Coriander and Chickpea Flour Fritters (Kothimbir Vada)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Coriander and Chickpea Flour Fritters (Kothimbir Vadi)

Vada — or vadi — refer to a variety of fried savories or snacks that are very popular in southern India. They are commonly made with dals and spices, sometimes potatoes, and are typically served up with chutneys or soupy vegetable sambars. Enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or appetizer, or along with a meal, vadas are always welcomed.

On the rare occasions that I do order out from or visit an Indian restaurant, I always make a point of trying out the smaller bites available on the menu. Unfortunately, the city I live in is sadly lacking in quality Indian restaurants. The menus are limited, seem never to change for years on end, and all of the "curries" seem cooked in the same sauce, with more or less cayenne added according to whether the dish is requested as mild, medium or hot.

On the upside, I like to cook and explore, so I can make my own creations at home that pretty much always turn out better than those I could purchase prepared elsewhere. These vadas feature plenty of fresh coriander, chickpea flour and, of course, spices. The mixture is cooked or steamed first before cooling and frying. I shallow fried these vada rather than deep-fry them to cut down on the oil content. They make for a nice snack or appetizer along with chutney or tomato sauce or a meal accompaniment. They do come with the highly addictive label.

Coriander and Chickpea Flour Fritters (Kothimbir Vada)Coriander and Chickpea Flour Fritters (Kothimbir Vada)
Recipe by
Cuisine: South Indian
Published on November 18, 2016

Golden-brown fried chickpea flour fritters loaded with fresh coriander and spices

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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  • 1 tablespoon olive or sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 red chilies, finely chopped (seeded if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida
  • small handful of dried curry leaves, crumbled
  • 1 generous bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea (besan) flour
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • peanut oil or other cooking oil for frying
  • Line a 8 × 8 inch pan with parchment paper.

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop, add the ginger, chilies, turmeric, asafetida and dried curry leaves. Fry for a few minutes until fragrant.

  • Now add the coriander leaves, chickpea flour, brown rice flour and sea salt. Stir well to combine. Pour in the coconut milk and water and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has thickened — about 6 to 8 minutes.

  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, pressing down firmly with an oiled piece of waxed paper or oiled hands. Let the mixture rest for at least 15 minutes until firm and cool. Using the sides of the parchment paper, gently lift the mixture onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, gently cut into small squares. Add a bit of oil to the knife or cold water to prevent the knife from sticking.

  • Heat 1/2-inch of peanut or other cooking oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, fry the squares in batches, be careful not to crowd the pan and flip until golden browned on each side. Drain on paper towels.

  • Serve with your favorite chutney, as a breakfast, side or appetizer, or enjoy just as a snack.

Makes about 24 1 1/2 inch squares

Chickpea Flour Fritters

Other Indian savories you are sure to enjoy:
Mung Dal Vada
Savory Chana Dal Fritters with Tomatoes and Spices
Potato Patties Stuffed with Spiced Green Peas (Aloo Matar Tikki)
Baked Mini Vegetable Chickpea Samosas

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