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Flores de Calabaza (aka Squash Blossoms)

On almost every trip to the mercados or grocery stores here in Mexico, I find myself admiring the flores de calabaza, a.k.a. squash blossoms. Not being a fan of actual squash, I consider these guys by far the best thing to emerge from the squash family:

These flowers are begging to be purchased.

These flowers are begging to be purchased.

I never got around to actually buying them due to a lack of brilliant recipe ideas. The flores de calabaza are beautiful, but I’ve tried them in a couple soups at restaurants where they didn’t do much for me… But then, somehow I caught wind of the phrase Flores de Calabaza Rellenas de Queso (stuffed w/cheese). This sounded much more promising. I bought a bunch of flowers 6 months ago with hot plans to research this, but learned the hard way that the flowers should really be used within a few days after purchase. (i.e. when stored in a plastic bag in the crisper for a week, they turn into arse.)

Then a few months back, while trying to find something I liked on the menu at Villa Maria (traditional Mexican restaurant in Polanco that is popular with locals & tourists alike; great atmosphere but the food often leaves you wanting), I spotted “Crujiente flor de calabaza alegría tropical” which was described as being filled with a cheese mousse. Sold. This dish was quickly added to my list of “The Only Thing I Like to Eat When We Take Tourists to villa Maria”, as well as to my “Must Learn to Make” notes-to-self.

The cheese-stuffed flores de calabaza appetize at Villa Maria in Polanco. Be forewarned-- when we visited most recently, we only got 3 on a plate vs. 4 a few months ago. Weak, Villa Maria. Weak.

The cheese-stuffed flores de calabaza appetize at Villa Maria in Polanco. Be forewarned-- when we visited most recently, we only got 3 on a plate vs. 4 a few months ago. Weak, Villa Maria. Weak.

Finally last nite, I was inspired to give the cheese-stuffed squash blossoms a shot. To get in the Mexico cooking spirit, I decided to use a recipe off a video from some kind of morning show on Mexican TV. (If you don’t want to watch the slightly-annoying male host dance in place, you can find the ingredients listed here sans-video, but they got a couple of the Tablespoon/teaspoon labels wrong.)

First I rinsed the blossoms & clipped off their stems & stamens. After mixing up the cheese filling, I stuffed all the flowers with it.

First I rinsed the blossoms & clipped off their stems & stamens. After mixing up the cheese filling, I stuffed all the flowers with it.

Here are the flowers waiting to be breaded with flour, egg whites & bread crumbs. The one in the upper right is ready to be fried!

Here are the flowers waiting to be breaded with flour, egg whites & bread crumbs. The one in the upper right is ready to be fried!

Here are the final results, after about 6-7 seconds in the hot oil. Don't be fooled by their fried-chicken-foot-esque appearance! They are quite tasty, and nice served with a little salsa verde.

Here are the final results, after about 6-7 seconds in the hot oil. Don't be fooled by their fried-chicken-foot-esque appearance! They are quite tasty, and nice served with a little salsa verde.

Our first flores de calabaza endeavor was quite a success, as verified by a few neighbors we called over to avoid eating 12 cheese nuggets by ourselves… :) I would definitely make them again as an app for a dinner party… though they are perhaps a little too futzy for your average Monday night.

Below you can find the recipe I used in English. In the future I might try a recipe like this that has more of a batter coating vs. breadcrumbs, but I like keeping the breading pretty light/minimal. I may also have to test out this tasty-looking quesadilla recipe with my new squash blossom friends!

Flores de Calabaza Rellenas de Queso (Cheese-Stuffed Squash Blossoms)

  • 12 squash blossoms, rinsed & dried (can remove stamen if you want, but not critical)
  • 100 grams (~1/2 cup) goat cheese (recipe calls for queso fresco, but I like the stronger flavor of goat cheese)
  • 80 grams (~1/2 cup) cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon green onion, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon epazote, minced (if you can’t find epazote, substitute some oregano or coriander or leave it out entirely)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • 100 grams (~1/2 cup) bread crumbs
  • ~2 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • I ignored the 150 grams of chopped mushrooms ingredient, but add it if you wish!
  1. Mix the two cheeses together along with the green onion
  2. Sauté the garlic & epazote together in the butter for a few minutes; let cool briefly & mix into cheeses.
  3. Put the cheese filling into a small plastic sandwich bag, and cut off one of the corners to use it as a pastry bag.
  4. Fill the blossom with the cheese mixture, and wrap the petals around the cheese on the open end.
  5. Roll the filled blossom in flour, then in egg whites, then in bread crumbs.
  6. Fry briefly in the hot oil, turning it, just until golden brown.
  7. Serve immediately while still hot!

Notes– a candy thermometer would be nice to maintain a hot oil temp of ~375F, so it doesn’t burn the breading.  Also, I think a process of: egg -> flour -> egg -> bread crumbs might be more effective than the recipe’s directions of flour -> egg -> bread crumbs.

Anyone out there have any other flor de calabaza recipes worth a try??

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6 Comments on “Flores de Calabaza (aka Squash Blossoms)”

  1. #1 Gaby
    on Feb 10th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    WOW ! Flores de Calabaza are considered “fancy” by us Mexicans, and you did a great job! It’s impressive =)

  2. #2 kim
    on Feb 10th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    the quesadilla recipe looks fine, but I would think that the poblanos added to it overwhelm the delicate flowers. try substituting chopped, seeded tomatoes instead to let the flores come thorugh, and when you put them in the quekas, use a slotted spoon so there is less liquid and you avoid getting the masa/tortilla soggy instead of crisp.

  3. #3 Masa Assassin
    on Feb 11th, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Fantastic! Wonderful Job Thanks for sharing I’m going to have to try this.

  4. #4 Jesus Chairez
    on Feb 11th, 2010 at 1:59 am

    I have tried the Flores de Calabaza before in a quesadilla and as a soup. Though I thought they were OK. I used to be clear that I would not try the blossoms again: until I read this post. You have a recipe with pictures that make them look so tasty. Now I will give them another try – at home.

  5. #5 Taqueria La Bamba, Fullerton | ocfoodreviews
    on Mar 25th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    [...] not only good, Authentic! – both in its preperation and flavor!  I had the Quesadilla con flor de calbaza (squash blossom) and my hubby had the Quesaddilla con carne asada.  We shared an agua de fresa [...]

  6. #6 Pancho Villa in Concord « lunchburb
    on Jul 26th, 2012 at 10:52 am

    [...] forms and lamb. Other items include quesadillas with huitlacoche (“corn smut”) or flores de calabaza (squash blossoms), huaraches (no, not the sandals), machitos (“ingredients in machito include [...]