Sunday, December 03, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging #61

Weekend Herb Blogging is back home with Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen this week.

There's been a few sources of inspiration guiding me this week as I ponder the humble Cauliflower.

cauliflower © haalo

Cauliflower is part of the Brassica family and like many of it's relatives, it's unloved by some. Personally, I don't understand the hatred of the vegetable, perhaps the real villain is the way people have cooked it or overcooked it. On a side note if you google America's most hated vegetable the top pick is Kevin Federline. Is there a none too subtle message there?

Time to return to the more useful vegetable at hand.

Cauliflower contains Vitamin C and Folate and two disease fighters, indole-3-carbinol or I3C and Sulforaphane. In combination I3C and Sulforaphane are thought to lower the growth of tumours and stop their formation. Sulforaphane flushes cell damaging toxins from the system and I3C as it's an anti-estrogen, deprives tumours of the estrogen they need to grow.

When choosing Cauliflowers always go for the whitest ones - they should feel weighty and the florets should be tightly budded. If you see any brown spots appearing or it, or it looks more cream than white or it feels soft and flabby, pass it by - there's not much life left in the old thing.

For the recipe I've gone for another Indian inspired dish that's a perfect start to a meal. Along with Onion Bhajis, Cauliflower Pakoras are usually found nearby.

cauliflower pakoras

Cauliflower Pakoras
[Makes a lot]

1 Cauliflower, cut into small florets
¾ cup besan flour
¼ cup rice flour
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon Asafoetida powder
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
1 cup water, approximately

There's no need to par-boil the cauliflower - it will cook during the deep frying process. When cutting, first separate the large florets from the stem, then cut them into smaller bite-sized pieces following the individual branch structure.

Make the batter:

Sift the besan flour, rice flour and spices into a bowl. I find the rice flour gives an extra crispy result but if you like you can use just besan flour. Stir well to ensure an even distribution.

Stir in the water - you want the batter to look like thick cream. For this mixture I used 1½ cups but it will vary as all flours react differently.

Place a few florets into the batter and as you remove them, shake any excess batter from them - you just want a light covering.

The oil should be around 150°C/300°F. Gently place the pakora into the hot oil, they should start to sizzle straight away, then turn the temperature down a little to allow the cauliflower to cook without the batter burning. When golden (about 1 - 2 minutes), remove onto paper towels to drain.

Repeat the process until all the pakora are cooked.

Serve straight away while still hot - mint raita makes an excellent partner.

cauliflower pakoras ©


  1. Haalo, this looks so tasty. Great recipe. Thank you!

  2. Yum, yum. That's all I can say, this looks so delicious. Really an interesting way to prepare cauliflower. I've never understood why some people don't like it.

  3. Haalo, lovely recipe for a humble yet delis cauliflower! :)

  4. Thanks Burcu!

    Thanks Kalyn - i really don't understand it either, I think it's like brussels and broccoli, they are overcooked.

    Thanks WP - it's a great veg!

  5. What a wonderful approach to cauliflower-need more recipes for this veggie!

  6. Haalo, cauliflower is a delicious vegetable. I don't know why people don't like it! lol

    This recipe calls for some friends, a sunny day and very cold beer! :D

  7. mmmmmm....those look delicious. That's the way I make mine too!

  8. Thanks Jann!

    Hi Patricia - This certainly is meant to be shared and your idea sounds perfect!

    Thanks Nabeela - I took your advice and left out the egg, I'll do the same next time I make the onion bhaji.

  9. Try this batter with thinly sliced aubergine, red pumpkin, potatoes. I omit the garam masala powder. One or two teaspoons hot oil added to the batter makes them crispy also. Sweet red pumpkin fritters are my favourite.

  10. Thanks Chandrima for the advice.

  11. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    If you like this try something called "gobi manscurian"! also another indian recipe it is sooo good. My mom makes it and it is soo good!!

  12. HMMMYYUMMY! This is the dish I will order everytime I visit Muthu's Curry at Little India here in Singapore. Now, I can do at home each time I have a craving for you. Thanks! (",)

  13. Thanks Jade - hope you have fun making it!


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