Pea Kachoris (Maṭar Kachori – मटर कचौड़ी)

I have a lot of Indian cookbooks, and therefore a lot of kachori recipes. These recipes all seem to make really spicy kachoris, using minced peas. I don’t put quite as much chilli in mine (I like hot food; it’s just that, after much experimentation, I prefer them this way), but I add more lemon juice than my other recipes say and use whole peas. My reason for this is that I love the pop of zingy-sweet freshness that you get when you bite in and the peas start to explode in your mouth. I always make these first, so that we can snack on them as a starter before our main meal (don’t make too many in advance though, otherwise you’ll end up not needing the main meal). This is also one of my husband’s favourite foods, so I always make a lot so we can have them cold for lunch the next day too.

Matar Kachori

This recipe will make about 15 to 20 kachoris.

The pea filling ingredients:

kachori filling

Peas (Maṭar / मटर) – about 500g (I use frozen)
Black mustard seeds (Kālē sarasōṁ kē bīja / काले सरसों के बीज) – 2 ½ teaspoons
Cumin seeds (Jīrā / जीरा) – 2 ½ teaspoons
Asafoetida (Hīṅga / हींग) – 1 teaspoon
Salt (namaka / नमक)– 1 ½ teaspoons
Ground turmeric (Haldī / हल्दी) – 1 heaped teaspoon
Green finger chillies (harī mirca / हरी मिर्च) – 2/3, with or without seeds, depending on how hot you want them to turn out
Garlic (Lahasuna / लहसुन) – 2/3 cloves, the fatter the better
Desiccated coconut (Sūkhā nāriyala / सूखा नारियल) – 4 tablespoons
Sesame seeds (Tila kē bīja / तिल के बीज) – 2 ½ tablespoons
Juice of 2 ½ lemons (Nīmbū / नींबू)

The dough ingredients:

kachori dough

Plain flour – 250g
A big pinch of salt
Ghī (घी) – 1 teaspoon
Tepid water – however much you need for the right consistency dough (it won’t be much, less than a cup – as in mug or measurement)

You’ll also need some flavourless cooking oil for frying both the pea filling and the kachoris themselves.

The recipe:

  • Heat a little oil or ghī in a shallow frying pan, and add your mustard and cumin seeds and asafoetida.
  • Once the spices begin to pop, add your crushed garlic and finely chopped chillies.
  • After a minute or so, add the rest of the ingredients for the filling. I usually add the juice of 1 lemon, and taste once the peas have cooked for a few minutes (until they go from being frozen to softer, but not necessarily cooked through because they’ll continue cooking once they’re fried). You can always add more lemon juice before filling the dough.
  • Take off the heat and leave to cool a little (just so you can handle the mixture).
  • Meanwhile, make the dough by slowly adding tepid water to the flour, salt and ghī. You probably won’t need that much.
  • Knead your dough into a soft ball, then into small balls about the size of a walnut.
  • At this point put your oil for frying on.
  • One at a time, roll the balls flat, place the flattened dough on the palm of your hand and add about 2-3 teaspoons of filling.
  • Next, start to close your hand so that the filling starts to become encased in the dough. You will need to gently pull the four corners of the dough ball together and squeeze them together at the top to form a ball about the size of a golf ball.
  • Fry in batches of 4/5, until golden brown, and drain on kitchen paper.

kachori dough ballsBalls of kachori dough

rolling kachorisStuffing your kachoris

kachoris fryingFrying your kachoris

My notes on this recipe:

  • Always make the filling first, because it will cool down enough for you to handle it while you’re making the dough.
  • For best results you will need to constantly keep an eye on how hot your oil is during the frying process. I don’t have any fancy gadgets here, but you can see whether your oil is about the right temperature by looking at the colour of the kachoris as they’re frying, and how long it is taking for them to fry. I usually start by having my oil really hot so that they sizzle when they go in, then reduce the temperature to a medium heat, and turn it up again, briefly, if they’re taking ages. Obviously if you have a deep-fat-fryer then you don’t have to mess around with this (I don’t have one because there are too many delicious sounding deep-fried recipes I want to try, and my waistline says I mustn’t get in the habit of deep-frying stuff)!
  • You will need to turn the kachoris over a few times too, so that they colour evenly all the way round.

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