You don’t essentially have to drive to a farm on a countryside stretch to feel a pang of nostalgia rising like a gurgling brook – for the squashes and pumpkins back at home, their yellow, pollen-cored flowers and the fine taste of the sides and fries made with them, on your tongue. Just a visit to the local Mariano’s or farmers’ market will do. The blossoms of any of the summer or winter squash varieties, including zuchini, are not just easy on the eyes, they are rich in beta carotene and Vitamin C, and are made of the alluring stuff in poems that bring instant happiness, describing seas of yellow pimpernel or daffodils swaying in a gentle breeze. Imagine the rapture then that happening upon a bunch of them in a basket at our local market brought to us. We bagged a few and rushed back home, cleaned and prepped up the beauties, fried them to a crisp and crunchy finish and couldn’t care less about the burn-bites on our tongues while we endeavored to devour them as soon as they were done.
Zuchini Flower Fritters
- ¾ Cup chickpea flour/ besan
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 Teaspoon cayenne/ red chilli powder (or according to preference)
- ¾ Teaspoon salt
- About ½ cup cold water
- Oil for deep frying
- 8 Zuchini flowers, washed and cleaned
Mix the chickpea flour, poppy seeds, cayenne/chilli and salt together with a fork, and slowly add water to make a batter, whisking with rapid hand movements to avoid clumps.
Heat oil in a kadhai/pan and once the oil is ready – test by dropping in a glob of batter and watch for bubbles to form around it – dip the zuchini flowers one at a time in the batter, and gently slide into the oil. Fry until brown on each side and drain excess oil by placing the fritters on a paper towel. Serve hot with green chutney or ketchup.