Cauliflower Fritters (Gobi Pakora)

Cauliflower Fritters (Gobi Pakora) Recipe

I still had a lot of cauliflower left after making a healthy chou fleur vinaigrette, so I finished the remaining head of cauliflower in a slightly less healthy way. These Indian cauliflower  fritters take no time to prepare and no resting time is required.  The batter is made from besan (garbanzo flour) mixed with lots of Indian spices. The rest really comes down to what vegetables are available in the refrigerator. 

Pakora are my go-to snack food whenever we have last minute guests. Fried food is always a crowd pleaser in my house!

Ingredients

Yields: about 16 appetizers

1 whole cauliflower
juice of a lemon
½ cup chickpea flour
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red chili powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 quart peanut oil (or regular vegetable oil), for deep frying, as needed
1 cup fruity chutney


Directions

Prepping the cauliflower: To cut the head of the cauliflower into florets, remove and discard the stem and the green leaves. Cut into wedges from the bottom. Pull and separate the large florets manually. Place the florets in a bowl, cover them with water and add the juice of half the lemon (to prevent oxidation). Stir well. Soak for 5 minutes, drain and pat dry.

For the pakora batter: In a mixing bowl, stir together the chickpea flour, baking powder, chili, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, curry leaf (if used) and salt. Add a little cold water to the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated. It should have the consistency of pancake batter.

Assembly time:

Layer a cooling rack lined with paper towels, on top of a baking sheet (for easy clean-up of the drained oil).

In a large Dutch oven (or any regular deep-fryer), heat the oil for about 2 minutes over high heat. There should be at least a 2-inch-high level of oil. Wait until the oil is slightly bubbly (not too hot).

Test the oil by dropping a teaspoon of pakora batter into the hot oil. It should float but not swell.

Using a fork, pick up one large floret. Dip the cauliflower into the pakora batter to coat completely. Allow the excess batter to drip back into the pakora batter bowl. Drizzle an additional teaspoon of pakora batter over the cauliflower piece to ensure that it adheres well to it and place in the hot oil. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the fritters.

Place the pakora one at a time in the hot oil; cook up to 5 pakora per batch.

Fry in batches. Make sure the cauliflower fritters don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes per batch. The fritters will start to pop and increase in volume. Use a splatter screen to prevent the oil from jumping everywhere. Flip each piece using a spider skimmer and cook for about a minute more until golden on both sides.

Delicately lift each fritter, draining as much oil as possible and transfer them to the cooling rack. Continue with the rest of the florets.

Serve immediately with various chutneys on the side such as spicy cherry chutney (pictured).

Bon appétit!


Tips

Add a small amount of turmeric powder so as not to alter the flavor of the batter. It's used as a natural food coloring to make the cauliflower fritters look more vibrant.

Chickpea flour is common in savory dishes in Indian cuisine and is the main ingredient in paratha, a flat Indian bread.

For optimum results when heating the frying oil, the thermometer should register 345°F to 360°F. Heat the oil over medium to high heat (for a nice golden color).

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 17, 2012.


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