Sesbania Blossoms, Fried and Curried
1 tablespoon oil
6 shallots, finely chopped
3 fresh chillies, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon pounded Maldive fish or dried shrimp
small stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
125 g/4 fl oz/1/2 cup canned coconut milk
squeeze of lime juice
16 white sesbania blossoms
6 level tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
6 level tablespoons rice flour
1 egg, beaten
185 ml/6 fl oz/3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
oil for frying
Make curry sauce first and have it ready. Heat the oil and fry shallots and chillies until soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly thick.
To make the fritters, remove green bases, calyxes and stamens of flowers. Put flour and salt into a bowl. Combine egg and water, add to flour and mix to a smooth batter. Heat oil for deep frying. Dip flowers into the batter one at a time and drop into the hot oil, not too many at once. Drain on paper towels. Serve while warm and crisp, with curry sauce for dipping.
Note: Taste a petal raw, and if it is too bitter, blanch the flowers in boiling water to remove some of the bitterness before using.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)