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more questions than answers & tasty little fritters

Change it up. Keep it fresh. Variety’s the spice of life. So clichéd, but the same can be said of many of our food choices.

Are we guided by some intention around food and nutrition or do we fall into the habits that we developed growing up? Do we “fear” change, and is that evidenced by what we eat, and refuse to eat, as well? What would it look like if we ate “outside” the boxes we tend to create for ourselves? What would our dinner table feel like if we decided to be adventuresome spirits when it came to food? What if our dinner table became a place we had fun, played, experimented, made a bit of “art”, didn’t fear making “mistakes”? I hope you know, I’m not preaching…just pondering possibilities.

At least once a week we’re trying something very new to us. It’s not always “successful”, but we rarely regret having tried something new. And at least once a week around our house, it’s vegetarian meals only. Do we feel deprived when those days come, like we’re sacrificing something? Oh not one bit!  So long as food is full of flavor and easy on the eyes, it satisfies. (Satisfaction turns out to be an important principle, and not just from a pleasure standpoint. Studies have  shown that we actually tend to eat less when the foods we eat are flavor-full as opposed to bland or one-dimensional, because they satisfy more quickly. If we’re battling our weight, there’s something to consider.)

These tasty little fritters showed up on our vegetarian menu the other night with cumin-roasted carrots and beautiful green salad…(and then again the next morning for breakfast – can you believe it?) and we were smackin’ our smiling lips…both times.

This recipe comes from Ottolenghi…one can hardly go wrong…

Cauliflower & Cumin Fritters with Lime Yogurt Dipping Sauce

  • 1 small cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 320 g.)
  • about ¾ cup flour (4 oz. or 120 g)
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more to garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • neutral (high-heat) oil for frying – canola, sunflower or grapeseed – about 2 cups (500 ml. or 16 oz.)

Yogurt Lime Sauce

  • 10 ounces (300 g.) Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Taste – you’re looking for a vibrant, tart, citrusy flavor. Adjust the seasonings accordingly. Chill or leave at room temperature for up to an hour.

To prepare the cauliflower, trim off any leaves and use a small knife to divide into little florets. Add them to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 15 minutes or until very soft. Drain into a colander.

While the cauliflower is cooking, put the flour, chopped parsley, garlic, shallots, eggs, spices, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk together. When the mixture is smooth and homogenous, add the warm cauliflower. Mix to break down the cauliflower into the batter.

Pour the oil into a wide frying pan and heat. When it is very hot, carefully spoon in generous portions of the cauliflower mixture, about 3 Tablespoons per fritter. (Careful for splatters!) Space the fritters apart, making sure they’re not overcrowded. Fry in small batches, controlling the oil temperature so that the fritters brown nicely but don’t burn. (With 3 tablespoon fritters, they should take about 3 or so minutes per side.) (Something to consider – when the oil we fry food in is at the right temperature, i.e. hot enough, less of the oil is absorbed by the food. These do not need to taste in the slightest bit “greasy”.)

Remove from the pan to layers of paper towels placed on a cooling rack to absorb any excess oil. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with dipping sauce.

Serving suggestions: This can of course be part of a vegetarian meal, or a side-dish, say alongside marinated grilled fish, chicken or kabobs.

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For a printer-friendly version, click here.

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Recipe modified only slightly from one appearing in Ottolenghi’s The Cookbook. 

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. That is a recipe that I’m definitely doing. I was just looking at a cauliflower in the kitchen and deciding what to do with it, and you’ve solved the problem.

    March 25, 2012
    • It’s that cauliflower time of year. 😉

      March 25, 2012
  2. I think it can take more creativity to cook vegetarian, at least if you’re used to meat every night. This looks great.

    March 25, 2012
    • More creativity, agreed, and therein’s the fun! 🙂

      March 25, 2012
  3. I love that you’ve made cauliflower fritters. This time of year we get a lot of cauliflower in the farm box and I need new ways to cook it. Thanks!

    March 25, 2012
    • Thanks! Glad you like the recipe. I’ll have another in the next day or two, a fresh and pretty cauliflower salad.

      March 25, 2012
  4. Beautifully presented. We did the same last night, a new recipe from Yotams book, veggie as always with us and it was divine – page 92 can recommend!

    March 25, 2012
    • Broccoli and Gorgonzola pie!? That sounds divine! Must try, thanks Leslie.

