I think I first made these when Chitti was here in June 2017 with Purna, Arjumand and Shalu. I had seen an Ottolenghi recipe for elderflower fritters dusted in sugar or something like that. Anyway it was just over the ideal elderflower season and I was thinking of interesting things to cook for them. Thought I would try these as bhajjis, savoury. And they were brilliant. The next time I made them was when Indira came in 2018. The season was almost over and we drove around the Stonehenge area one day looking for them; finally found a load in a field, picked some and got glared at by a farmer in a tractor who passed by, and then came back to invesgtigate!
The most amazing thing about these is the way the flowers, when you hold them by the stalk and dip into the batter, they all clump together, drippy, unattractive. Then you put them into the hot oil and they open up immediately back into the flower head. Magic!
Gram flour - 4 or 5 tablespoons
Salt - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Jeera powder - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - small handful, chopped
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Finely chopped ginger - about a 1 inch piece
Sunflower oil for deep-frying
About 7 or 8 elderflower heads with a few inches of stalk still on
Heat the oil in a deepish pan for deep frying.
In a mixing bowl put all the ingredients (except the oil and the elderflowers), add a bit of water and mix until you get a fairly runny mixture - like lumpy double cream maybe.
Wash the elderflower heads (best not picked from near a busy road), shake off the water. Hold the stalk and dip the head into the bhajji mixture so that the whole flower part is coated with the mixture but the stalk that you are holding is clean.
In the meantime, the oil is getting hot. Put a tiny drop of the bhajji mixture into the oil to test the heat. If it sinks down in the oil - it is not hot enough. It should come up to the top and start to sizzle. Then, hold your breath and put the elderflower head that you are holding by the stalk, into the oil. Do it gently and let go of the stalk. As you lift the head out of the batter it hangs down droopy and unattractive. The moment it goes into the hot oil the flower opens out like it was on the plant and sizzles away. A few minutes to let it turn slightly golden, and that's it. Pick it up with the stalk and put it on a kitchen towel in a colander. Ideally, eat it by holding the stalk and nibbling off each flower bit.