Vegetarian
Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes

Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes

I enjoy eating fried food items from time to time (who doesn’t?). I especially like thinking of new foods to fry. These Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes have been floating around my head since I watched the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, years ago.

I’ll admit that while I thought the idea was inventive and sounded good in theory, I wasn’t sure they would actually work. Plus, I wondered if I could eat more than a few in one sitting. Reading this now, it sounds ridiculous.

Sigh….these Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes are good. They’re very, very good. So don’t attempt them unless you’re willing to deal with wanting to eat them at every opportunity. Crunchy on the outside, spicy and soft on the inside. Sometimes I dust them with a bit of parmesan cheese, which I know is unnecessary, but so good. You’ll be thinking “Where have you BEEN all my life? Must. Have. Them.”

Originally, I assumed fried green tomatoes hailed from the South, because of the 1991 chick-flick. However, Robert F. Moss, a food historian and writer determined they entered the American culinary scene in the Northeast and Midwest and were actually linked to Jewish immigrants. Thinking about this, it makes sense from a geographical standpoint. Colder temperatures arrive earlier in the Northeast and Midwest, making it necessary to harvest green, unripe tomatoes early. And come to think of it, these tomatoes could be easily substituted for potato latkes during Hanukkah festivities.

Essentially this recipe, makes use of unripe tomatoes, the ones that get plucked from the vine before they have matured. Really then, this recipe and its original variations were created out of necessary (See what I did there? Convincing myself that frying tomatoes is needed). Really any variety of tomato will work, but my parents only grew Roma tomatoes this year, so that is what I used for the recipe. However, I imagine green cherry tomatoes would be exceptional and oh so cute.

Now don’t be trying this recipe with regular ripe, red tomatoes. It won’t work. Green, unripe tomatoes are firmer and drier than ripe ones, so they have less of a tendency to disintegrate when you put them in hot oil. Plus, green tomatoes are usually rock hard have a great acid from the extra bitter seeds and sour flavour. Once fried they have a tart flesh under the crispy coating, which is the perfect vehicle for sauce.

My Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes have a sensational crisp coating. It’s was imperative to maximize the coating-to-tomato ratio. I think I mastered it. My secret is to use two different coatings: a spicy chickpea flour/buttermilk coating and then a dredging of fine cornmeal. When you dip the tomato in the delicious chickpea coating and then dredge in the cornmeal, a crispy crunch develops when it lands in the hot oil. It’s the perfect texture to go with the firm, slightly acidic tomato inside.

Chickpea flour is readily available in health food shops, along with many ethnic groceries. It is also known as besan, chana flour, and garbanzo bean flour. You can even make your own out of whole, dry chickpeas if you have a grain mill (I haven’t done this, and have no desire to do this).

My parents, who are vegetarians, remind me constantly that chickpea flour has protein and many vitamins and minerals like folate, iron and calcium. For those vegetarians and vegans out there, chickpea flour can be used instead of regular flour. It’s important though to break up any lumps, and increase the liquid in a recipe by 1/4 cup.

This recipe is not deep frying. It actually uses the technique of shallow frying. However, please exercise enormous caution when lowering things into hot oil and flipping them. Please don’t be shy with the Himalayan salt after the tomatoes have fried. I am aware that salt went into the chickpea batter, but trust me, salt after frying is mandatory.

These Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes are eyes-roll-back-in-your-head good. They are simple to make with a huge payoff. Pair with the dip of your choice: Turmeric Aioli (recipe forthcoming) or Butter Chicken Sauce (that’s what’s pictured).

Double Dipped Fried Green Tomatoes

10 to 15 Green Roma Tomatoes, sliced lengthwise into thirds
Chickpea Coating Batter
1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups of buttermilk
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1 teaspoon rai (ground mustard seed)
2 teaspoons ground garam masala
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground, chipotle pepper powder
Cornmeal coating
1 cup fine cornmeal
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper

4 cups of vegetable oil for shallow frying
Himalayan pink salt
Butter Chicken Sauce

Directions 

In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients of chickpea coating batter, whisk until very smooth. In a pie plate, combine the cornmeal, paprika, chili powder, and black pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Dip each tomato slice in the chickpea batter and then dredge in the cornmeal coating. Set aside on the lined baking sheet. Continue until all the slices are done.
Heat the oil in a deep, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Gently place 1/3 of the battered tomato slices into the hot oil and cook for a couple minutes on the first side. Carefully turn them over and cook a couple more minutes, until they’re an even golden brown. Using the slotted spoon transfer the fried tomatoes to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with Himalayan Pink Salt.

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