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Corn fritter facts for kids

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Corn fritter
Barranquilla buñuelos de maíz.jpg
Bowl of corn fritters
Type Fritters
Course Snack
Place of origin Native American cuisine
Region or state Americas, Southeast Asia, Oceania & Isle Of Man
Created by Indigenous peoples of the Americas
Main ingredients Corn, egg, flour, milk and butter

Corn fritters are fried cakes of a dough or batter made of, or containing a featured quantity of maize (corn). Originating in Native American cuisine, they are a traditional sweet and savory snack in the Southern United States, as well as Indonesia where they are known as perkedel jagung or bakwan jagung.


Native Americans had been using ground corn (maize) as food for thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the New World. Corn-based products, such as corn flatbread, arepa and cornbread were staple foods in Pre-Columbian Americas. Native Americans did not use deep frying techniques, however, which require ample supplies of cooking oil as well as equipment in which the oil can be heated to high temperatures.

European settlers learned recipes and processes for corn dishes from Native Americans, and soon devised their own cornmeal-based variations of European breads made from grains available on that continent. The corn fritter probably was invented in the Southern United States, whose traditional cuisine contains a lot of deep fried foods, none more famous perhaps than Southern fried chicken.

On the other side of the world, maize seeds from the Americas were introduced into Southeast Asia in the late 16th century through Spanish and Portuguese traders. The plant thrived in the tropical climate of Indonesia, and soon became a staple food plant in drier areas of central and southeastern Indonesia, since it requires much less water than wet rice. Coconut and palm oil have been essential elements of Indonesian cuisine for centuries. The deep fried technique using palm oil was probably borrowed from Portuguese colonists; and Indonesia has its own type of corn fritter, called perkedel jagung or bakwan jagung.

Sigh and Elaine Bell Catering Pop-Up, Sonoma, California 03
Corn fritters at an event in Sonoma, California


Southern United States

Traditional corn fritters in the American South use corn kernels, egg, flour, milk, and melted butter. They can be deep fried, shallow fried, baked, and may be served with jam, fruit, honey, or cream. They may also be made with creamed corn, baked, and served with maple syrup. Corn fritters can be made to have a similar appearance to, and thus be mistaken for, johnnycake.


Perkedel Jagung Jakarta
Bakwan jagung, Indonesian corn fritters

Indonesian corn fritters, a type of gorengan, are not sweet but savoury. They have a more granulated texture, as the corn kernels are not finely ground and blended into the dough, so they retain their kernel shapes. The fritter is made from fresh corn kernels, wheat flour, rice flour, celery, scallion, eggs, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper, and deep fried in coconut oil. They are a popular snack and are often served as an appetizer.

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