The local farmer’s market yielded a carton of fresh squash blossoms this weekend (community is still under cautionary shelter-in-place). Baked Fiore di Zucchini stuffed with ricotta over tomato coulis, is one of my favorites in most Italian Bistros. The creaminess of the cheese with the sweetness of the tomatoes never fails to seduce me. I was tempted; but I dove into my childhood instead. My mother’s très fin squash blossoms.
I have adapted her formula. I mix in the South with the East (apropos India) for a bold, assertive version. Enjoy!
- 16 squash blossoms
- Rice Batter:
- 1 cup brown rice soaked in plenty of water for 1 hour
- Flavoring: 1 Thai red chilli + 1 tsp whole cumin seeds + 1/2 cup loosely packed curry leaves (approx. 10-12 stems) + garlic salt to taste
- oil for shallow frying
In a blender, blend the soaked rice (with no water) and the flavoring ingredients till mixed into a non-grainy paste. Clean, wash and shake-dry the blossoms.
Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Generously, douse each blossom in the rice batter and place on the skillet. After 2-3 minutes, flip each blossom and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.
NOTES, HINTS, TIPS:
- Most Indian grocery stores have curry leaves in the refrigerator section, in case you are not one of those lucky ones with a curry plant in your backyard 😉
- For an even more flavorful version, you may lightly saute the curry leaves in a little oil, to bring out the heady aroma of the leaves, before throwing into the blender.
- Curry leaves, the strongly aromatic greens, is the South-Indian component I mention. It also turns the batter an attractive tender green color.
- How long should the rice soak? Follow the bite-test.
- The blossoms went well with horseradish sauce, but feel free to use any sauce or chutney of your liking. A purist like me enjoys it without any!
- I used brown Jasmati rice, since that was the most accessible from the pantry. Any type of rice would work. This is a very forgiving recipe.
- Instead of using spices, I use garlic-salt (my mother may frown at this since garlic is not the traditional allium for the blossoms).
Latke with Leftover Rice Batter. Grate one large potato (no need to peel) and soak in plenty cold water. Squeeze excess water and mix with the rice batter. Adjust seasonings. Make latkes as usual. Unusual, but very delicious!