The Zucchini in my garden was not at all prolific this time. A few wiggly zucchinis came as I had planted it late. In Indian weather it fruits around February to early April but if left on it still keeps flowering till this time.
The flowers get smaller and smaller as the summer heat increases.
Making fritters or Tempura with them is the easiest and the most common way to use them. I rarely make fried goodies with them as only 3-4 small ones bloom everyday. I use them for my egg scrambles sometimes. Just torn and tossed up in a egg scramble just at the time of finishing.
Last month some time I took three of these flowers (there were only three of them that day, as the previous day's flowers get shrunk and fall off) to my friend who had told me her mom used to make stuffed fritters with pumpkin flowers. The flowers were small due to summer heat and she decided to make a scramble with poppy seeds paste which originally goes in the stuffing. My friend Sukanya Dutta is a Bengali and loves her food. This recipe is a testimony.
This is her recipe I made a few days later and decided to share as it's a tasty traditional Bengali recipe. I hope I remembered the recipe well as she told me verbally, I normally add the spices that I feel would go with the ingredients if experimenting.
Although the form is changed from a fritter to a scramble, may be you would miss the crisp fried crust of a fritter (called Kumro phooler bora in Bengali) if you enjoy that more. In scrambled form it is more healthy and easy to cook. Yum factor is not compromised.
Off course the poppy seeds paste has to be made and that might be a task for some :-)
Once you make up you mind to soak a little poppy seeds and grind them in your trusted mixer for a few repeated whizzes, you are set to just scramble it like a quick eggs scramble.
Yes, poppy seeds may take a few repeats of the pulsing action to become a fine paste.
(2 servings as a side dish)
zucchini (or pumpkin) flowers cleaned and torn 3-4
(a handful when torn, as the quantity depends on the size of flowers)
poppy seeds 30 gms (2 tbsp)
finely chopped onion 1/3 cup
finely chopped green chillies to taste
finely chopped or grated ginger 2 tsp or more
mustrad oil 2 tsp
kalonji seeds (nigella seeds) 1/3 tsp
salt to taste
Soak the poppy seeds for 10 minutes and microwave for a minute before making a paste. Pulse in your trusted grinder with minimal amount of water to move the paste around the blades. The paste should be a thick yogurt consistency. Any thinner (more water added) and the paste won't be smooth enough.
Heat oil in a pan and tip in the Kalonji (nigella) seeds. Let them get aromatic and then add the cumin seeds, chopped green chillies and ginger. Fry for a minute so the oil gets infused with chilly, ginger and kalonji flavor. Cumin would bloom later when wet ingredients are added.
Add the onions to the frying mix and sprinkle salt as well. Fry them all till the onions are translucent. It takes about 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the poppy seeds paste and mix everything well. While cooking the mix and mixing it continuously, there will be a point when the mixture starts resembling a scramble. Add the torn zucchini/pumpkin flowers at this time.
Take the pan off heat and serve warm. This recipes taste good even when cold and I realised that it can be a great stuffing for sandwiches.
In the original recipe, this scrambled poppy seeds mix is stuffed inside the zucchini or pumpkin flowers and then batter fried.
You can try if you want those crisp fried fritters with a yummy nutty stuffing.
You would be in for a treat both ways.