Tortas de Huauzontles - Mexican Huauzontle Croquettes
Some huauzontle recipes have you leave the cooked huauzontle flower buds on the stems when coating them with the egg batter and frying, but they are much messier to eat because you have to pull the fried flower buds off the stems with your teeth. In this recipe, you completely pull off the flower buds from the stems and form croquettes, which may take more time, but it’s ultimately more aesthetic and easier to eat at the end!
- 5 roma tomatoes
- 3 to 4 serrano chilli peppers, or to taste
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion
- ¾ tablespoon chicken stock powder
- ground cumin, to taste
- salt, to taste
- ¾ tablespoon vegetable oil
- 225 g huauzontle (about 8 stems)
- water, for boiling
- 90 g oaxaca cheese (mozzarella can also be used)
- ½ cup flour
- 4 eggs
- vegetable oil, for frying
To make the sauce
- Cut the tomatoes in half and place them along with the chilli peppers on a foil-lined grill tray.
- Cook under the grill until softened and the skins are slightly blackened (about 5 minutes). Remove and set aside to cool.
- Cut the onion in half. Finely chop one of the halves and set aside. Place the other half of the onion with the garlic and the roasted tomatoes and chilli peppers in a blender. Purée until smooth.
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the remaining chopped onion, and sauté until tender.
- Pour the sauce into the saucepan. Add the chicken stock powder, cumin, and salt to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, but keep the sauce warm while preparing the huauzontle croquettes.
- Fill a large pot with water and salt generously. Set over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Rinse the huauzontle stems and flower buds in cold water. Add the huauzontle to the boiling water, reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until the flower buds are tender.
- Remove the huauzontle from the boiling water and drain, allowing it to cool for a minute or two.
- Carefully remove the flower buds from the leaves and stems as much as possible. (You need to strip the flower buds off of the stems by holding the stem with one hand and pushing the flower buds off with the other).
- Combine flour and salt to taste in a small bowl and set aside.
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites with an electric hand-mixer until they form stiff peaks.
- Carefully fold the egg yolks into the egg whites and set aside.
- Shred the cheese and set aside.
- Pour oil into a large skillet ½ - 1 cm deep and set over medium-high heat.
- Press together enough flower buds in the palm of your hand to form a small patty.
- Place a small mound of shredded cheese in the centre of each huauzontle patty.
- Close the flower buds over the cheese (adding more flower buds as necessary to completely cover the cheese), forming a small cheese-stuffed huauzontle patty or ball. Squeeze out any excess water.
- Transfer to the salted flour and cover thoroughly, carefully removing any excess.
- Coat with the egg batter and immediately transfer to the hot oil in the skillet.
- Fry until golden brown. Carefully spoon some of the hot oil over the top of the huauzontle croquette to set the batter, then flip and fry until the other side is golden brown also.
- Transfer croquette to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm. Repeat steps until you’ve used up all of the flower buds.