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What Is Fried Cauliflower?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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Fried cauliflower is a vegetable dish that is popular all over the world. Various food cultures approach this dish in their own ways, but the essential ingredient is the white vegetable cauliflower. Other ingredients are added for flavor, or as part of specific preparation methods that make the basic element more appealing.

Regions of the world have their own ideas about preparing fried cauliflower. In the West, the vegetable might frequently be battered and deep-fried. This is also a tradition that is prominent in some Oriental preparations, for example, popularized in Japanese-American Hibachi restaurants under the name tempura. Tempura is something that many Americans and consumers elsewhere in the west know as a popular street food or snack; the battered, deep-fried variety of vegetables, from mushrooms and carrots, to cauliflower and broccoli, represents a combination of fresh garden ingredients and rich batter that may contain a lot of calories, partially from the frying oils, but also from other batter ingredients.

In some Arabic cultures, fried cauliflower is referred to with local names like Zahra Makleyah and does not involve deep frying. Rather, the cauliflower is pan fried and served either hot or cold, with various garnishes and ingredients. These often include tahini sauce, a regional food, as well as lettuce and other greens, or additional vegetables like tomatoes. In other versions of this dish, curry flavors or garlic lemon sauce can be added.

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Another popular version of fried cauliflower comes from different areas of the Asian continent, including China and India. In a popular Indian version, called Ghobi, after the Hindi word for cauliflower, the vegetable is also fried in different ways, where local ingredients like chilis, a regional pepper variety, or Indian spices may be added.

Many presentations of fried cauliflower are vegetarian concoctions. Other versions of this dish do use animal products. In some cases, ground beef or other presentations of beef may be added to the vegetable mix. Different kinds of cheese may also be added in richer versions of the fried vegetable dish. Even eggs can be used, often fried and scrambled, or mixed in with the other ingredients.

While some cultures may use fried cauliflower in traditional, full sit-down meals and home cooking, in others, this item is predominantly a street food. From a nutritional perspective, this fried food is usually among certain less heart-healthy options. Although fresh cauliflower has a full range of antioxidants, minerals, and other good nutritional elements, frying the vegetable decreases its overall nutritional value. A lightly fried version with minimal low-fat oils can still be relatively healthy.

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