Tuesday, April 13, 2010
STUFFED ZUCCHINI FLOWERS
About 10 years ago, a friend of mine told me about her excitement in finding Zucchini in one of the restaurants in Chennai. And I had no clue what a Zucchini looked like or tasted like. My first experiences with Zucchini were when I lived in the US for 2 years. My neighbour and I used to rent little plots from the university and grow vegetables in it during the summer months. I could hardly get anything out of my plot while my neighbour managed a big harvest of Zucchinis. She was using her Zucchinis in Indian-style subzis and hence I tried to use it the same way in Indian cooking according to her recommendations.
Over the years of watching a zillion shows on food and reading a few books on cooking, I have come across fried Zucchini flowers. They are meant to be a delicacy in Italy and its really hard to come across Zucchini flowers here in India, atleast for me. They looked quite delicate and I assumed that they don't travel well.
I was in Coonoor, Nilgiris, visiting an organic farm yesterday. And I could see Zucchini growing in little shrubs. When I asked my farm guide about Zucchini flowers, he wanted to know whether I wanted the male or the female flowers. I had no clue what he was talking about. The female flowers are the ones that go on to develop into Zucchinis. The male flowers just wither and fall after a while. So my son and I decided to pick only the male flowers and managed to collect about a dozen and bring it home.
Heres the recipe to what I made with the Zucchini flowers:
8 Zucchini flowers
30 gms Mozarella Cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup drinking soda
1/2 tsp oil
and oil to deep fry
Gently open out the petals of the Zucchini flowers and remove the filaments from the inside. Cut the cheese into thin slivers that'll fit into the flowers. Stuff the cheese in to the zucchini flowers and secure the petals around it. Make a batter out of the flour, salt, egg, oil and soda. Immediately dip the zucchini flowers into the batter and drop them into heated oil in a pan. Fry until golden brown and drain on absorbant paper. Serve hot.
And as you can see even my 2-year old couldn't keep his hands off it. The melted cheese, crispy batter and the delicate flower made a wonderful combination. This recipe is a must-try if you can lay your hands on fresh, organic Zucchini flowers.