Saturday, September 24, 2011

Romanesco Pakoras and Tamarind Chutney

Romanesco is just about the most awesome looking vegetable to date! A hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower, it can be replaced for each and prepared in a multitude of ways. These Indian vegetable fritters are a great way to be introduced to spices you might not have tried previously.
Besan is a gram flour, gluten free in nature and high in protein. Bob's Red Mill makes a great product that is easily found in natural foods stores but if you purchase it at an Indian food store you can also find asfotedia. It's not 100% necessary in these fritters but is an herb I suggest everyone try once! Raw, the smell of this perennial is incredibly  strong and quite frankly, gross. BUT once heated in oil, a wonderful flavor of onions and garlic permeates whatever you use it in.

Bright green romanesco florets dipped in a spiced pakora batter of chickpea flour, coriander and cumin. Serve with my sweet tamarind chutney, cooked until thick and perfect for dipping.

Romanesco Pakora
Safflower Oil
2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 dried garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red chile powder
2 dashes asfotedia
1 Romaneso head, cut into florets
2 tbl fresh chopped cilantro

Preheat the oil in a pot to 350.
Combine the flour with all of the spices. Add enough water to create a consistency like thick pancake batter.
Dip the romaneso florets in the batter then deep fry until golden brown.
Drain on a towel and sprinkle with salt and cilantro. Serve with tamarind chutney.

Tamarind Chutney
2-11oz cans tamarind nectar
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried coriander

Combine all of the ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Boil for 15-20 minutes until the chutney has reduced by 3/4ths and is thick and syrupy.

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