Wednesday, 7 August 2013

South Indian Zucchini aka Courgette Kofta in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Deep or shallow fried, this Indian spiced batter wrapped tightly around its chosen vegetable always pleases guests.  Its also a great hunger pang cure as its pretty quick to knock up with most vegetables to hand, just be careful with the water content in the vegetable - you may need to squeeze some of the excess liquid out. 

Anyway, a few good years ago, when I had a glut of courgettes from growing my own, I did make a courgette variation and they were very taste indeed.  At the time, I was not a huge fan of courgettes, but I found myself converted when the courgettes were cooked this way - spiced, frazzled and shallow fried.   

If you want to elevate this dish further and want to make more of a meal from it, I mean move away from finger food fritter snack to a good plate of food, then think 'kofta'.  Kofta is another word for 'meatballs' except these are not made with meat, but vegetables, namely courgettes known by the name of zucchini to some of us.  Cook the batter more in round drops, rather than free-fall style, so that they resemble little 'balls', when they are all cooked add them to a spicy tomato sauce (recipe below) and serve with plain Basmati rice - really delicious.
I am sharing this recipe at  Fat Tuesday hosted by Real Food Forager and  Ricki at Diet, Dessert, Dogs for her Wellness Weekends 8-12 August.
South Indian Courgette Kofta  in Spicy Tomato Sauce
You will needs a deep fat fryer for this recipe.
Serves 6
For the courgette koftas
700 – 750g courgettes, grated
1 medium onion, finely sliced
100g chickpea flour
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
2 – 4 green chillies, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
For the spicy tomato sauce

8 tomatoes, roughly chopped (or in the winter 1 x 400ml tin of tomatoes)
4 green chillies
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of garam masala
6 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Salt to taste
For the courgette koftas

Squeeze the grated courgettes of its excess liquid. Then place all the kofta ingredients in a large bowl an mix well with your hands or a wooden spoon.
Heat the oil for deep or shallow frying. Then drop large tablespoons worth into the oil, turn them carefully so that they are golden all over, which will take about 4 minutes. Remove and drain on layers of kitchen towel to absorb excess oil. Keep doing this until all the batter is used.

For the spicy tomato sauce
In a food processor, blend the tomatoes, chilli, ginger and spices to a smooth puree. Season with salt to taste. Then in a wide pan, heat the oil. Add the blended sauce to the pan and fry over high heat for a few minutes. Then lower the heat and simmer for 35 – 40 minutes, about halfway through the process add about 200ml water to loosen the sauce.
When sauce is ready, gently add the koftas and heat together for a few minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve with naan bread or plain boiled rice.


  1. Hello Shaheen,

    The pepper pot is divine, although I think the aubergines could have roasted a bit longer...Will this keep in the freezer? I wasn't sure because of the coconut milk?

    The aubergines and peppers were so large I only used one of each, and as I have an apartment sized oven, it took two small trays to roast one large aubergine cubed...that may be why it did not roast completely.

    I hope you do not mind me mentioning you or your lovely cooking on my blog. Cheers!

    1. Oh Thank you so muh e.

      I do hope you had a good birthday and thank you so much for the link to my blog. Already been intro'd to one of your readers.

      You should be able to freeze it, but I have never done so. The coconut milk should be fine, its the peppers and aubergine that I'd worry about more as it'd change the texture on heating from frozen. But you can try and see what you think.

  2. This looks lovely Shaheen. Here we call courgettes Zucchini, but I think they are the same. cheers Wendy

    1. Yes Wendy they are the same. So good to hear from you too.

  3. Sounds wonderful and perfectlt timed for my glut of huge courgettes!

  4. About a month ago, when I was swamped with zucchini (courgettes), I made a version of this from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe from one of her early books. Not exactly the same as your version, but similar enough in concept that I can recommend to your readers that they try this. A very different way to serve up this vegetable that we so often have a glut of in the summer, and it makes a great main dish for vegetarians. Your version looks every bit as good, and is vegan to boot.

    1. These fried bites are so popular in South Asian culture, so I am not surprised that you found a version in the Queen of Indian Cooking Madhur Jaffreys book, you'll also finds variations on the web too.

      Its lovely to make your acquaintance Melissa.

  5. perfect!, there is a lot of very king people whom give me lots of courgettes...need some lovely ideas like that!


If you’ve tried one of my recipes, Please let me know by leaving a comment below or tagging me social media with @SeasonalShaheen.

Thank You