Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dal Kachori (Lentil-Stuffed Crisp Pastries)

Dal Kachoris are delicious pastries similar to the ever popular samosas and are a great tea time favorite. They are quite simple to make but do take a bit of time; it is helpful to make the filling a day or two ahead. You can use any of the given legumes but can adjust the spices to your preference. The whole spices give a very pleasant taste treat as you munch these pastries that look like UFOs (Utterly delicious Filled Objects). :-)

The store bought Kachoris typically have very little filling - the most flavorful part! I like to really fill them with a good amount; you may wish to use less filling.

Also, my family likes the kachoris soft too - remove them sooner for soft or cook longer for crisp. They kachoris may also be rolled out thinner and cooked on the griddle for dal poori.

24 Kachoris


1 cup yellow Mung, Chana, or Urad dal or Split Peas
1 Tbsp Oil
1 tsp Whole Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
2 tsp ground coriander-cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Garam/Goda Masala
1/2 tsp Aam choor (dried Mango Powder)

1 cup Each, Whole Wheat (atta) and All purpose flour (maida)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
3 Tbsp Coconut or other oil
1/2 tsp Cumin/Ajwain seeds
1/2 - 3/4 cup cold Water


Make the filling:

Pick over the dal to remove any foreign matter or discolored dal. Wash and soak in plenty of  fresh water for at least 3 hours. Drain off water and blend or process in a food processor until coarsely ground.

Heat the oil in a kadai/skillet and add the seeds and stir for about 10 seconds; add the ground dal, turmeric, and salt. Cook over medium heat until no longer sticky; the dal should be cooked and dry but should still hold together when made into a ball.

Stir in the ground spices, stir well, cool, and store in a covered container until ready to use. When ready to use, bring to room temperature and firmly form into 24 balls.

For the dough:
Combine the flour, salt and oil in a bowl. Mix well with your fingers until the oil is incorporated into the flour.
Add the seeds and 1/2 cup of the water and knead.  Add a sprinkle of water if needed to make a firm, smooth, and elastic dough.  Cover and let rest for a few minutes or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a day.

Divide the dough into 24 equal portions and roll into smooth balls. Keep unused portions covered while you are proceeding with the recipe.

Have the dough at room temperature.

Flatten each piece of dough with you palm and gently pinch the edges to make a larger circle while keeping the center slightly thicker.

Place one ball of filling in the center of the dough and bring together the edges to the top of the filling and pinch to completely enclose.

Gently flatten the kachoris with your hand without breaking or cracking the outer covering. Proceed with the rest of the dough and filling.

After you have prepared a few filled kachoris, start warming the oil for deep frying on medium heat.

When the oil is hot but not smoking, gently drop in 3 or 4 kachoris one at a time into the hot oil and slightly lower the heat.

As soon as the kachoris begin to swell, turn over to start the other side cooking; this insures even cooking and that seams do not open up. If you gently flip the kachoris toward another one while turning, it provides a little support and eliminates splashing hot oil.

Cook the kachoris until they are nice golden brown on both sides. This should take about 7-8 minutes or so. If the oil is too hot, the kachoris will cook too fast and  not become crisp.

Remove kachoris with a slotted spoon from the hot oil and stack them on their edge in a paper towel lined tray.  Proceed with cooking the rest of the kachoris.

Stuffing kachoris - dough to filled kachori on left

Kachoris will last for about 2-3 days without refrigeration; for longer storage, they freeze well. Reheat them by placing them in a 350 F oven until warm and crisp.
Kachori - ready to eat!

Kachoris may be served warm or at room temperature with green and sweet-sour chutneys, and chole, a saucy potato, or pumpkin curry. Enjoy!!

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