Three years ago, on the 25th of December, my mom-in-law passed away. I think instead of using the words ‘passed away’, she found peace, would be putting it rightly. She suffered from schizophrenia for almost 40 years, and led a very troubled life. It’s an illness that ravages the victim’s mind, their entire system, and leaves them in a pitiful state.
Medicines, antipsychotic drugs do nothing much but hold them together, somehow, leaving the victim with severe side-effects that affect every part of their bodies. Aai suffered those, too. But, she did not let that come in the way of her favourite activity – cooking.
Her hands would tremble severely. She would often forget the recipe and ask me the proportions for the dish she worked on. But, in spite of it all, not once did she falter while preparing a dish. Not once did she go wrong with the salt, or the spices or even the sugar that would go into a dish.
Just imagine cooking with hands that shake violently. One would just quit cooking, altogether. But, not Aai. She persevered in every way she could and came out with a recipe that was simply out of the world!
She was a master of quite a many recipes. I not being much of a cook, learnt a lot from observing her. I couldn’t master much, but there are a few recipes that I learnt to prepare over the years. One among them is the ‘Kothimbir Vadi’, or to translate it roughly, ‘Coriander cutlets’.
We do find it at restaurants, or eateries, but the way its made according to her recipe, you actually get to taste and smell the goodness of coriander in every bite.
Sharing the recipe of this snack that’s easy to prepare and also takes very little time.
Coriander – 1 bunch
Gram flour (besan) – 1 bowl (katori)
Rice flour – half a bowl (optional)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander-Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – for kneading.
Remove the stalks of the coriander and wash it thoroughly. Leave it in a colander for the water to drain. Then, chop it roughly. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder and salt. Be careful with the salt, though!
Add the gram flour one spoon at a time. The flour is to bind it all well, so add only as much as is needed to bind the leaves together till you get a dough. Add a spoon of oil and bring it all together.
Take a portion of it and make it into a roll. Or, in a greased plate, pat it into a thin layer. This needs to be steamed, so if you plan on steaming it into a pressure cooker, you may place the rolls in a vessel and steam it for about 20 minutes, without the whistle.
If you plan on doing it in an idli maker, place the plate on a vessel with boiling water and cover it. In short, steam it like you would steam idli, or dhokla, for 20 to 25 minutes.
Once done, remove from the stove and allow it to cool. Cut thin slices, or in diamond shapes (Vadi) and shallow fry till brown on both sides. If you like it crispy, fry for longer.
It’s really an easy recipe. Do try it out and let me know how it turned out. This method of adding the flour as per your need gives the vadi the taste and aroma of coriander. There is another, more popular method of preparing it, where a batter of besan is prepared and the coriander leaves are mixed in it. This method gives the vadi a very flour-y taste – the kind Aai was not very fond of, and neither am I.
Have you tried this recipe, yourself? It is one of the most famous Maharashtrian snack, but prepared in different ways by people across the state. Do try it out and let me know how you liked it.