharuf

                Yes. Shrimp paste/shrimp balls/har gow filling are all made using raw shrimp.

                Your fish market may be able to get you shrimp "pieces," the shrimp that get broken in processing. Pulse that just right in the food processor, and you're on your way to a wonderfully-textured shrimp paste.

              2. re: shaogo

                The Burgerville Drive-ins - a local (excellent) chain in the Northwest - used to serve shrimp burgers. I still crave them, but they haven't had them on the menu in a long, long time. I've never seen a recipe for such a thing, but I imagine they were made using a shrimp paste binding together shrimp chunks and then deep-frying the patty.


              3. I had fried alligator nuggets a few weeks ago. I wouldn't lie awake pining for it, but it wasn't bad.

                1. WOW! What a great batch of suggestions. Previously looked at the Fried Pizza, picture showed whole slice and that's to much, but bite size is great idea. The fried Green beans is something I'm deffinately going to try on my own. Like the Fried Potstickers idea as well. Fried Alligator balls and fried boudin balls are staples in La, so not different for us.

                  Fellow foodie told me that he saw Fried Ravioli idea on TV and now I have recipie from Food Network, so believe that's my TG idea. Will use comercial Ravioli.

                  The bacon wrapped shrimp were prepared with raw bacon and raw shrimp, then marinated in Mango Juice and hot sauce. Then just before frying were sprinkled with Tony's Cajun spices. Was great hit, but like to do different every year and leave them talking about how good the _______ was in past years. By the way, the fried bugs was a hit with the kids, adults less so.

                  Keep the ideas coming.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Porscheboy

                    You got kids to eat fried bugs willingly? Kudos to you! LOL.

                  2. We had a fried foods cook-off a while back. The clear winner in practically every category, taste, invention, etc., was fried pickled ginger. The fellow took a good quality pickled ginger and then dipped each piece in batter and then into the deep fryer. If you think about it, that little strip of ginger packs a big flavor wallop. It easily stood up to the flavors of the crispy, crunchy coating. An inspired and remarkable and tasty combination.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jaymes

                      Oh my god, I love you. This sounds awesome. I'm absolutely stealing this idea.

                      We did a fry party this summer and mac-n-cheese balls were the best followed by fried blue cheese mashed potatoes. Yummmm. I realize that probably wouldn't work since you'll already have potatoes, but they were gooood.

                    2. Fried pickles, not whole but the slices of pickles. Corn meal dressing and then deep fried.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: roro1831

                        I love fried pickles! My fav! :) Have you tried fried ice cream yet? Maybe you can make little shots of them and fry em....?

                      2. I am sure you can find nutria in the bayous of Houston. Capture one of those and fry it up.


                        If that is not up to snuff here are some ideas from others

                        1. I was scanning through the TV Guide (Food Network) over the weekend and saw deep fried dressing/stuffing listed. Didn't watch it, so don't know if skewers were used or what; nor do I know if it was white bread or cornbread dressing.

                          1. What about Scotch Eggs? You take a hard boiled egg, cover it with ground sausage, dredge it in flour, dip it raw eggs and then breadcrumbs. To make it more unusual, you could use quail, duck, or ostrich eggs. Now that I think about it, ostrich eggs would be kind of ridiculous. Someone's tried it and included pictures. That thing is ginormous!


                            1. In a trip to NOLA last January I had some breaded, fried green peppers and they were spectacular. For such an ordinary item, they really fried up well. They were served with ranch dressing, but you could jazz the dipping sauce up even more...
                              The ones I had were cut in sections so each piece was like a little scoop bowl...perhaps you could stuff them, then bread and fry. YUM.

                                1. Make a mixture of goat cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, pickled chili and chives. Scoop out using an ice cream scoop chill, bread, then deep fry. Serve with some tomatoes and several doses of xenical.

                                  1. Fried Dill Pickles...Buy the slices....Beer batter....Deep Fry....Sprinkle on the Cayenne !!!
                                    Ranch makes a pretty good dipping sauce.........


                                    1. not unusual but good - fry thinly sliced sweet potatoes to make sweet potato chips - dust them with cajun seasoning and drizzle cajun blue cheese dressing over the chips - (I add the seasoning to bottled blue cheese dressing that I dilute with a little milk or buttermilk if I havce it). I add some blue cheese crumbles on top and some green onions if I have them

                                      1. Arancini!

                                        Chick Peas (garbanzos) - a great treat when deep fried!

                                        Polenta Squares (not very Turkey day ish tho...


                                        Mashed Potatoes

                                        1. I posed this idea for green bean tempura (a riff on green bean casserole) on another thread, but maybe it will pique your interest:

                                          How about a green bean tempura, using crispy fried onions or shallots in the coating, with a mushroom-caramelized onion dip?

                                          I'm thinking of blanching sturdy green beans (if necessary), then dipping in your fried-onion tempura batter and frying until crispy.

