Friday, September 4, 2015

Kumro Phool Bhaja/Pumpkin flower fritters – Not for the flower vase…

When the doorbell rang early in the morning, for me this was an unusual time for the bell to ring. But, never know when one can be there giving a call by the ding-dong ring.
In a hurry, as I opened the door, a middle-aged man stood there with a bunch of yellowish-orange colour flowers in his hand. It surprised me when he stretched out his hand and said, “Would you like to have these?”

The question stirred my nerves and I was in no mood at this hour of the morning to buy this bunch of flowers…never even thought in my last night’s dream what to do if I got these flowers, kumro flowers did they really occupy my night’s dream space, but dreams hardly traverse the awakened mind, no more but... Why spend money on these flowers which I had not asked for. In reply I told him I had no need of these flowers.
As he was about to go, I recognized him, my friend's errand boy. I stop him and he smiles for he knows I know where the flowers are coming from.
The flowers look beautiful but they don’t get a place in the flower vase. They adorn the kitchen and wait till they are done with to be served on the plates.
They know they will be cut, cleaned, washed, coated with some batter and then fried in hot oil.
A kadhai full of hot oil reminds of childhood days when moms and grandmoms, masis and peecees, tell story about Hell. “If you do any bad work in life, you will go to Narak (Hell), and, there they will fry you in a huge kadhai of hot oil”. That’s the story elders said time and again about Hell.
But, the Kumro phool, I think never has the same nervousness about being deep-fried in hot oil, maybe no story teller in the flower and vegetable kingdom.
The kumro phool sat for some time till I came closer to them.
Once close by, started off working on them.
First cut the stem so that the “Stigma” of the flower is also cut off.
All that remains is the soft petals
The petals washed carefully and left to dry. The washing process helps to do away with the hairy parts on the petals.
Anyway, the major part of cleaning and washing and drying of the kumro flowers is done. They have to sit for a while until…
Making of the batter:
For 8 kumro/pumpkin flowers take in a bowl
¾ cup besan
2 tbsp coarse rice flour
¼ tsp. haldi powder
¼ tsp. red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Mix well all the ingredients.
Add water to make a batter thick enough to coat the kumro phool when dipped in it.
While working on making the batter, heat enough oil for deep frying.
Now dip each kumro phool into the batter and once it is coated fry it in the hot oil.
While frying reduce the flame and fry over soft heat.
Once the colour strarts getting dark on the surface remove and place it on kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
This Kumro Phool Bhaja is best served for lunch and tastes so good with bhat and dal.
Earlier when Ma used to fry and serve this for lunch, there was so much fuss among the children at home. Time changes and also there are challenges to be faced in the kitchen and then this not so tasty bhaja of childhood days tastes good and the mother in the kitchen now wants her children to relish it.
Enjoy your Kumro Phool Bhaja if you manage to get some of these flowers which are rare in the market but can be available in your own kitchen garden or some friend or relative can give some from their garden.
Enjoy the Kumro Phool Bhaja till I come up with another food item cooked in my lovely little kitchen.

© gouriguha 2015

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