Mandalay bean fritters

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These delicious Burmese bean fritters are both vegan and incredibly quick to make. Mashed kidney beans are mixed with red onion, various flours, ginger and garlic before being deep-fried until crisp.

This recipe is taken from Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen by MiMi Aye (£26, Bloomsbury). Photography by Cristian Barnett.

First published in 2019

These kidney bean fritters are ridiculously easy to make and dangerously quick to disappear. Like the majority of our fried snacks, they’re vegan, but unlike most, these are just as good reheated in a dry frying pan or in the oven. They should be soft and fluffy inside and have the thinnest, crispest shell outside. They go very well with a tamarind-based dipping sauce.




  • 400g of red kidney beans, from a tin
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp of self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp of rice flour
  • 1 tbsp of glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp of vegetable bouillon, or ideally 1/4 tsp MSG
  • groundnut oil, or another neutral-tasting oil, for deep-frying


Drain most of the liquid from the tin of beans then pour the beans and any residual sludge from the tin into a large bowl. Roughly mash the beans with a fork, then add the rest of the ingredients (apart from the oil) and mix well
Pour some oil into a large saucepan or wok until it is 5cm deep. Place over a medium-high heat until you can feel waves of heat coming off the oil with the palm of your hand
Using a tablespoon, scoop one spoonful after another of the bean mixture into the hot oil until the surface of the pan is covered – but make sure the fritters do not touch. Let them fry for 2–4 minutes, until you can see them brown around the edges, then flip and fry for another 2–4 minutes. Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon and drain on plenty of kitchen paper. Serve hot
First published in 2019

British-born to Burmese parents as a 'third culture kid', MiMi Aye has always moved between two worlds, and she has spent her whole life soaking up Burmese food, language, and culture through endless trips to see family and friends in Myanmar, as well as back in the UK.

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