At Juju in Durham, North Carolina, you’ll find Executive Chef Kaci Walker serving up Asian tapas with bold flavors and personality. This 23-year-old chef prepares each dish from the heart with attention to tradition, whimsy, local integrity and deliciousness. Some standout dishes at Juju include the charred octopus, Thai coconut soup and brown butter pot de creme, amongst others.
Chef Kaci has been working in the food industry for over 6 years and studied in the culinary program at the Art Institute in Durham. Her love affair with food began at a young age, and she recalls cooking with her dad and enjoying family meals each evening at 7:30pm on the dot.
Chef Kaci loves calling Durham her home because it’s so welcoming and accepting of everyone and everything. Her grandmother suffered from melanoma, so our cause really hits home for her, and she’s looking forward to giving back to her community at our Taste For a Cure Chef’s Gala. Make plans to attend on April 30, 2017 to taste some of her creative and delicious food. In the meantime, try Chef Kaci’s recipe at home for Curry Coconut Sweet Potato Fritters. If you’re feeling lazy, she recommends using frozen sweet potato fries in place of the sweet potatoes. Just allow them to thaw before adding them to the batter.
Curry Coconut Sweet Potato Fritters
Recipe by Chef Kaci Walker, Executive Chef at Juju
2.5 lbs sweet potatoes
2 cups rice flour
1 can coconut milk
2 tbs curry powder
1 tbs honey or agave, optional
Oil, vegetable or canola
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel potatoes, chop into one inch pieces. Toss with 2 tbs oil and 2 tsp salt.
Arrange potatoes on a sheet pan and roast for about 25 minutes. They should be tender, but hold their shape. Allow potatoes to cool to room temperature. (This step can be done a day ahead of time.)
While potatoes are roasting, combine rice flour, coconut milk, curry powder, honey and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Fold cooled potatoes into the batter.
If you have a deep fryer, set it to 325 degrees F. If not, a pot and a thermometer will work. Or you can pan fry the fritters.
Using a 1 oz scoop, or a spoon, drop batter into the hot oil. The fritters should be about the size of golf balls. (Any bigger and the outsides burn before the middle is cooked.)
Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Remove fritters from oil with a slotted spoon. Drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
Serve immediately with Vegan Nouc Cham.
Vegan Nouc Cham
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tbs lime juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup soy sauce, low sodium or gluten free
1 1/2 tbs garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbs jalapeño or pickled Thai chili, minced
Dissolve sugar in warm water. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.