Monday, July 28, 2008

Squash Blossoms and Basil Pakoras

One underwhelmed, and the other was a joyous discovery

Squash Blossoms

I don't always buy ingredients because I need to. Sometimes I buy something because I have seen it around for so long that my interest in it has been intrigued, sometimes because it is a hot trendy favorite, and sometimes because it looks too darned pretty to ignore.

With squash blossoms it was all of the above, and I had to finally give in and try them out at least once, so I bought a box without any specific ideas or recipes in mind. As I had known, I found that the most popular way to consume these was to stuff them with cheese and fry them in a flour batter. Naturally, I wanted to put an Indian twist on it, and also skip the cheese.

I made a loose batter with besan, water, salt, pinch of chili powder, and a pinch of ajwain (owa seeds). I intentionally kept the batter neither too thick nor too spicy so that I could discern the flavor and taste of the flowers. Dipped each flower gently into the batter, shook off the excess and deep fried in oil.

After the entire batch of flowers had been fried up, I had a little more batter left so I dipped in some large basil leaves that had been bought on the same day and were very fresh and firm, and fried those too. These little critters were a surprising joy to behold, as they turned into crisp and crackling morsels in the batter.

Squash Blossom Fritters / Pakoras / Bhajias

There is not much to complain about deep fried anything most of the time, but I was not too taken by the flowers this time, although I loved the batter fried basil! Still, I thought I would post this. For those fascinated by the idea of eating flowers, or for those who like squash blossoms otherwise, this might help. Plus, it is just so right to send to Rachna for JFI: Flower Power as well as to Rushina for her Pakora Contest.

23 comments:

Mints! said...

Neat pictures! and interesting finds. I remember my grandma saying something about the squash blossom bhaji. Not sure I have ever tasted it. Basil Pakora sounds very interesting.
Not sure if I will deep fry anything soon but will try to get these flowers once from farmers market :)

Priyanka said...

i must say you are adventurous ET...where did you find the squash blossoms? i remember my aaji making bhajjis out of whatever she could lay her hands on....poi, ovyachi paan.etc.

Cinnamon said...

That is an interesting choice for bhajjis :-) Nice pics..

ms said...

Ive wanted to make italian style squash blossom fritters for the longest time, yours look really tempting. Fried basil sounds really good too!

Poonam said...

Wowww...Totally unique pakoda huuh..

Richa said...

crunchy basil pakoda sounds yumm :) i had lot of Z blossoms last yr in my garden, but for whatever reason just could not get to cook them.

Shreya said...

innovative!! really nice entry to both the events, and great thinking :-)

Vanamala said...

sounds g8t never heard this b4 ....nice recipe

Cham said...

The squash blossom deep fried very neat idea :)

sra said...

They're such beauties! I've come to the conclusion after much trying and tasting that batter-fried greens' (or delicate stuff, like flowers)individual taste doesn't come through, it's the crispness that's appealing.

evolvingtastes said...

Mints, I am sure various squash flowers of it is used quite a bit in Indian cuisine too. Whole basil leaves fry up amazingly well!

Priyanka, my adventures also sometimes end up in flops :-). I bought these from the farmers market. Mmm, ovyaachyaa paanaachi bhaji are so delicious!!

Cinnamon, Poonam, Vanamala, Cham, thanks.

ms, they are quite easy to make.

Richa, I too couldn't get myself to cook the flowers, but I gave in this time. Edible flowers in salad are also not my thing.

Shreya, thanks, and welcome to my blog.

sra, have you tried whole spinach leaves bhajias? That crackly texture inside the besan coating is soooo good.

Mints! said...

i have tagged you! check my blog ;)

Vaishali said...

They look deliciously crispy. I must confess I've never cooked with flowers before, but I guess I need to start now that I see such delicious recipes incorporating flowers.

Kate / Kajal said...

i've never had zucchini flowers before, and the wonderful pictures on your blog are tempting me so much.

Cynthia said...

These little critters were a surprising joy to behold, as they turned into crisp and crackling morsels in the batter. - makes me want to have some right now.

We don't get squash blossoms in these parts.

Miri said...

I have a major handicap - my hand is unable to pour oil into a ladai for deep frying - so have bookmarked this (for the basil, since I havent heard of squash flowers here) and when my Mom or MIL are in sight, will ask them to make this :)

Suganya said...

I never had a chance to taste squash blossoms. Isn't deep frying too harsh for those delicate petals? I have seen rice stuffed blossoms in a tomato broth. That might impress you.

Shantanu said...

How interesting! Haven't seen these pakoras since childhood days when we picked them from our own garden. Such luxurious are, of course, rare in urban India now. :(

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

dear evolving taste
first of all thank you for your comment..now i have completed the post.well i love this recipe and sometimes i also make them for pumpkin flowers but batter fried basil sound very interesting !

प्रिया said...

Long time no post... How have you been? :)

Sunshinemom said...

Very interesting! Who new squash blossoms could be used this way - I didn't know they were edible!

Aparna said...

I have heard my father tell stories of his neighbours, in Kerala, making a sabzi out of these flowers.
These fritters look very crisp and attractive, almost like stuffed green chilly fritters.

Dershana said...

Hi, the squash bloom crispies look lovely. We, at Kerala, use pumpkin flowers in our cuisine but don't deep fry them. The intense heat supresses the delicate flavour of the flowers, maybe that's why you din't find them appealing.

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