Cauliflower fritters

I bought some spices online, and an interesting looking recipe by Susie Morrison (Gourmet Glow) was included in the box. I did not have any better ideas for dinner, so I thought: why not try this?

What a success! We’ve made several times already, and I predict there will be more repeats (if only because we’ve bought more za’atar—all these repeats depleted our stock!)

That said, the original instructions confused me a bit, and they also suggested using some ingredients I did not have at hand, so this is my own interpretation, adjusted to my own way of cooking.

Ingredients

This yields enough fritters for 4 mains (if you also eat a salad). If you don’t want that many, then use half of the ingredients. Alternatively, you could still cook the whole cauliflower, and I’ve added a note at the bottom about keeping and reheating leftovers.

  • 1 cauliflower, with its leaves if possible
  • 150g flour: plain, self raising, or gluten free alternatives like gram would work
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (omit if using self raising flour)
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 lemon (yields 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • water
  • frying oil
  • salt

For the dip:

  • 50g tahini
  • 1 tsp lime or lemon juice

Preparation

Chopping things:

  • Peel and chop the onion thinly.
  • Wash, dry and roughly chop the parsley.
  • Add both onion and parsley to a bowl for later, and cover.

To prepare the cauliflower:

  • Cut the leaves, discarding damaged ones. Wash the rest, chop finely, add to the bowl with the onion and parsley, and cover again.
  • Cut the cauliflower itself into small-ish florets. Try to keep them more or less the same size, halving bigger florets if needed, as that makes it easier to cook things consistently.
  • Give them a wash to remove any dirt or bugs.

To cook the cauliflower:

  • Bring a deep pot with water to a boil.
  • Add a tablespoon of salt.
  • Add the florets, cover with a lid, and wait until the water starts boiling again.
  • After about 4-5 minutes, try poking a floret with a fork or similar to see if it’s tender.
  • If not, wait another minute and try again (but don’t let them become TOO SOFT either—they still have to have a bit of a bite to them).

Once the florets are tender, take them out of the bowl and place on a sieve over a bowl or somewhere like that that allows them to cool down and dry.

You might need to do this in batches, depending on how big is the cauliflower and your pot. Always make sure the water is boiling when you add the florets.

To prepare the batter:

Add the flour, the baking powder (if using), and the za’atar to a big mixing bowl. Mix well to distribute the ingredients.

In a separate bowl or mixing jug, beat an egg with the lemon juice.

Add the egg mix to the bowl with flour.

Add water, starting with 100g, mix it in, and add additional water if the batter is still dry and lumpy. You want a soft, smooth and slightly sticky batter, which can wrap around the ingredients to form fritters, so it’s better to be careful when adding water.

If you add too much water, you can add some more flour to compensate, but be careful or you’ll end up with too much flour!

Once you’re happy with the consistency of the batter, add the rest: cauliflower florets and other chopped ingredients into this bowl, and mix it all really well.

Cover, and leave for 20 minutes for the flour to absorb the liquids.

Dip

In the meantime, you can prepare the dip.

Note: the original recipe suggests using lime juice, but if you don’t have a lime at hand, you can also use the juice from the other half of the lemon instead.

  • Add tahini to a bowl, add the lime or lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
  • With a spoon, slowly mix the ingredients (the tahini will be very stiff initially, so you if you’re too forceful you might spill the liquid out).
  • Once the liquid has been incorporated, add some water (1-2 tablespoons) and repeat the mixing, until you get the consistency you want. E.g. if you want to actually dip you’ll need the dip to be thicker, but if you want to pour on top, you’ll want it a bit more liquid.
  • Optional: I sometimes like to add a dash of olive oil or roasted sesame seeds to the dip too, depending on how creative I feel that day 😜
  • Cover and set aside.

Frying

Add oil to a shallow pan, and heat up until it’s ready to fry (i.e. HOT 🔥)

Take spoonfuls (or floret-fuls) of the batter, and carefully place them into the oil. Fry until golden on one side, then flip around.

Once they’re golden on both sides, take them out of the pan and onto a plate with a paper towel or similar to absorb the extra oils if you’re feeling fancy.

Cauliflower fritters, with za'atar. On a plate with a paper towel for absorbing the oil.
Cauliflower fritters, with za’atar. On a plate with a paper towel for absorbing the oil.

To serve

I like accompanying the fritters not only with the dip, but with a “salad with anything that is sitting in the fridge”. The tang and crunch can be a good contrast to the warm, addictive comfort of the fritters (and you’ll also probably come back for seconds).

If you’re feeling more adventurous maybe you could replace the dip with some mayonnaise… I haven’t tried it yet but I think it could be a good twist.

These fritters become quite soft over the days, so if you have left overs you can put them in a box, but they will not stay as crispy. If you want to reheat them, use a pan and dry-stir-fry them (as reheating them in the microwave will make them even soggier).

I wonder if this is what air-fryers are good at to—reheating fried things? A question for some other day! 😏🤔

The dip keeps well in the fridge, covered, for at least a day (I don’t think it’s ever lasted that long…)

In the meantime… ENJOY!

Cauliflower fritters, with salad and black tahini sauce
Cauliflower fritters, with salad and black tahini sauce

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