                                          The dipping sauce would be something like sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions with sour cream, creme fraiche, a bit of Worc. sauce, etc. Or, you could try this recipe:

                                          You could also do other traditional T-day veggies such as sweet potatoes or pumpkin wedges.

                                          1. If the bacon wrapped shrimp was good, how about a Texas Tommy:
                                            Start with a hot dog, split it open lengthwise.
                                            Cut ribbons of sliced cheese and stuff a few of these in the weiner, close weiner.
                                            Toothpick a slice of bacon at one end, wrap the weiner, hold the bacon in place with another toothpick. (ususlly takes two slices to cover the weiner).
                                            Drop in oil until bacon is crispy and cheese is oozy (when the sucker starts to float).
                                            Eat as is or in a bun, hot dog style.

                                            I will say its a bit time consuming to crank out many of these, but they are quite tasty.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: porker

                                              Take wonton or lumpia wrappers wrapped around bananas or plaintains - you can add a bit of nutella on top of the banana if you want to be truly evil. Deep fry until lightly browned, shake some confectioner sugar on top to make it pretty.

                                              1. re: IndigoOnTheGo

                                                " won't consider Fried Sweet Stuff, no Twinkies, Oreo's, etc. "

                                                1. re: IndigoOnTheGo

                                                  Nice idea I would try this..
                                                  Tony Matell

                                                2. re: porker

                                                  Your "Texas Tommy" sounds like a takeoff on a Girl Scout Cuisine classic. We scouts didn't deep fry the things, of course, we put them under the broiler IIRC.

                                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                                    Actually, I saw it on an old television food show, but maybe it had its origins with the girl scouts?

                                                3. This may sound weird but when I was in Chicago I had deep-fried battered fresh rosemary sprigs. They were mixed up in some other fried stuff but oh, they were awesome.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: MandalayVA

                                                    my best friend's younger brother always orders Parsley Tempura whenever we go for sushi...

                                                  2. On Food Network's Thanksgiving special one of the chefs did a fried stuffed stuffing. Looked like a double fried fat bomb...but sooo good.

                                                    -make smallish balls of stuffing and fry until almost cooked thru
                                                    -use a mix to make a moist stuffing
                                                    -wrap and smush the stuffing around the sausage ball

                                                    1. Guacamole! We did this with chunks of avocado battered in a tortilla-flour-milk batter with guac seasonings. Yum. Oysters also sound great.

                                                      1. chicken gizzards and chicken livers. yum

                                                        1. cooking show I watched years ago did a feature in New Orleans and showed crawfish fritters.

                                                          Equal parts by volume of diced bell peppers, celery and onion, about double by volume shelled crawfish. Flour to coat everything very well and another cup (to 2 cups for a very big batch) on top. 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup flour. Fresh ground black pepper, some garlic powder. Mix well.

                                                          Then add a very generous amount of Tabasco, then gently mixing add club soda until a thick biscuit batter forms. drop by rounded tablespoons into the fryer, serve with a spicy remoulade.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: weezycom

                                                            Forgot to say that you cut in butter into the dry ingredients, or mix with half club soda and half heavy cream. Sorry!

                                                            (quicker cheat -- Bisquik, club soda, and everything else stays the same)

                                                          2. The first thing that came to mind was "Deep Fried Deviled Eggs". As a nod to your handle, serve 'em upside-down and they'll look like little fried 911 Carreras!

                                                            1. Fried chickpeas are delicious--serve with salt and smoked paprika

                                                              1. We recently deep fried jalepenos. We removed the seeds and the rib and stuffed it with an herbed cream cheese mixture and stuck a piece of solid cheese in the very end to hold it it. I dipped it in batter then fried them. They cook in a minute and are extremely tasty as an app.

                                                                1. A blogger I read the other day had sliices of winter squash battered and fried tempura-style. That would be seasonal.

                                                                  1. Fried pork belly, shoulder and pig trotters are very addictive. The cuts are braised first to tenderize the moist inside, but after a deep fry, the outsides are crunchy and shatter addictively into a layer of pork fat and muscle. They are best paired with either a spicy chili vinegar or a hot and sweet bread sauce.

                                                                    I also saw an interesting recipe for deep-fried spinach masala a few years back. The leaves are fried until crisp and then dusted with Indian seasonings.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                      The pakora: you can deep fry pretty much any vegetable. You just make a seasoned pakora batter. You can do shredded spinach fritters, but you can also pick out fresh whole leaves, gently dip them in batter, and deep fry. This works beautifully. Imagine an emerald green, batter coated crispy spinach spade. I love Spinach pakoras. You can also stuff jalapenos or any larger long pepper with a seasoned potato filling or a paneer filling, dip in pakora batter, and deep fry. Baby eggplants are also beautiful as pakoras.

