What to do with courgettes?
I love courgettes, especially fresh newly grown ones from the garden. My friends in Italy are not so keen but happened to mention to their 80 something year old neighbour (who still grows all her fruit and veg!) that their visitor was a keen courgette eater so I was inundated with large fresh courgettes, way too much for one person to eat. Now I have a big problem with throwing any food away so needed to come up with a recipe that uses courgettes that my friends would eat. So I came up with courgette pakoras. Fortunately I had brought garam masala and turmeric with me as I suspected Indian spices might be hard to come by. I also made a borlotti bean dip to go with them because I had a tin in the cupboard. They loved them I am pleased to report! So much so we had three lots while I was there.
Tip: Courgettes are fantastic grated and can work well as a mince meat substitute for bolognese or lasagne but I found for this recipe they are better diced very small.
Finely dice some courgette. If you have a particularly large one discard the seeds from the centre. Add turmeric, garam masala (lots), salt, pepper and fresh chopped chilli (or powder) to taste. Leave to stand for ten minutes or up to an hour. Sprinkle over some gram flour and mix well keep adding gram flour a bit at a time until a batter forms around the courgette pieces. You shouldn’t need any water but a small amount can be added if necessary. The end result should be about two thirds courgette to one third batter.
Heat some oil in a frying pan, I used olive oil because that’s what I had to hand but sunflower or grape seed oil would be good. Use a small spoon to add a number of blobs of the mixture into the pan turn down to a low heat so they slowly cook through, turning over to make sure they are golden brown on each side. Place on some kitchen roll to drain the oil when cooked and they can be kept warm in a medium over until ready to eat. They are also good cold the next day. Working well for a packed lunch or picnic.
Tip: You can use pretty much any vegetable you like or make a mix of them as long as they are all chopped to a small dice. A good recipe for using up old left over veg at the bottom of the fridge!
Borlotti Bean Dip
Drain and use a fork to mash a tin of borlotti beans. Add a small carton of natural yogurt mix well. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.