To prepare it, dhall is roasted in a kadai, possibly with a little ghee. This is then cooled and crushed into a fine powder. Sesame seeds and coconut flakes are similarly and separately roasted and powdered. These powders are then combined with cardamom and jaggery syrup. This is then split into marble-sized balls.
A batter consisting of maida flour, rice powder, turmeric and salt is made by adding water carefully to prevent lump formation. A kadai with ghee is heated, and the marble-sized balls of kothu are deep fried.
With small variations it's called Payarram paniyaaram (In Tamil-பயற்றம்பணியாரம்) in Jaffna. Instead of jaggery, here they add sugar. They don't add sesame seeds, instead powdered cardamom with roasted cumin & pepper powder added.