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Image for Recipe - Rob Howell’s Buttermilk-Fried Celeriac

Rob Howell’s Buttermilk-Fried Celeriac

Image for Recipe - Rob Howell’s Buttermilk-Fried Celeriac
  • Time preparation 15 minutes, plus cooling
  • cook time 2 hours
  • Serve Serves 5

"Forget fried chicken, this celeriac is all you will need to satisfy your KFC cravings!" — Rob Howell

Recipes taken from Root by Rob Howell (Bloomsbury Publishing, £26). Photography © Alex Collins
  • For the celeriac
  • 1 celeriac
  • 1 litre cooking oil, for frying, plus 1 tsp for rubbing the celeriac
  • 200g buttermilk (or oat milk for a vegan version)
  • 2 tsps chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsps sesame seeds, toasted
  • Sea salt
  • 400g strong white bread flour or gluten-free flour
  • 40g corn flour
  • 2g baking powder
  • 6g garlic powder
  • 8g onion powder
  • 10g white pepper
  • 6g smoked paprika
  • 5g cayenne pepper
  • 3g ground turmeric
  • For the sauce:
  • 150g gochujang paste
  • 100ml dark soy sauce
  • 50g light brown soft sugar
  • 25ml mirin
  • 75ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 50ml sesame oil
  • 50g stem ginger and 1 tbsp syrup

For the sauce simply place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add a little water if needed to reach a nice, saucy consistency. Keep in the fridge in a sealed container until needed.

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6.

Rub the celeriac with the teaspoon of oil and then rub over a good amount of sea salt and wrap the celeriac tightly in foil. Cover with a further 4 layers of foil – this helps the celeriac almost steam itself and leaves it with an amazing texture.

Bake for about 1½ hours (the exact time will depend on the size of your celeriac), until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Then, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool in the foil for 2 hours or so.

Remove the foil and then, using a knife, remove the celeriac skin, taking as little flesh away as possible. Using your hands, tear the celeriac flesh into different sizes, so you end up with some nice, small crispy bits alongside larger pieces.

Pour the cooking oil into a deep pan until two-thirds full and heat the oil to 180°C on a cooking thermometer or until a cube of day-old bread turns golden in 60 seconds (or preheat a deep-fat fryer to 180°C).

Get 2 mixing bowls: put the buttermilk (or oat milk) in one of them and in the other put the cornflour, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and turmeric and combine well.

Using your hands, place the celeriac pieces into the buttermilk or oat milk first, then into the seasoned flour. Make sure the celeriac pieces have a good coating on them.

Fry the pieces in batches, for about 3 minutes per batch, until golden and crisp. Set aside each batch to drain on kitchen paper, while you fry the next.

Once all the pieces are fried and drained, place them in a clean mixing bowl, season them slightly with salt and coat them in the sauce. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped coriander and toasted sesame seeds.

Ingredients

  • For the celeriac
  • 1 celeriac
  • 1 litre cooking oil, for frying, plus 1 tsp for rubbing the celeriac
  • 200g buttermilk (or oat milk for a vegan version)
  • 2 tsps chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsps sesame seeds, toasted
  • Sea salt
  • 400g strong white bread flour or gluten-free flour
  • 40g corn flour
  • 2g baking powder
  • 6g garlic powder
  • 8g onion powder
  • 10g white pepper
  • 6g smoked paprika
  • 5g cayenne pepper
  • 3g ground turmeric
  • For the sauce:
  • 150g gochujang paste
  • 100ml dark soy sauce
  • 50g light brown soft sugar
  • 25ml mirin
  • 75ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 50ml sesame oil
  • 50g stem ginger and 1 tbsp syrup

Method

For the sauce simply place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add a little water if needed to reach a nice, saucy consistency. Keep in the fridge in a sealed container until needed.

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6.

Rub the celeriac with the teaspoon of oil and then rub over a good amount of sea salt and wrap the celeriac tightly in foil. Cover with a further 4 layers of foil – this helps the celeriac almost steam itself and leaves it with an amazing texture.

Bake for about 1½ hours (the exact time will depend on the size of your celeriac), until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Then, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool in the foil for 2 hours or so.

Remove the foil and then, using a knife, remove the celeriac skin, taking as little flesh away as possible. Using your hands, tear the celeriac flesh into different sizes, so you end up with some nice, small crispy bits alongside larger pieces.

Pour the cooking oil into a deep pan until two-thirds full and heat the oil to 180°C on a cooking thermometer or until a cube of day-old bread turns golden in 60 seconds (or preheat a deep-fat fryer to 180°C).

Get 2 mixing bowls: put the buttermilk (or oat milk) in one of them and in the other put the cornflour, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and turmeric and combine well.

Using your hands, place the celeriac pieces into the buttermilk or oat milk first, then into the seasoned flour. Make sure the celeriac pieces have a good coating on them.

Fry the pieces in batches, for about 3 minutes per batch, until golden and crisp. Set aside each batch to drain on kitchen paper, while you fry the next.

Once all the pieces are fried and drained, place them in a clean mixing bowl, season them slightly with salt and coat them in the sauce. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped coriander and toasted sesame seeds.

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