Pass on the pretzels and reach for this beer snack instead. Light, crispy batter surrounds tender cauliflower in a spicy, savory bite that pairs perfectly well with lager. Plus it's vegan, just like this month's interview, Tracy Hurst.


INGREDIENTS
1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (or a little bigger than bite-sized)

2 tablespoons sweet curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Batter:
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12-oz lager or pilsner

oil for deep-frying

Start by heating the oil in a large, heavy pot.  

In a large bowl, combine the raw cauliflower with the curry, salt, turmeric, garam masala, and ground coriander. Set it aside while you prepare the batter.  

To make the batter, whisk the flours, baking powder, cumin seed, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the beer, whisking constantly, until the batter is smooth and thin and falls in ribbons from the whisk. If it seems too thick or too thin, adjust using either a tablespoon or two of water or a tablespoon or two of rice flour. Crack open a second beer and take a swig. Continue to drink during the next step.

When the oil reaches 375 F, dunk individual cauliflower florets in the batter, completely coating them, then carefully lower into the hot oil.  Fry, turning occasionally, until the batter is crispy and a deep golden brown.  Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Cilantro-Mint Chutney (recipe below) and a crisp lager such as Metropolitan's Dynamo. 

Cilantro-Mint Chutney

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, packed
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup water

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until you get smooth, but still textured, sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.