The latest season of Orange is the New Black is out! As you know, any good binge-fest requires constant, easy snacking. Lucky for you, I have plenty of options for you, including today’s recipe: Chang’s Frito Fritters.
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If you’re no stranger to this blog, you would know of my special love for this show. In fact, the very first two recipes I ever posted on here were for Red’s Borsht and Ratatouille. Later I made you think of corn in Red’s magical secret restaurant with her Corn and Leek Quiche.
Today I’m stepping out of Red’s kitchen (GASP! I KNOW!) to make up a dish by a quieter prison gourmand: Mei Chang.
Chang survives a quiet, yet satisfied existence in Lichfield Prison through resourcefulness, adaptation, and simple pleasures. She actually is a similar to Red in some respects, though quieter and far less social. Her ability to blend and deflect attention is key to the life she’s made before and during prison.
Today’s dish reflects that resourcefulness. At one point we see her smuggle peas out of the cafeteria in empty milk cartons. She then smashes up a bag of Fritos, mixes the crumbs with the peas and hot water, forms them into patties, then microwaves them into a tasty, crunchy treat.
Since you can probably figure out this recipe from that description alone, you probably don’t need my recipe, do you? Well sure, if you want only a prison order meal. I wanted to elevate it a little bit. What I had in mind for this recipe was what Chang would still probably make when she gets out of prison — same base flavor, but with a few more additions to experience her new found freedom. So first I spiced things up with some Chinese five-spice powder and fried the patties in sesame oil.
I also happened to have a blood orange in my refrigerator when I made this recipe up. I found it to be a happy coincidence. In season one, we see Chang gifting the other inmates with a bag of fresh oranges for Tricia Miller’s memorial. In season three, we also see her receiving more oranges from a friend through the hole in the prison fence. Oranges are considered symbols of good fortune in Chinese culture and are often given as gifts for the new year, or as offerings to the recently deceased. So to infuse these fritters with some fortunate flavor, I thawed the peas in blood orange juice and poured the whole lot into the mush.
And what could make this aromatic, crispy snack even better? Dipping sauce. The show shows Chang topping the fritters with a dash or hot sauce. I thought we can do a little better than that with more resources., but without sacrificing simplicity. That’s why this sauce has only two ingredients – sriracha and hoisin sauce.
So if you’re bingeing solo, here’s a handy dandy dining guide to get you through your day. Serve it on your finest foam or plasticware, and pair it with your favorite fruity hooch.
Breakfast and Second Breakfast: Red’s Corn and Leek Quiche
Elevensies, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea: Chang’s Frito Fritters
Dinner: Red’s Borsht
Supper: Red’s Ratatouille
Late Night/Early Morning Snack: Red’s Ratatouille with croutons from what’s left of Chang’s Frito Fritters.
Why don’t we get cooking?
Recipe for Chang’s Frito Fritters
Chang's Five Spice Frito Fritters
Makes 9-10 fritters
Equipment: Dishtowel, feet, mixing bowl, microwave, frying pan, stovetop, small dishes.
- 9.25 oz. bag of Fritos
- 1 cup frozen peas
- juice of one orange
- 1 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3/8 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- Pour orange juice and peas into a microwave safe container. Microwave the container 3 minutes on high, stirring halfway through cooking.
- Cut a small slit in the bag of Fritos and wrap the bag with a dish towel. Stomp on the bag for about a minute.
- Empty bag of crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in the five-spice powder. Stir in the milk, peas and orange juice, and beaten egg. Mash mix with your hands until fully incorporated and the liquid absorbed. Form the mix into 9-10 patties
- Microwave the patties 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Coat the inside of the frying pan and heat on the stovetop until the oil becomes fragrant.
- Fry the patties 2-3 minutes on each side and place on a plate with paper towels to dry.
- Mix together sriracha and hoisin sauce in a separate bowl. Divide the sauce between small dishes for dipping.
- Divide fritters among serving plates and serve with sauce dishes.