One delicious evening for dinner I was making Rogan Josh with rice and roasted cauliflower for dinner. And that alone would have been great, I mean it was, but as I was decluttering the dinner prep mess from the counter I was confronted with a large number of cauliflower leaves leftover. Typically they get thrown out but I remembered a frugal blogging friend, Penni Price at Penniless Penniless Parenting telling me she made fritters with them. And so I thought "I love pakoras" and decided to try it. Cooking is always preferable to cleaning up anyway.
Pakoras is a broad term used to describe vegetables or meat in a seasoned batter that is then deep fried. They are common in Indian, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. These curried fritters are delicious with any number of vegetables. I really enjoyed the cauliflower stems as did my husband, who hates all things cauliflower, he said the curry overpowered it. I have enjoyed them with onion and shaved carrot as well.
The coating for this is typically besan or gram flour, made from garbanzo beans. In this case since I didn't have that on hand for the last minute project corn and wheat flour worked wonderfully. I used the same technique for frying them as I do for latkes.
2 - 3 cups cauliflower stems
1/2 small onion, sliced very thin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garam marsala
1 tsp. turmeric
2 chilies, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. coriander
4 dried curry leaves, crumbled
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 c. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. flour
oil to fry
Remove the leaves from the cauliflower stems and chop finely and place in a large bowl.
Start the oil you want to fry in heating over medium heat.
Combine the cauliflower, onion, seasonings, cornstarch, and flour. Toss really well to coat. Add water, a table spoon at a time. Add just enough that it forms a thick coating around the vegetables. You do not want a thin batter.
Use a rice spoon, one just a bit larger than a regular serving spoon. I like to take a glob, about two tablespoons size and pack it in to the base. Pull any loose pieces that hand down over the sides back on top and press in the center to create a divot. The divot is important to help maintain a uniform thickness throughout. You don't want them too thick in the center and with the concave spoon, that happens.
Slide the patty in to the frying pan of pre-heated oil. Fry until golden brown on one side and then flip. If you go to flip it and the bottom doesn't feel solid or starts to bend as you flip it, that side isn't done and allow it to cook more. Also make sure your oil isn't getting too hot so that the outside cooks before the inside down. I have found when frying lots of stuff I have to turn the heat down every so slightly periodically as it retains heat.
Remove to a cooking wrap and serve with raita dipping sauce.