Monday, July 30, 2012
Pumpkin flower follow-up
I found a packet of tempura mix I'd forgotten about in the cupboard - yes, I'm sure I should be able to make my own tempura batter but I gather it's better with some rice flour which I didn't have. I picked a bunch of the pumpkin blossoms, which do all seem to be female, and which flower at the same time as the embryo pumpkins form - a couple of them the baby pumpkin came away with the flower. Stripped all the green bits and removed the stamens and whatever else the knobbly bits in the middle are. They were heavy and waxy and the perfume was a bit overwhelming. I looked around for other things to make into tempura; had carrots, red pepper, a sweet potato,courgettes (zucchini), lettuce in the kitchen, and gathered a few very small broad (fava) beans in their pods, some comfrey leaves and flowers (in the picture) and foraged some sorrel leaves and nasturtium flowers from round and about on Molly's walk.
Checked recipes for dipping sauce; lacking mirin and dashi I had to settle for various alcohols in store and some grated strong red radish, and added ginger, garlic, chopped Welsh onion. Not brilliant, but passable.
The pumpkin flowers thus cooked really were utterly delectable, the perfume turned to sweetness and they were soft and light and quite substantial. One of the best parts of a very good platter of tempura - the broad beans were a pleasant surprise cooked thus too, the comfrey less interesting than I remembered, the nasturtiums good but a bit too delicate.
I would urge anyone to eat pumpkin flower tempura!