Originally we’d thought of making a sort of onion bhaji using fennel in place of the onion. But as tends to happen when we cook together, the whole idea evolved into something quite different…
So in the end we went for a great mix of fennel, red pepper and cashews, bound together with batter flavoured with a beautifully fragrant spice mix.
We cooked one big fritter and served cut into wedges with potato slices which had been baked with herbs.
It was gorgeous! Definitely one to make again.
for the vegetables and nuts
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, shredded
40 g cashews, halved
for the batter
60g rice flour
30 g tapioca flour
90 ml water
1/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
for the spice mix
4 cardamom pods, seeds only
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp caraway seed
to cook the fritter
2 tbsp oil
Steam the fennel with 2 tbsp water in the microwave for 2 minutes to soften it slightly.
Grind the spices to a powder in a pestle and mortar, these amounts will make a little more than you need, but it never seems worth making a tiny quantity of spice mix!
Toast the cashews in a frying pan on a medium heat for around 3 minutes. Stir them constantly, they should end up golden brown in places and smelling toasty.
In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca flour, water, baking powder and salt, along with 1/2 tsp of the spice mix.
Add the vegetables and nuts to the batter and mix well. Leave to sit for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees c.
Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat.
Tip the vegetables and batter in and shape into a round. Cook for 4 minutes, pressing down, until browned on the bottom. Flip the fritter, it’s easiest to hold a plate over the top and turn the pan over, then slide it back in, uncooked side down. Cook on the hob for a further 4 minutes.
Transfer to the oven for 30 minutes to cook through.
By A. and E.