The most exciting part about Halloween is watching reruns of old horror and sci-fi movies on TV. I don't think my Halloween week would be complete with getting in a Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee and/or Bela Lugosi movie. Today was the perfect day to do just that, we had a much needed day of heavy rain in the Bay Area and it was definitely chilly. Snoopy and I, curled up next to each other, caught in a few movies while watching the rain fall hard outside. Of course, this called for a little movie snack and I made these bite sized parmesan and Sriracha flavored cauliflower pakoras to keep me company. (Snoopy did wear his costume this year, it's a Monkey costume that he wears for all of 1 minute or less).
Pakoras are delicious little fried trinkets of veggies wrapped in a thick chickpea flour batter. Each and every time I make them, I do something different with the batter. This version has grated parmesan and Sriracha for flavor, they go so well with the cauliflower florets which can be a little bland by themselves. Serve these guys as soon as they come out of the hot oil, because they are best eaten fresh. You could serve them with your favorite sauces, including more Sriracha or my cilantro mint chutney or sweet date and tamarind chutney.
cauliflower parmesan pakoras with sriracha
yields: about 4 servings
2 -2 1/2 lbs cauliflower
2 cups chickpea flour
1/2 cup parmesan grated
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher sea salt
1 tablespoon sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground
1 cup water (you might need a little more)
vegetable oil for frying
1. Wash the cauliflower and separate into small florets. Drain and dry excess water on a clean kitchen towel and keep aside until ready to use.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients from the chickpea flour to the water and mix until combined to form a thick batter. The batter should be thick like a pancake batter. Add a little more water (one tablespoon at a time) if it is too thick and if it is too thin you might need to add a little more flour.
3. Fold the cauliflowers florets into the batter to coat evenly. Keep aside for about 10 minutes to rest at room temperature.
4. Heat enough oil in a large wok on a medium-high flame. When the oil is hot and reaches around 355F, add one batter-coated floret to the hot oil, if it bubbles and rises to the surface the oil is hot and ready to use. Deep fry a few florets at a time in batches and cook until golden brown for about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Remove the florets with a Chinese spider or slotted spoon, drain excess oil and transfer to a plate or try lined with absorbent kitchen paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Prepare the rest of the cauliflower florets in the same manner. Serve hot with a little extra Sriracha sauce on the side .