I read a snippet from newspaper not long ago that consuming oil reheated at high temperatures can be harmful and carcinogenic to health. Since then, eating deep fried items outside home has reduced considerably. We proactively avoid it fearing ill effects on health. I despise discarding a wok full of used oil down the drain post frying, since it's an utter waste :( That's another reason that whenever I do fry, I ensure all my frying is done in the same batch of oil in one go, instead of reheating the same. That saves time and wastage too.
Cravings for spicy fries don't always haunt me, sometimes when they do, they can be pretty bad! Not long ago, an afternoon, as I sat down to blog, browse and blog hop, post our lunch around 4 pm, I stumbled over this crispy fried snack Gobi 65, by Pavithra. This was etched in my mind. I could hardly hold my temptations longer. Her step by step photography through the recipe motivated me further. It was a sudden urge to have something hot and spicy that evening. Lucky enough, I had a huge cauliflower already cut into florets sitting my fridge, thus making the daunting task of cleaning and chopping even more simpler.
Gobi 65 is a very popular snack available in most Indian street food stalls and restaurants, with versions of this snack in Paneer, Chicken, Mushroom, etc. which are equally popular. It's more commonly found in outlets which cater to Indo-Chinese food. The ingredients are simple and readily available in most kitchens at any hour. Hence no fuss too.
1 medium sized cauliflower
1 cup thick sour yogurt/curd
1-2 tsp garam masala
3 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
7 pods garlic
1 inch piece ginger
Salt, to taste
Cornflour, about 3 tbsp for each batch of florets
Chaat masala, optional
Oil for deep frying
Curry leaves, green chillies, lime wedges - for garnishing
Grind garlic and ginger to paste. Wash the curry leaves thoroughly and pat it dry. Cut and clean the cauliflower, drain out all the water.
In a separate bowl, take some thick curd. I used thick sour curd, hence omitted the lime juice mentioned in original recipe. Add the ground ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, salt and garam masala. Check for salt, sourness and spice levels in this stage. Whisk the batter, add the florets and mix well.
Meanwhile, heat oil in the deep pan. Now take handful of the florets in a small bowl add 3 tbsp of cornflour mix well. Allow the florets to be nicely coated with flour. Cornflour gives a good crispness and crunch on frying. Drop each floret into the sizzling hot oil one by one and fry them. As they fry, add in few curry leaves. Remove from the oil and drain them on a kitchen towel. Lightly sprinkle with chaat masala if preferred. Serve hot with ketchup.
Most restaurants use red food color to bring out brightness in food on plate. I somehow dislike that artificial redness from food colors. I refrain from using any color, instead use Kashmiri lal mirch (Kashmiri chilli powder) which brings out a good deal of color. Pretty decent, if not for the blood red. For more heat, you may fry a green chilli in the same oil briefly till they blister and serve along with these fritters. I served them with freshly chopped onions, lemon wedges and tomato ketchup. A yum treat for an evening snack. This crispy, tongue tickling appetizer is not just great for an evening snack, but serves as a great starter too.