At his eponymous restaurant Paley's Place in Portland, Oregon, chef Vitaly Paley grates black and watermelon radishes to form the base of these curried fritters, which he serves with a radish and cucumber raita.
Curried Radish Fritters with Cucumber Raita
Adapted from Paley's Place, Portland, Oregon
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 (25 to 30 fritters)
Radish and Cucumber Raita
½ bunch French Breakfast radishes--cleaned, finely diced, and radish greens finely chopped
½ small English cucumber--peeled, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 green onions--washed, roots trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ pound black radishes, peeled (about 2 medium radishes)
½ pound watermelon radishes, peeled (about 2 medium radishes)
½ tablespoon curry powder
¼ cup fresh goat cheese, softened
½ medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 bunch Italian parsley--leaves picked, cleaned and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 large cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil for frying
1. Make the raita: In a medium bowl, mix together the French Breakfast radishes, radish greens, cucumber, mint, green onion, yogurt and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, wrap tightly and chill until ready to serve, up to 2 hours.
2. Make the fritters: With a box grater or in a food processor fitted with a coarse grater attachment, grate the black and watermelon radishes into a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sea salt and mix with your hands, squeezing at the same time. When the radishes begin to leach out liquid, use your hands to squeeze out as much water as you can, discarding the excess liquid. Stir in the curry powder, goat cheese, onion, parsley, garlic and eggs and mix until well incorporated. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour and season with pepper. Gently mix until all the flour has been absorbed.
3. Form the fritter batter into golf-size balls and place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm them.
4. Fill a large straight-sided stockpot set over high heat with about 3 inches of oil. Using a thermometer, bring the temperature of the oil to 350° and lower the heat to medium to maintain the temperature. Remove the radish balls from the freezer.
5. Carefully drop 5 or 6 balls into the hot oil. Fry until the fritters are golden brown all over, rotating to ensure even cooking, about 1 minute. Remove the fritters from the oil, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt. Continue frying in batches of 5 or 6 until all the batter has been used. Serve hot with a bowl of raita.
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