Friday, August 1, 2014

Cauliflower Bhajias ( Fried Cauliflower)





It is traditional in India to have a snack with the evening tea. Guess the British left behind the concept of drinking evening tea. A cup of evening tea is generally had in most Indian homes between 4 pm and 6pm. The tea is generally accompanied by some finger food or snacks, which are usually savory in nature. One such popular evening snack are Bhajias and pakoras. Bhajias can loosely be compared to the fried onion rings while pakoras are akin to the fritters that are available  in the western countries.Bhajias can be made with a lot of vegetables. The basic concept is to make a thick batter using chick-pea flour, red chilli powder, jeera or ajwain and salt. In this batter the chosen vegetable is dipped and then deep-fried. Simple right? The most commonly used vegetables for Bhajias are cauliflower, eggplant slices, potato slices, yam slices, yuca slices, jackfruit, breadfruit, bell-pepper, chilli pepper &plantains.

Today, I am sharing the recipe for the much popular cauliflower bhajias. As a rule, I don't make fried stuff. I call them indulgences, which are to be indulged in occasionally and in moderation.

Servings: 4


Ingredients:


Cauliflower: 16-20 florets from a small head of cauliflower.
Chick-pea flour( besan): 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder: 1/4 tsp( you can use lesser depending on your spice level)
Jeera ( cumin seeds, crushed) or ajwain: 1/8 tsp
Salt: to taste
Water:2 cups( for soaking) + 1/4 cup ( enough to make a thick batter)
Oil: for frying( I use coconut oil)

Method:


Boil 2 cups water with a pinch of salt . Turn off the flame, soak the cauliflower florets in this water for 5 mins. Drain and keep aside.


In a small bowl, mix together the chickpea flour, red chilli powder, jeera or ajwain, salt and water and make a thick batter that can coat the cauliflower easily and does not drip off!



Heat oil in a kadai/ frying pan to 400 deg F. You could also use a deep fryer if you have one.


Dip each cauliflower in the above batter until it is completely coated and drop it gently into the hot oil. Drop just enough florets that fit the frying pan in a single layer. 

Do not overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding results in poor quality of the end product. Fry until well done on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side on medium flame.




Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels so as to soak the excess oil.






Serve hot with some chutney/ ketchup or as is! Goes well with a cup of chai, as an appetizer or as a side-dish for lunch/dinner.

Enjoy while I take this dish to Angie's for Fiesta Friday # 27. While Angie is out on vacation, we have two very capable hostesses this time to entertain us:the Aussie duo:Dame Madge and Dame Saucy. Do join the fun!


Cooking made easy:


How can you tell if the oil is hot enough and ready for frying? One method is to see the beginning of little fumes on top of the oil. But a better way is drop a drop of batter into the oil. If the batter floats immediately to the surface, the oil is ready for frying. If the batter sinks, then the oil is not hot enough for frying. Frying in oil that is not hot enough result in soggy, oily end product. When the oil is of the right temperature, the end product is crispy without excess oil dripping from it.

Tip to healthy living:


Ajwain and jeera (cumin)are both known for their ability to prevent bloating.  Inclusion of either of these seeds aids in better digestion of the food , thereby preventing indigestion.People with regular bloating issues may benefit from drinking water that has ajwain soaked in it.
References:
http://naturalhomeremedies.co/Carom.html

Food for thought:


Every man must decide for himself whether he shall master his world it be mastered by it. James Cash Penney