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Amisha Gurbani’s stuffed and fried squash blossoms – Tricks and Tips

Amisha Gurbani's stuffed and fried squash blossoms

These flavor-packed blossoms get an Indian twist by using aromatics such as green chile and garlic and spices such as garam masala and toasted cumin seeds in the creamy ricotta filling. Use a pastry bag to fill the blossoms. Fried and dipped in a harissa-spiked  mayonnaise, this appetizer will become your new summer favorite.

Serves 4 to 8

Stuffed blossoms
1 1/4 cups whole milk ricotta
1 small jalapeño chile
1 garlic clove
1 heaped tablespoon of finely chopped red onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
5 mint leaves, cut into chiffonade
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
16 zucchini blossoms or squash blossoms, stamens removed 
Batter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup ice-cold seltzer water 
Vegetable oil for frying
Harissa mayonnaise
1/2 cup Kewpie mayonnaise, see note. 
2 teaspoons harissa
Juice of 1/2 lime
Garnish
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Sprinkle of Maldon sea salt
Sprinkle of smoked paprika

To prepare the stuffed blossoms: Line a medium sieve with a paper towel or cheesecloth. Add the whole milk ricotta, cover and let sit over a medium bowl to drain for about an hour. Discard the excess water. Transfer the ricotta to the medium bowl. 

Grind the green chile and garlic in a mini food processor. To the ricotta, add the ground chiles and garlic, onions, salt, black pepper, garam masala, ground cumin, cilantro, mint, lime zest and lime juice and mix to combine.
Transfer the mixture into a 12-inch piping bag. Cut about a third of an inch  off the end of the bag. Holding a squash blossom by the stem, gently push a petal of the flower aside and squeeze about a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture into the blossom. Repeat for the rest of  the blossoms. Set aside.

To prepare the batter: In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, rice flour and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the cold seltzer water and mix until just combined. Store the batter in the refrigerator until ready to fry the blossoms.

To fry the blossoms: Place a wire rack inside a baking tray and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium to high heat. The temperature should reach about 350 degrees. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes.

Working one at a time, gently pick up  a blossom, twist the top carefully to secure the filling  and dip it into the batter. Pull the blossom out of the batter and allow the excess coating to drain off. Gently slide  the blossom into the hot oil. 

Fry the blossom for about 30 to 45 seconds, then turn using a wire strainer (spider) and fry the other side for another 30 to 45 seconds until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the blossom from the oil and set on the wire rack to drain. Fry the remaining blossoms. You can fry two at a time.

To prepare the harissa mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, harissa and lime juice and mix to combine.

To finish: Plate the fried blossoms along with the mayonnaise. Garnish with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt, smoked paprika and chives. Serve immediately.

Note: Kewpie mayonnaise can be found in Asian markets or online. You can substitute regular mayonnaise.