Vepudus are fried (but not deep fried) or stir fried dishes from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Crisp, fried foods are a basic part of the meal and add a textural element when served alongside a plain tadka dhal. In Andhra or Telangana, vepudu is made using vegetables such as okra or small tender brinjals and I have used the same technique for zucchini.
4 plump zucchini
3 tablespoons chick pea flour (besan)
1 tablespoon ground cashew nut
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon chilli powder (mild or moderate hot)
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Wash, top and tail the zucchini. Depending on how big your zucchini is, cut in half or thirds. Put the zucchini piece upright on your cutting board and make a slit of about 3 centimetres down towards the centre. Do the same on the other side but in the opposite direction to the top end slit. So if you do one left to right, then make the other one north to south so if the slits were to meet they would make quarters of the piece of zucchini. However you do not want them in quarters and do not want the slits to meet.
In a bowl mix the chick pea flour, ground cashew nut, cumin seeds, garlic, chilli powder and salt. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil and mix with your fingers. It should look like bread crumbs. Use your fingers to stuff the zucchini pieces with the chick pea flour mix in the slits being careful not to break the piece in half. If there is any leftover mix, reserve this to sprinkle on top of the fried zucchini in the end.
Heat a heavy based fry pan and add the remaining oil. When hot enough add all the zucchini pieces and set your pan on high heat. Cover with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes. Using two spoons or tongs gently turn them over and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for a further 3 -4 minutes. Remove lid, reduce heat to low sprinkle a tablespoon of water and let cook until everything is evenly roasted. About 12-15 minutes. Serve hot as a side dish to your Indian meal.