      March 25, 2012
  5. I’d lost interest in cauliflower for some time, only becoming reacquainted once I started roasting it. This, though, sounds like a perfect way of preparing it: fried! I also like the sound of your yogurt lime sauce. Put the 2 together and I’d say you’ve a great side dish. I’m definitely going to give these a try. Thanks, Spree! 🙂

    March 25, 2012
  6. Absolutely delightful Spree! These look just far too delicious for anyone to miss the meat on the table (and great timing – I’d been thinking of playing around with cauliflower and cumin!)…I agree about your thoughts on our ‘little boxes’ – life is for living and trying new and wonderful things!
    PS – I am a savory for breakfast person all the way…;)

    March 25, 2012
    • you know Shira, I think cumin and cauliflower are such a good pair! I can see drizzling with olive oil, sprinkling with salt, and a generous scattering of cumin seeds then roasting! (and I’m with you on savory breakfasts!)

      March 25, 2012
  7. I never knew what to do with cauliflower besides the boring usual. This looks so, so good — paired with the dip. Our fam would love this!

    March 25, 2012
  8. Kammie #

    My Oh my, this looks good! 🙂

    March 25, 2012
  9. This looks so good to me. I ALWAYS have cauliflower in my crisper, along with broccoli, onions and jalapenos–all items with relatively strong tastes–and multicolored red, yellow and orange peppers for eye candy. I usually do some form of curry or stir-fry with these ingredients, adding a few more bland items like potatoes and tofu, but I’ve not tried fritters before. How scrumptious they look. In any case, I’m pretty sure I won’t miss the meat.

    March 25, 2012
    • Happy hearing it looks good to you Joe – maybe good enough to break out of the curry and stir-fry and into the fritter? 🙂 I think you’ll like this!

      March 26, 2012
  10. Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters for breakfast?? Yes.. spree.. I can totally believe it! I am imagining it on my plate with a nice soft, over-easy egg.. a little of that yogurt dipping sauce.. yes, I can picture it well and am going to have to try making it now:) Fantastic idea.. any time of the day:) xoxo Smidge

    March 25, 2012
  11. These look absolutely amazing!

    March 25, 2012
  12. These look amazing! I cook meatless meals every day, and these are definitely going into the rotation!

    March 25, 2012
  13. Ali #

    I can’t wait to try these!! Thank you for sharing!!

    March 25, 2012
  14. I love it when you read a recipe you like the soiund of and suddenly realise you have pretty much all the ingredients need to make it! Yay, cauliflower fritters today methinks 😉

    March 26, 2012
    • It’s like “stars aligning” when that happens, eh Tanya? 🙂 Have fun with your fritters!

      March 26, 2012
  15. Cauliflower being a big favorite of mine, these fritters sound fabulous. I wonder if they would freeze and re-warm well; they would make such wonderful appetizers or cocktail treats for company and it’d be so handy to be able to just take a packet of them out of the freezer and warm them in the oven while doing the other prep for the event. In any case, I am definitely going to try some cauliflower fritters soon! Yummmmmmmm.

    March 26, 2012
    • Your idea to freeze and re-heat is worth the try I’d say! Re-heated in a medium oven ought to re-crisp them up a bit.

      March 27, 2012
  16. it is so difficult to cook within a diet. I commend you, these look scrumptious!

    March 26, 2012
  17. We are trying to eat vegetarian meals twice a week here and I am enjoying the experience.
    You are totally right about the flavor, some vegetarian meals are a feast for the taste buds and the best part is that they are good for you
    I love these cauliflower fritters and the yogurt sauce sounds like the perfect refreshing companion

    March 27, 2012
    • I actually understated how many vegetarian meals we eat a week. It’s probably 2 or more, though sometimes we’ll have a little smoked fish to go with our otherwise vegetarian meal. I’ve found that more often than not, it’s the vegetarian meals with all their delicious flavors that have us swooning (though I swoon a little louder than my husband.) 😉

      March 27, 2012
  18. Ooh yum! I think cauliflower might be due a revival in my kitchen, these fritters look a good place to start.

    March 27, 2012
    • You know, Rock Salt, I think cauliflower is one of those humble “old time” vegetables that’s SO underrated and deserving of a modern-day revival! Let me know if you give it a go!

      March 27, 2012

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