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Shared by Anna + Claude Polonsky

Cauliflower Beignets

Yield: 4 servingsTime: 45 min to 1 h

Cauliflower Beignets

Yield: 4 servingsTime: 45 min to 1 h

Family Journey

Lodz, Poland and Kyiv, UkraineParis
New York City

This recipe was shared by Anna and Claude Polonsky. Read more about their family in "Keeping Ashkenazi Recipes Alive in Paris" and try their recipes for klops (yiddish meatloaf), tsibeles (scrambled eggs), and strudel aux pommes (apple strudel).

While this recipe sounds more Sephardic, Claude grew up with his Ukrainian grandmother making this recipe. As Anna points out, “As with all Askenazi recipes, it was just the cheapest ingredients, [and] they always could access cabbage and cauliflower.” While the ingredients in this recipe are humble, together they are more than the sum of their parts.

Ingredients

For the cauliflower beignets

  • 1 large cauliflower 
  • 1 cup all purpose flour 
  • 3 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley, chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 shallots, minced 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½  teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 ½  teaspoons kosher
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 2 cups sunflower or another neutral oil 

For the sauce

  • 1 cup greek yogurt 
  • Zest of 1 lime 
  • Juice of 1 lime 
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish

  • 3 to 4 parsley leaves
SidesVegetarianDairyEastern EuropeWestern Europe

Preparation

  • Step 1

    Prepare the cauliflower: Bring a large pot of water with 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Discard the cauliflower leaves and cut the florets off of the cauliflower core. Discard the core and place the florets into the pot of boiling water until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Strain the cauliflowers for the water and set aside in a medium sized bowl. Smash the cauliflower with a fork to create a mixture with small chunks. 

  • Step 2

    Prepare the beignet batter: Place the flour, parsley, garlic, shallots, eggs, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk or a large fork, mix and whip the mixture until it is smooth and aerated. Add the mashed cauliflower into the bowl and mix it into the batter until combined well.

  • Step 3

    Fry the beignets: Place a large, preferably deep, saucepan over medium to high heat. Add 2 cups of sunflower oil into the pan. After about 3 to 5 minutes check if the oil is hot by dropping in a pinch of the batter. If the batter sizzles vigorously then the oil is hot enough to start frying. Delicately pour about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the batter into the pan for each beignet. Fry the beignets on each side until deep golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes each. Fry in batches of about 4 beignets at a time. Monitor the oil temperature during frying, adjusting the heat as needed. Once cooked, transfer the beignets to a paper towel lined sheet tray to drain any excess oil.

  • Step 4

    Prepare the yogurt sauce: In a medium sized bowl mix the greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, lime zest and juice, olive oil, salt and pepper until combined well. 

  • Step 5

    Garnish the beignets with parsley. Serve hot with yogurt sauce on the side.