Chicory. Endive for my American readers. For the avoidance of doubt, those green/white leaves that, when laid out in threes, looks like the Prince of Wales' feathers.
I find its bitterness off-putting and its crunch over-powering. Yeah, I don't like the stuff.
So I posted on Twitter, wonderful wonderful Twitter, for 'recipes that make chicory not taste like chicory'.
I garnered a bunch of suggestions, including from one wag: 'Many, but none of them include chicory'. More helpful ideas were 'braise it in butter' or 'braise it in chicken stock'. The folks at @discoverendive suggested using it in a smoothie. I'm afraid I assumed they were a bot and wrote a rather derisive reply, but they took it in good humour and provided several more choices, such as wrapping it in ham and covering it in Mornay sauce.
Cookwitch, however, who is always good in a food crisis, suggested making pakoras out of it and gave me PukkaPaki's okra pakora recipe to alter. One utter failure to buy chaat masala later, and I gave it a go.
I didn't so much shred the chicory as whack a knife around on it a bit. It seemed to brown very quickly, so place it in what I once saw described as 'acidulated water'. That's water with a squeeze of lemon to you and me.
The batter, even including dry-roasting and grinding the spices, could not have been easier. I made it relatively thick, but it wasn't really thick enough. Go for a proper 'can barely move the spoon' style batter.
I did it in two batches, so I know that cold and crispy is jolly good, as is hot and crispy. In the middle, not so much. Very little of it tasted like chicory, but when it did, the bitterness was a plus.
As I didn't have amchoor (mango powder) or chaat masala, I found myself wanting salt, but I'll try it with those seasonings first.
And now I know how to make pakora batter, I'm sure I'll use it when I want something fried that's a bit more interesting than onion rings.
PS I also made a chicken stew by frying onions and leeks, browning chicken thighs and drumsticks and lobbing cider over it while I messed around with pakoras. Turned out delicious. The cider was Green Goblin.