Every once in a while at an Indian restaurant you’ll see a dish called “Tandoori Vegetable” or “Tandoori Phool” (Phool = Cauliflower). If you do, order it. Especially if you’re at India House in Oakbrook, where they make an especially yummy version. I always assumed that I couldn’t make it without a Tandoor oven. It turns out that it can be made at home.
Our version is adapted from KhanaPakana.com’s recipe.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 big or two small stalks broccoli
- Fresh lemon juice
(at least 4-5 lemons’ worth, the more the better!)
- 1 lemon for garnish
- 2 T Chaat Masala
(buy this at an Indian market, I like one called “Chunky Chaat Masala” from Patel Bros. on Devon in Chicago)
- 1 C Gram Flour
(aka chickpea/garbanzo flour, called “Besan” at the Indian market)
- 2 T nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 T chili powder
(I don’t think it matters what kind, cayenne should be fine)
- 1 C plus 3 T water
- pinch of salt
- A lot of vegetable oil for frying
(canola or other oil that says “refined for high heat”)
Break the cauliflower and broccoli into florets 2-3″ in diameter. Slice each floret in half. Mix the fresh lemon juice with the chaat masala. Put the cauliflower and broccoli florets in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and pour the lemon juice mix in over them. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a few days in the fridge.
Mix the gram flour, nutritional yeast (if you have it, no worries if you don’t), chili powder and salt in a bowl with a fork. Add the water and mix with the fork until all the flour clumps are broken up. You should have a sticky batter that will coat and stick to the cauliflower and broccoli florets.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep frying pan or big sauce pan.
Dip the cauliflower florets into the batter, then drop into the oil (try to lay them on the flat side so they get submerged) and fry for about 1 min in the oil. You can put at least 6 florets in at a time, depending on the size of your pan. By the time you get to the broccoli, the batter may have gotten a little diluted from the marinade. Don’t worry, the broccoli does ok with a thinner batter.
As you fish out the fried florets with a slotted spoon, place them into a casserole dish.
Once they are all fried, bake for 10-15 minutes at 275° F.
Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
Prep the casserole dish with bed of cooked white basmati rice, pour the remaining marinade over it, then arrange the fried florets on top of the rice and bake.
Tomato wedges and onion wedges can also be dipped in the batter, fried, and added to the casserole dish. They won’t hold the batter that well and it will get a little messy, but still very yummy.
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