It has reached the time of year that sees the end of my supply of home-grown courgettes. The three plants I sowed from seed have been growing happily, side by side, in a grow-bag, in my greenhouse over the past few weeks. The plants have given me a good, steady and tasty crop of yellow and green globe-shaped fruits. I am sad to see their demise.
To use up the last of the crop, this week’s recipe is for a mildly spiced, Indian-style fritter, based on a classic takeaway favourite, the onion bhaji. The flour used is chickpea (or gram/besan) flour which very is earthy and nutty in flavour, and the flavourings used are fragrant rather than over-powering: cumin, fenugreek, black onion seeds and toasted sesame seeds. Add some minced green chilli or chopped fresh coriander for some zesty freshness if you like.
Serve the bhajis as a starter with wedges of lemon to squeeze over, some fresh coriander, and a traditional cucumber and yogurt salad.
- 190g chickpea (gram or besan) flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 200g courgette, trimmed and coarsely grated
- 1 small leek, trimmed and shredded
- 1 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp black onion seeds
- 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- Sunflower oil for deep-frying
- Fresh coriander and lemon to serve
For the cucumber salad
- 150g cucumber, trimmed and chopped
- Small bunch fresh chives, chopped
- A few sprigs fresh mint, leaves chopped
- 100g free-from coconut yogurt
- Salt to taste
- Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the courgette, leek, spices and seeds. Mix well. Put to one side. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180°C, then mix 75ml cold water into the spiced vegetables to make a thick batter. Add the water just before cooking to make sure it stays thick.
- Use 2 dessert spoons to form scoops of batter and gently drop into the oil – cook 7-8 scoops at a time for 7-8 minutes, turning in the oil, until golden and crisp. Don’t make the bhajis too big otherwise they won’t cook all the way through. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm while you prepare the other remaining batter.
- For the cucumber salad, mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.
- Serve the bhajis while they are warm, sprinkled with fresh coriander and accompanied with lemon wedges and the cucumber salad.