Prepare the artichokes by removing the stems and the half dozen or so lower leaves around the base. Trim sharp-looking bits and cut off the tips if they are a bit woody. Cut them in half lengthways and remove any furry inner parts (though you’re unlikely to find these in small artichokes). Toss in flour immediately to prevent discolouring.
Heat up plenty of good-quality cooking oil in a deep pan or deep-fryer to 180°C/350°F. Mix the fennel seeds, cumin seeds and spring onions into the batter and then drop in the flour-dusted artichokes. Fry as many as will fit comfortably in the pan and stir them gently after a minute. Carefully tip over any that are cooking only on one side. They should be ready after 3-4 minutes – they’re done when a skewer can be pushed easily through the centre. Drain them on absorbent paper and eat while still warm.
© 1997 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.