I predict that this will become a staple of the vegan diet. I can't believe it hasn't been invented yet, it's that brilliant. I briefly tampered with the idea of pumpkin on a stick and calling it pumpdogs, but this is even better. I introduce to you: FRUMPKINS!
Here's what you need:
Oil/water/candy thermometer <-- if you plan on deep frying more than once a year, this is key. I've even found them at hardware stores for $2-3US
Fry basket (mesh strainer on a spoon) or tongs
Crapload of paper towels
Mixing bowl, measuring spoons, the usual
Crapload of oil
1/2 small pumpkin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
and now, for the secret ingredient that makes it all worth it....
1/2 cup flat beeeer! Not just any old beer. If you insist, use a vegan porter or a spicy pumpkin beer, but I found the super-dooper best flavor was au naturelle ROOT BEER, like from Jones, as a bonus, Jones gives a portion of sales from sugar-free soda to the American Diabetic Association. Ok, back to the recipe - I would imagine ginger beer would be tasty too, but then you should not use the ground ginger.
So first off, you need to glug glug glug, pour oil into the pot until it's about an inch deep. A saucepan might work, but definitely don't use a shallow pan because you don't want hot oil splashing over the sides. Put the heat at medium-low and clip the oil thermometer on the side of the pan so the tip is in the oil, but not touching the bottom. If you need, add more oil. You want it to get to the magic 365 degrees farenheit or 185 degrees celsius. If you're a dork, or poor, and don't have a thermometer, you wait until you the oil gets really shimmery and you can see it swirling. If it smokes, it's way too hot, you've ruined the molecular structure of the oil and have to start all over, so start low.
Now get to work drinking the beer because you only need 1/2 cup for the recipe and chopping up that half a pumpkin. The problem is that most pumpkin is thicker than one inch. Want you want to end up with is pieces that are 1/2-inch thin. I suggest peeling it and slicing into strips like melon wedges, then cutting into squares, triangles, whatever your little vegan heart desires, and then slicing those in half so that they're thin enough that the pumpkin will cook through when you fry the crap out of it. When finished, toss the pumpkin with the lemon juice and set aside to get juicy.
For the beer batter, mix all the dry ingredients together, then drizzle the oil on top. Measure out a half a cup of beer and if it's still fizzy and carbonated, just stir it for a few seconds to get the bubbles out. The texture should be thicker than pancake batter, and can be a little clumpy.
You can test the oil by dropping a small bit of batter in and see if it sinks and then rises while bubbly. If it looks good, get ready to cook about 4-5 frumpkins at a time. Drop them in the batter, swish 'em around until they're thickly coated, then gently place them in the oil. If it splatters like crazy, your oil's too hot, turn it down and wait - don't add more frumpkins for a few minutes - see my note about testing with a drop of batter above. Keep an eye on the little frumpkins 'cause they like to hang out in the same corner and end up stuck together. When they're a crunchy golden brown, fish 'em out with the basket or tongs, and place on paper towels on a plate. Cut the first one in half and taste to see if you need to adjust cooking time. Through intense testing, I've deduced that pieces about 2 inches square take roughly 4 minutes to cook give or take a few. Keep in mind that the frumpkins decrease the temperature of the oil, so you'll want to wait a minute between rounds to let it heat up again.
Now, whether you serve them hot as a breakfast, a dessert, or a freakishly tasty appetizer with toothpicks, you need a dipping sauce. This was not a dipping sauce contest, so I have not tried the following suggestions: molasses, thickened coconut milk, tamarind sauce, marmalade, applesauce, lemon juice & nutbutter, perhaps a tasting bar is in order. That's not a bad idea, these things taste sooo good,but if you actually have leftovers, I suggest warming them up the next day under a broiler or in a toaster oven. You will seriously eat these until you have frumpkins coming out your ears! You can thank me later - not right now, I'm busy frying up a midnight snack of rootbeer-battered FRUMPKINS!