                                                                      Another fave is the totally carbolicious bread pakora. Take a piece of white bread, cut off the crusts, you can cut shapes or use a cookie cutter and do hearts, stars or whatever, then dip in pakora batter and deep fry.


                                                                      1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                        Along the desi theme of unidentified frying objects: meat chunks that have been cooked in a gravy to tenderize and give flavor, then deep fried: pakka gosht ke tikkay. You get a tender inside and a crispy browned exterior. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve with chopped chiles and cilantro and raw thinly sliced onion rings.

                                                                        1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                          Oh, lordy... If I ate pakoras until I had a massive coronary, I would die a happy, happy girl. This is a fantastic idea.

                                                                        2. re: luckyfatima

                                                                          I thought the spinach I was remembering was fried bare until they came out like chips and then tossed with seasonings, but it looks like they are more like pakora than I remember.

                                                                          1. re: JungMann

                                                                            Yes, I've seen this done with kale as well. Very yummy.

                                                                            1. re: JungMann

                                                                              I have never seen a recipe like that before. Looks really delicious.

                                                                              I usually make whole flat deep fried spinach leaves dipped in pakora batter during Ramadan. You should give that a try!

                                                                          1. Try French fry-sized slivers of Japanese eggplant (the long kind) lightly breaded. When freshly fried they are delish sprinkled with salt and a little chili pepper.

                                                                            1. Okay -- a Japanese restaurant "secret."

                                                                              "FUZZY" TEMPURA

                                                                              Make tempura batter as usual (for this particular treatment one can feel free to use a mix). Dip foods (pieces of chicken, shrimp, or vegetables) into batter, then roll the battered food in coarsely crushed dried rice noodles (the very thin kind -- like angel hair). You can find the rice noodles in a big cellophane package in the Asian foods aisle of the supermarket, or at Asian markets.

                                                                              When the rice noodle pieces hit the hot fat, they pouf! up. Foods look like they're "hairy" or "fuzzy" -- in a very attractive way.

                                                                              1. We do the same thing. Brussel sprouts are great, so are avocados. Sage leaves deep fried make a lovely addition to the turkey platter.

                                                                                1. I was just working with the 2002 Iron Chef winner from Japan, Kimio Nonaga, and he served fried kombu seasoned with salt. Simply take dry kombu, cut up into bite size pieces (we broke them with our hands but chef Nonaga said you can use scissors) and deep-fried. Healthy snack - and definitely unusual.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Yukari

                                                                                    WOW! What a great batch of suggestions. I had decided on doing fried Ravioli; buy pre-made, use buttermilk and bread crumbs, instant success. I was also contemplating the Arancini, although labor intensive as compared to the Ravioli.

                                                                                    Loved the fried hot dogs with cheese idea, thought about wrapping them in rolled out canned biscuits, but might be too filling, although could cut them in half. Remember this is just appetizers. Loved the idea of using crushed noodles to get a puffed pastry. Had to look up Kombu, but that looks great. Somewhere I have a recipe for fried Deviled Eggs, had forgotten about that. What a great batch of Ideas. Thanks to everyone for chiming in.

                                                                                    1. re: Porscheboy

                                                                                      I'm still thinking of the whole avocado route... I'm assuming youve already got an easy way of peeling it. This idea would be a kind of riff on cobb salad. What about-- slice in half and remove the seed (if you use a Florida avocado, shake it and if you can hear/feel the pit rattling around, not only is it ripe to eat, but that much easier to remove the seed). Use some sort of blue cheese mix-- maybe with green onion and sundried tomato heated in some bacon fat and crumbled bacon mixed in-- in the space left from the seed, then piece the 2 halves back together using toothpicks. Then, after reading the suggestions above, sort of truss the two halves together by weaving strips of bacon along the toothpicks, like tying up a corset. Use a tempura batter on the whole thing, or just deep fry without breading, but really, isnt everything better when its battered and deep fried??

                                                                                      I think the bacon in the seed-hole (or even is shrimp paste i sincluded) needs to be cooked as an avocado is pretty darn big and you really wouldnt expect it to get that hot all the way in there

                                                                                  2. Fried brie (with or without bacon) in wonton wrappers. Buy a seedless raspberry jam and heat in a small saucepan for a dipping sauce.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                      NO JOY IN MUDVILLE!

                                                                                      Last night I did a test run on the Fried Ravioli. While OK, it wasn't fried Mac&Cheese/Bacon. So, have gone back to the Fried Arancini idea. Watched a video and you can precook them and put them in the oven later. Hunted for the fried Deviled Egg recipie, no where to be found in my files. But, probably way to labor intensive.

                                                                                      Thanks to everybody who left a suggestion.

                                                                                    2. Of course, I am 8 months late and a dollar short, again.

                                                                                      Deanies restaurant in New Orleans serves a fried crayfish dressing ball. It is pretty much dressing like with turkey but it has crawfish added. it is then breaded and deep fried. Those things are wonderful.