Happy national curry week, everyone! It’s back around again and, oncemore, I really wanted to put together a topical recipe for the occasion.
But I also wanted it to be a bit different to my other curry recipes and, after a little deliberation, I figured that it’d be fun to try out something from one of my favourite producers – Daddy Cool’s.
Now, this little dish of his isn’t the main event. It’s not strictly a curry but it’s a pleasant side, made using his gorgeous Okra and Garlic Pickle, to carry its delicious flavour through these light potato and cauliflower bites:
A particularly delightful addition to your curry platter, if not a delightful recipe to follow.
Hopefully I can fix its issues for you.
For his original, Steve Cooley listed:
1 cauliflower cut into medium florets
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
10ml cold water
vegetable oil for frying
And, aside from a few missing details, like how much bread and how big the potato pieces, it’s not immediately obvious what’s wrong with it. But, when it comes to the cooking, my first gripe comes up almost immediately.
That original recipe doesn’t just list ingredients. It lists times, as well.
According to Daddy Cool, this whole recipe takes fifteen minutes of preparation and twenty of cooking, with that cook time split between softening the veg and frying the finished bites. Which simply isn’t true.
Step one of his write up states that I should cover the prepared potatoes and cauliflower in water, before bringing my pan to the boil. And, well, that alone takes more ten minutes, before I even begin the real cooking.
Then he says that I should boil the veg for another ten but I think that it, too, could have used a little more than his estimate. Since, after I’ve drained the contents of my pan and mixed them with his pickle, they still mash up rather chunky:
And I’m guessing that the ratios were wrong, too, because the sausage shapes which he wanted me to make are still soaking wet, despite that draining, and can barely hold together. Just look:
I know what you’re going to say, though. My cauliflower was gigantic. There’s no way that the recipe expected me to use all of it, right?
Well good, because I didn’t.
I used half but I should have used a quarter. Then the potato might actually have soaked up all of its juices and made my creation work.
But, at that point, it would have been way less than even the size of a normal cauliflower. Hardly an accurate approximation of the recipe which I was trying to follow.
And things only get worse from there. Daddy Cool then asks me to mix ten millilitres of water – Approximately two tablespoons worth – into a whopping fifty grams of cornflour. Why?
What does he hope to accomplish by making the stuff just wet enough that it would rather stick to itself than to my sausage-shaped mash?
I rewatch his embedded video, to see if I missed any answers within, and what it uses is a thin slurry of water and plain flour. Not only different ratios but completely different ingredients, as well. The two don’t match, at all.
It’s too late to be soaking my already soggy cauliflower mash in more liquid, though, so, after a little experimentation and far too many bowls full of non-descript, white powder cluttering up my kitchen, I come to the conclusion that just a pure flour coating is my best option, as I attempt to hold this mess together, long enough to fry it.
And, you know what, it actually works. Somewhat.
I roll them in breadcrumbs, which barely stick, and finally manage to make myself four decent-looking cauliflower and pickle bites:
Each fried for a few minutes, per side, in oil deep enough to half-submerge them. Partially because that’s what the video suggests, partially because that’s how I make my mozzarella sticks and partially because, if I tried to properly deep-fry something so wet, there’s a good chance that the trapped steam would make it blow up in my face.
No appetiser is worth that, even if it does carry the delightfully complex, garlic and okra taste of Daddy Cool’s pickle. And these bites do carry that flavour well, indeed, simply using the cauliflower as a base to lighten it up and turn it into a more delicate snack.
One with a very gentle,
tingle, to match their milder, yet still oh so well spiced flavour.
Today’s recipe may have been a bad one but the bites, themselves, are still well worth making. Just with a few tweaks, to make them work. Here’s what I recommend:
½ a medium-sized cauliflower
2 medium-sized potatoes
2 slices of crusty, stale bread
2 tablespoons plain, gram or corn flour
A pinch of salt
And enough vegetable oil to half-submerge the end results
Start by peeling your potatoes and chopping both them and the cauliflower into even sized chunks. The two types of veg should end up making rather similarly-sized piles on your chopping board.
Place them into a pan of water and bring them to a boil, using the time that this takes to blend your bread into crumbs and mix your flour with the above-mentioned one-hundred mil of water. Putting the results of both quick actions into separate bowls, for later use.
Then give your cauliflower and potato pan a stir, as it begins to boil, and simply keep an eye on it, while it cooks for fifteen minutes.
Drain and mash the results, then mix them with the pickle and salt.
Form small handfuls of your newly-crafted mixture into nice little cylinders and then roll them in both your flour-water and your bread crumbs. In that order.
This should provide the desired crispy coating and help keep the insides fresh when we fry them but, first, pop them in the fridge for as much time as you can spare (up to an hour) to cool. This helps ensure that the outside cooks quicker than the core and minimises any chance of the bites oozing of falling apart.
Then, when you’re ready, fry the cooled bites in a pan of hot oil for just a few minutes on each side, or until they are crispy and browned. Fish out onto a paper towel, to dry and then serve.
Perhaps with a dash of lime, as pictured by their original maker.
This version should work far better than DC’s recipe but I never would have thought to make it without his. And the pickle at its heart is truly delicious.
Please do give it a go, yourselves, and let me know how you get on.