Deep-fried Citrus Slices

Deep-fried Citrus Slices

Mowie Kay

The idea for these comes from one of my favourite cookbooks, The Zuni Café Cookbook by the late Judy Rodgers. They are so unexpectedly moreish that there is a fine argument for eating them on their own, with just a sprinkle of salt – do try them that way at least once. But there are other things that do enhance the flavour. Lemon is good with a fine sprinkling of sumac or fennel pollen, lime loves a dash of smoked chilli or cayenne, whilst orange I like with herbes de Provence or za’atar.

I don’t always bother with an accompaniment for these, but when I do, I make this yogurt dip. You can replace the fennel with any of the flavour suggestions mentioned above, or indeed anything else you fancy.


Quantity Ingredient
2-3 citrus fruits, (a variety is good)
100ml buttermilk
75g plain flour
25g semolina or fine cornmeal
a neutral-tasting oil, such as groundnut or sunflower, for deep-frying

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
pinch smoked chilli, (for lime slices)
or pinch hot smoked paprika, (for lime slices)
pinch herbes de provence
or pinch za’atar, (for orange slices)
pinch fennel pollen, (for lemon slices)
or pinch sumac, (for lemon slices)

For the yogurt dip (optional)

Quantity Ingredient
250ml greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
A pinch sugar
a squeeze lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. If serving with the dip, make this first – simply mix everything together and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Top and tail the citrus fruit to the point where you get a good showing of flesh as opposed to pith and skin. Slice the fruit as finely as possible while keeping each slice intact, removing any pips.
  3. Put the buttermilk in a bowl. Put the flour and semolina onto a plate and season with salt and pepper, then whisk briefly to combine and get rid of any lumps.
  4. Dip the citrus slices in the buttermilk and shake or lightly scrape them to get rid of any excess. Drop the slices onto the flour mixture and give the plate a little shake. Flip over and repeat. Dust off any excess – you don’t want a thick coating as you want to see the detail from the citrus through the batter.
  5. Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a heavy-based saucepan or fryer to about 180°C. Fry the slices a few at a time – when they start to go golden brown remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with kitchen paper. The slices will continue to brown once they are removed and will be nicely caramelised in patches.
  6. Sprinkle with salt, then the corresponding spices and/or herbs for each fruit and serve with yogurt dip, if you like.
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