I love summer for so many different reasons but my absolutely favorite thing about the arrival of this lovely season is the availability of fresh zucchini or squash blossoms. These gorgeous edible flowers are very delicate & also highly perishable. Zucchini/Squash blossoms come in the both male & female varieties, the stem of female blossom is very thick and may be attached to a baby zucchini. The male blossoms are a little larger & sturdier, which makes them perfect for stuffing!
Now if you’ve never had them before, you are in for a real treat. Zucchini blossoms have a wonderful soft silky texture & a subtle earthy flavor. These exquisite flowers can be purchased at any famer’s market or specialty grocery store. When buying zucchini blossoms, look for brightly colored yellow/orange flowers with a moist stem. I highly recommend using them soon after purchase as their they almost no shelf life (even in the refrigerator!). Another economical way of obtaining your own zucchini blossoms is to grow them yourself – it’s very easy, just plant zucchini seeds & harvest early to get the blossoms ☺.
My favorite way to eat zucchini blossoms is stuffed & lightly fried (tempura style). I stuff my zucchini blossoms with a very flavorful paneer mixture & just lightly fry them. So go ahead & try my delicious Paneer Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms – they are simply heavenly.
PANEER STUFFED ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS
12 zucchini blossoms
1 cup all purpose flour (maida)
¼ cup fine rice flour
pinch of ground cumin powder
pinch of smoked Spanish paprika
salt & pepper, to taste
10-12 ounces cold club soda
oil for frying (peanut, vegetable or olive)
For the Filling
1 cup soft paneer (or ricotta cheese)
½” piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, finely minced
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine the all purpose flour with the rice flour & then add in the spices (ground cumin powder, smoked Spanish paprika, salt & pepper). Whisk together while slowly adding the cold club soda to create a smooth thin batter but don’t over whisk. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If the batter has slightly thickened upon removal, simply add just a few drops of water to loosen it up & gently whisk right before use.
Next, clean all of the zucchini blossoms by simply brushing the blossoms very gently with a damp paper towel. Although both the stems & pistils are totally edible, it will be much easier to stuff the zucchini blossoms if you first remove the pistils (pinch, gently twist & pull).
To make the filling, simply mix all of the filling ingredients together. When you are ready -- fill each zucchini blossom with about 1 tbsp or so of the paneer mixture, close the blossom & set them aside until needed.
Fill a large deep pot on medium high heat with enough oil for frying. Then one by one, dip the zucchini blossoms in the batter –- shaking off any excess batter & carefully adding it to the hot oil. Let cook until lightly browned & then gently flip once. Let fry for just another minute & drain well. You may need to do this in batches, do not overcrowd the pan. Sprinkle them with just a little salt while they are still warm. Serve & enjoy!
You could also make a mixture of ½ cup soft paneer & ½ cup soft goat cheese for a tangy flavor.
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