Is fried cauliflower regional?
May 20, 2008 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Is fried cauliflower a regional dish? Have you ever had it at a restaurant, and if so, where?

Recently, on a trip back to my hometown, (in Western Illinois, along the Mississippi River), I had some fried cauliflower at a local tavern. It was really surprisingly delicious. However, I have never seen it offered anywhere else. I'm trying to get a sense of the regional geography of delicious delicious fried snacks.
posted by LucretiusJones to Food & Drink (39 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure about it being regional, but fried cauliflower is a regular (well, regular for the big get-together-type meals) side dish for the Italian-American side of my family in Central New York.
posted by stefnet at 2:43 PM on May 20, 2008

It's all over Indiana like dandelions.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:44 PM on May 20, 2008

I've had it in southern Michigan, but it's not as common as zuchini.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:44 PM on May 20, 2008

I've had it. I'm from Iowa. Generally a local bar is a great place to find almost anything fried.
posted by sanka at 2:46 PM on May 20, 2008

I've had it ... it was made by a girl from Brazil.
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:47 PM on May 20, 2008

I think my college cafeteria in Iowa had fried cauliflower. They definitely had fried dill pickles and breaded fried assorted vegetables.

I was too scared to try any of them. I did, however, enjoy the nearby Maid-Rite's fried cheese curds. (The rest of Maid-Rite also scares me.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:48 PM on May 20, 2008

Fried cauliflower is very common in India -- both batter-fried and fried as in stir-fried. Not sure which one you mean. It's also common to dunk it in spicy-sweet sauce to make Gobi (cauliflower) Manchurian. Mmmmm.
posted by peacheater at 2:56 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Is there an established point where a foodstuff goes from being "yeah, I didn't know what to do with this so I fried it" to "this is traditional regional cuisine"?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:57 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

A local burger joint here in Ann Arbor, MI offers a variety of fried veggies, of which cauliflower is (the tastiest) one.
posted by PhatLobley at 3:02 PM on May 20, 2008

I've seen it at bars/restaurants here in the metro Detroit area that offer fairly comprehensive munchie or appetizer menus...fried cauliflower along with onion blossoms, cheese sticks, Buffalo wings, etc. (Loooves me some fried cauliflower when I can get it, by the way.)
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:08 PM on May 20, 2008

There's a regional sub chain with 30 locations in Northern New York that has this on their sides menu.
posted by saffry at 3:09 PM on May 20, 2008

I had it at a Middle Eastern joint on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.
posted by dersins at 3:12 PM on May 20, 2008

(note however, that it was not batter-dipped and fried-- it was just fried.)
posted by dersins at 3:13 PM on May 20, 2008

Response by poster: The kind I'm most interested in is the batter-dipped and fried variety, though I'm wondering about ethnic crossover sources, too, so anything's good.
posted by LucretiusJones at 3:18 PM on May 20, 2008

From the menu at my favorite Lebanese restaurant in Portland, OR:

Cauliflower florets, quickly deep-fried in olive oil, toweled dry and served with tahini. Not breaded.
posted by slowfasthazel at 3:22 PM on May 20, 2008

I've had it in Illinois and Missouri, at local family restaurant or tavern style places. I think I've seen it on Indian buffets in the Midwest as well.
posted by altcountryman at 3:29 PM on May 20, 2008

I have had it at Lebanese restaurants in Michigan and Portland (at the same deliciously amazing restaurant slowfasthazel mentioned above). Neither place battered or breaded it.
posted by click at 3:33 PM on May 20, 2008

Deep friend cauliflower is very common in central Europe, particularly the Czech Republic. Most pubs serve it, as well as deep fried cheese. I think most every cuisine that embraces the deep fryer has zeroed in on cauliflower.

Personally I love my cauliflower roasted until it's caramelized.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:37 PM on May 20, 2008

The Graduate College at Princeton serves fried cauliflower with little bits of chopped egg. Quite tasty for cafeteria food.
posted by vincele at 3:41 PM on May 20, 2008

I've had it a few times, always in those kind of amalgamated middle eastern/greek places (you know, the ones that serve shawarma, falafel, souvlaki, etc but don't own up to any specific region/country?). Deep fried, not battered though, just crisped to the point of browning and tossed on a plate. Delicious.
posted by SassHat at 3:46 PM on May 20, 2008

I know cauliflower is not broccoli but it is similar so i thought I would just add that Red Lobster Restaurants serve fried broccoli and red bellpeppers alongside their fried calamari.
posted by fogonlittlecatfeet at 4:06 PM on May 20, 2008

There's a restaurant here in town (NoCal) that claims to be authentically check, and they have it on the menu.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:07 PM on May 20, 2008

Jesus Christ. Authentically "Czech."

Stupid allergies.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:07 PM on May 20, 2008

I've had fried cauliflower at restaurants and falafel/shwarma stands in Israel.
posted by camcgee at 4:17 PM on May 20, 2008

It is Lebanese, sans batter.
posted by Pants! at 4:18 PM on May 20, 2008

Data point: We made it at home semi-regularly in St. Louis.
posted by chrisamiller at 4:49 PM on May 20, 2008

I'll second Thorzdad, it's all over Indiana. In southern (mostly German) Indiana, it comes with a side of horseradish sauce. Nowhere to be found in north Texas, sadly...
posted by ktrey at 5:05 PM on May 20, 2008

I've always thought it was German and have only seen it at a few German restaurants in the midwest, specifically in Minnesota. It's super easy to make, though, if you can't find it: just dip it in egg and breadcrumbs and then pan-fry in butter. Or, if you want to be healthier-- bake it.
posted by veryhappyheidi at 5:10 PM on May 20, 2008

Chiming in with the Michigan sightings. Lord, I forgot about how good fried cauliflower is.
posted by Stewriffic at 6:02 PM on May 20, 2008

Nth in Middle Eastern joints, in Ottawa, Canada.
posted by kmennie at 6:28 PM on May 20, 2008

Another vote for Michigan, Lebanon, and Lebanese in Michigan: Cauliflower panfried with tahini and served over fish, oh mama.
posted by BinGregory at 6:56 PM on May 20, 2008

Fried cauliflower, with cheesy breaded crust, is very common here in central Kansas.
posted by amyms at 8:58 PM on May 20, 2008

had in it in western nebraska
posted by DJWeezy at 9:29 PM on May 20, 2008

The Columns on St. Charles in New Orleans used to have (back in the 80s) a great 5-7, two-for-one happy hour that included a a nice little buffet. The memories from those times that stuck with me are the opulence of the room, a certain bartender, and the fried cauliflower, in no particular order.
posted by wsg at 11:48 PM on May 20, 2008

I've developed a a stutter.
posted by wsg at 11:50 PM on May 20, 2008

Most magnificent in tempura batter, with other veggies. I love it with soy sauce. Funny enough, first had the stuff in the 70's, in a NYC chain restaurant. You could get a huge bowl full for cheap, and call it a meal for 2.
posted by Goofyy at 2:28 AM on May 21, 2008

I've had it in bars in Pennsylvania, and a variety in indian restaurants.
posted by jrishel at 4:44 AM on May 21, 2008

At a Hare Krishna dinner in Central Illinois.
posted by melissam at 7:18 AM on May 21, 2008

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