Pumpkin Flower Fritters
My father-in-law goes out for his walk every morning. He always has a few anecdotes to relate to us while we are having breakfast. Sometimes it is the old fellow who sells vegetables or the contentious lady in the park. Some days he will visit the ‘Safal’ vegetable outlet on the way home and make purchases. He will then show me the fresh leafy vegetables or green beans or chillies which he had picked out with utmost care. “Only the best of the lot,” he would tell me with pride.
One morning, I entered the kitchen to find a bunch of beautiful pumpkin flowers on the kitchen slab. As a child, I used to think that only the Assamese community had these flowers for food. I realize now that the food habits of mankind around the world are not so dissimilar after all. Besides us and the Bengali community, people from as far as Italy and Turkey have been consuming these flowers since ages.
Courtesy: Google images (I forgot to click the flowers!)
I was glad to see the pumpkin flowers since we had not come across any of them in Bangalore. I don’t think South Indian cuisine includes pumpkin flowers prominently. But then I may be wrong. In fact, I do recall vaguely some Kerala recipe involving the flowers. Anyway, it had been ages since we had tasted them and I could not thank my father-in-law enough. It seems he would always pass by a patch where there were pumpkin vines with flowers growing wild but thought he would look like a thief if he flicked a few of the flowers. That day, he had gathered up courage and quickly plucked the flowers before walking briskly off the scene of ‘crime’. And now the loot was ours to enjoy!
Although the flowers can be cooked in a variety of ways, I have only tasted them as fritters. They can be treated as a side dish to a meal of rice and vegetables or as appetizers or even tea-time snacks. It hardly takes any time or ingredients to prepare these tasty fritters. Hence, I will also not take much time in giving away the recipe. I am giving rough estimates of the amount of ingredients here as it all depends upon your own measurements; how thick or thin you want the batter to be.
Pumpkin Flower Fritters
6 pumpkin flowers
1 cup besan (Gram flour)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional)
Salt to taste
Refined oil for frying
Wash the flowers carefully so that no grit or dirt remains. Keep aside.
Make a batter by mixing all the above ingredients, except oil. You can decide on the amount of water to be added in case the batter looks too thin or too thick. The batter has to be of ‘medium’ consistency – neither thick nor thin.
Dip the flowers, one by one, into the batter and deep fry them in kadai or wok. Flip them once one side is done and fry the other side till golden brown. Take care not to burn the fritters as they are very delicate. Remove and place them on paper napkins to absorb the excess oil. There, they are ready to munch away!
I had prepared rice and mattar mushroom (peas and mushroom curry) that day and these fritters were perfect accompaniments. We enjoyed the meal a lot and I wish you would do the same, too. Please feel free to add your own ingredients to the batter. And you will let me know about the recipe, won’t you?