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04 Mar 2021

Cauliflower fritters with dill and garlic mayonnaise

Cauliflower fritters with dill and garlic mayonnaise
Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules (Bloomsbury Publishing, £26) is out now. Photography by Joe Woodhouse and Elena Heatherwick.

Olia Hercules, who recently published her third cookbook, Summer Kitchens, was born in Ukraine and lived in Cyprus before moving to the UK. She’ll be appearing on the main stage at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival on Saturday 18 July, but for now you can enjoy a taste of her cooking at home with this recipe for cauliflower fritters with dill-and-garlic mayonnaise.

“A simple batter is used all over Ukraine for frying all sorts of things, from chicken or pork schnitzel to whole river fish,” explains Olia. “I love vegetables fried in this way, and cauliflower is especially good. Normally, plain white flour is used, but buckwheat flour was a popular choice in the past and I tend to use it instead of wheat flour – it’s healthier, and much more flavoursome. You can use the batter in this recipe for vegetables other than cauliflower. Normally the fritters are eaten just as they are, but I like them with a spoonful of dill-and-garlic-spiked mayo. If you come across some good-quality chipotle mayo, that wouldn’t go amiss either.”

Serves: 4

Takes: 25 mins

1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets (keep any sprightly smaller leaves, too)
vegetable oil, for frying
1 egg, beaten
100ml whole milk
60g buckwheat or plain flour 

150g mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, finely grated 
handful of finely chopped dill 


  1. Blanch the cauliflower and its leaves in a pan of boiling, salted water. Scoop out the leaves after around 2 mins and the florets after around 5 mins. Refresh both in cold water, then drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper. 
  2. Heat 4 tbsp oil in a large frying pan set over a medium heat. The oil should cover the base of the pan; if not, add a little more. 
  3. Whisk the egg and milk together in a bowl, then add the flour and whisk until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper. (If you’re using buckwheat flour, make the batter just before you’re ready to fry, as it becomes gloopier by the minute.)
  4. Drop four pieces of cauliflower into the batter at a time, making sure they’re all thickly coated. 
  5. When the oil is really hot, bring the bowl over to the pan and add the batter-coated pieces of cauliflower into the pan (depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to fry between 4 and 8 fritters at a time). When they’re golden all over, drain on kitchen paper. You might need to wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and add more oil in between batches. 
  6. To make the dill-and-garlic mayonnaise, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve the cauliflower fritters with the mayo. 

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