I found the most unlikely of things at Marteli’s vegetable market over the weekend. Zucchini flowers. Packed beautifully, waiting to be picked. I hadn’t heard of Zucchini flower being edible. What what caught my eye was the way they looked. Exactly like pumpkin flowers. And back home in the east of India, this is a delicacy. Usually served as a side to the main course, kumro phool bhaja or pumpkin flower fry, is a typical Bengali/Oriya preparation.
I remember during our yesteryears in Shahabad, Ma had this huge pit of vegetable compost and from that grew the most exquisite pumpkin vines! Ma just knew when to pluck a flower and when to leave it for it to develop into a pumpkin. And boy, were they big huge flawless pumpkins! I think one of the pumpkins from our backyard also competed at the local Horticultural show. I don’t think we won a prize, but ma’s compost idea was a big hit. Another one of those examples of how beautiful things grow in perfect harmony amidst dirt, rot and decay. Much like the Lotus, eh? Ma made this mostly on Sundays when the spread was huge at the lunch table. Needless to say, I never appreciated it. But as I grew and my taste in food too matured, all these ‘adult’ vegetables became part of my married life.
Anyway, so I thought , since those Zucchini flowers looked like first cousins of Kumro Phool, they wouldn’t be very different in taste. I got to work the moment I got back.
Wash, clean and take off the baby Zucchini from the flower. Also take off the tube from inside it. (Absolutely clueless about what that is called. I fared miserably in Biology/botany, anyway)
5 tablespoons of gram flour/Besan
1/2 tsp of garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
a pinch of Nigella seeds (optional)
Salt to taste
Add water to the above ingredients. Enough to just about make a paste. Not too runny, not too thick. Just right to coat the delicate Zucchini flowers.
Coat the flower with this paste on both sides and pan fry/roast it . Use a non-stick pan and little oil. Serve with main course.
And I love the way Zucchini sounds. :)