Pumpkin Flower Fritters
I debated a lot in my mind before deciding on going ahead with this post. Non-Bengalis will find the very idea of pumpkin flower fritters unusual and perhaps even strange. I thought I will introduce my non-Bengali readers to this unusual Bengali dish which is relished by most Bengalis. Incidentally kumro is the Bengali word for pumpkin -- well it is a little difficult to get the right Bengali syllables when you are using the Roman script but kumro is as close as I could get to the Bengali word. Phool means flower and bora means pakora or fritters.
I am a fourth generation migrant Bengali, and I was quite clueless about the typical Bengali dishes simply because the essential ingredients were just not available in Mumbai (Bombay). When my parents discussed pumpkin flowers, I found it absolutely strange, I wondered, how can anyone eat a flower?
As these flowers were not available in Mumbai my mother who was egged on by my father decided to grow a pumpkin plant just for the flowers and stems, yes Bengalis eat the stems too. When I saw the first few flowers, I was quite thrilled, my mum plucked them and made these yummy fritters or pakoras as we Indians call them. Later on we didn’t need to grow a pumpkin plant, vegetable vendors began selling them in Mumbai thanks to the increasing population of Bengalis in the city.
I do remember my mum using besan (gram flour) to make the fritters but she occasionally also used rice flour, rice flour makes the pakoras quite crispy. I decided to use a bit of cornflour. Incidentally pumpkin flowers are available for a short while towards the end of the rainy season.
I have not given the quantity of the ingredients because it will depend upon the number of pumpkin flowers.
- Pumpkin Flowers
- Gram Flour (Besan)
- Corn Flour
- Turmeric Powder
- Chilli Powder or chopped green chillies
- Few nigella seeds (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Cooking oil
Chop off the stalk of the flower.
Make a batter with the gram flour and corn flour. If you take two tablespoons of gram flour, add one tablespoon of corn flour to it.
To this add a pinch of turmeric powder, salt and red chilli powder or chopped green chillies.
You may add a few nigella seeds to this mixture, it imparts a lovely flavour to the pakoras.
Add water and make a smooth batter. I made a thin batter for I did not want a thick coating; if the coating is thick all you taste is the gramflour and not what is inside.
Coat the flowers with this batter and deep fry.
Serve hot with some tomato ketchup or sauce. You can have it as a snack or as a side dish with your meals.