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I was at the supermarket peering into the deep freezer when I saw vada mix. I adore vadas, those delicious crispy mouthfuls of yumminess and asked a lady whether she thought it was a good mix. She replied “If you have a food processer, then do yourself a favour and make your own - it’s easy and it’s cheap.” So I did, and she was right, and now I am hooked.

I soaked a packet of yellow split peas (R11) overnight, rinsing well the next day. I divided it in half and cooked that gently until soft. The other half I used to make a variety of patties and poppers. Please Note: You can always use chick peas instead - they make the very best poppers and patties but are more than double the price. The yellow peas are way more economical and still very delicious. The ideas below suit both pulses.  


  • I put the cooked yellow peas into my blender to yield a really smooth, thick pea puree. A quarter of the puree I made into a soup. I braised onions; garlic; ginger; a green chilli; chopped celery leaves; and chopped carrots until tender. I then blended half of my braised veg mixture and added it to the pea puree to make a really delicious smooth soup which I served with homemade wholewheat croutons, rubbed with a little garlic and fried in a little coconut oil.
  • I took another quarter of the puree and simply stirred it into the other half of the braised vegetables, added a little boiling water and a dash of coconut cream, some fresh chilli and some chopped coriander leaves to make a really delicious noodle sauce.
  • The other half  of the puree, I left cold, dressing with lemon juice; olive oil; garlic; finely chopped fresh coriander leaves; salt and pepper; chilli flakes; cumin powder; and a shake of cinnamon, to make a dip or a cracker spread. Stored in a glass jar in the fridge, it lasts well.

In the processor I combined the remainder of the soaked yellow peas with a chopped onion; two cloves of garlic; a knob of ginger; two red chilli, seeds and all; some fresh coriander leaves; cumin powder; cinnamon powder; salt and black pepper. The result should be quite coarse and grainy. If you like a chunky texture, then grind the peas separately and just add the other ingredients after processing. Place the mixture in a bowl and add a cup of ground almond and/or enough gram flour to give you a slightly stiffer mixture.

  • Heat some oil to fry at medium heat and form the mixture into little balls, frying for 5 minutes, turning periodically to ensure the inside is also nicely cooked. Place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil and eat hot, with a dipping sauce, either as a starter or as a snack. You can also pop them into a pita pocket, adding chopped salad and tahini cream. Coat the inside of the pita bread with your homemade split pea spread.


  • Add extra gram flour or ground almonds to make the mixture stiff enough to form a patty. Roll in fine breadcrumbs or ground nut flour, and shallow fry in coconut oil at medium heat, turning when crispy and golden. If preferred, lay the patties on a pre-oiled baking sheet, brush with melted coconut oil and bake at 180o c until golden - around 20 minutes.

Serve these yummy patties on a hamburger roll with all the usual trimmings; OR as part of an autumn salad buffet with potato salad, green salad and coleslaw, pickles, beetroot slices, cheese and rolls; OR make fabulous sandwiches! Take fresh bread, cut off the crusts and spread with mayo. Flatten a patty to fit the bread and spread with a nice sweet chilli sauce. Cut in quarters and serve on shredded lettuce.

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