This Christmas my sons gave me some really thoughtful gifts – some of which took me by surprise.
The gift I really enjoyed and am still enjoying is a cookery book called “Hansa’s – more than just a restaurant, it’s my life“– written by Hansa Dhabi the owner of Hansa’s restaurant in Leeds, UK. The book takes you through her life’s journey and also shares with the reader- some of her recipes. My sons said that they hoped that this book would inspire me to publish a book of my recipes. Only time will tell if I can achieve that ambition. At the moment, I am having fun trying out new recipes – one of which was for Khasta Kachori Recipe (lentil filled pastry topped with onions and chutney).
I made these Khasta kachoris as a starter for my New Year’s party and served them in Hansa’s restaurant style. I made some changes to the recipe but I don’t think it made any changes to the taste of the dish. They went down a treat with everyone.
Hot and spicy Khasta kachoris are one of my favourite snacks. Kachoris can be made with lots of different fillings but I usually make them with mung dall. Hansa’s recipe uses mung dall which is soaked and ground but I decided to make them with a variety of mung dalls and frozen peas and not grind the filling.
Ingredients for making 15 large or 25 small kachoris:
Time 60 minutes.
½ cup of dehusked split mung beans
½ cup of a mixture split but husked mung beans
1 cup of frozen peas
1 medium onion
Fresh green coriander
A tablespoon of mixed garlic and ginger paste
2 to 3 green chillies – depends on how hot you like your food!
1.5 litres cooking oil: you will need some for the lentil mixture, some for the dough and some for frying.
2 cups of plain flour for making the kachori’s outer covering
1 teaspoons of dry cumin
2 or 3 sticks of cinnamon
3 or 4 cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon chilly powder or pepper if you like mild food.
1 -2 teaspoons sugar (optional) – I like my kachoris to have a sweet and sour type of taste.
1 -2 tablespoons lemon – again adjust this after tasting the kachori mixture.
1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon and cloves mixture (optional)
2 cups of sev (recipe here) This is readily available in most supermarkets & Indian grocery stores
1 cup of chevdo (recipe here)(optional) This is readily available in most supermarkets & Indian grocery stores
½ cup of tamarind sauce (I used Maggie’s tamarind sauce which is available in most supermarkets & Indian grocery stores)
½ cup of Red chilly sauce (I used Maggie’s red chilly sauce which is available in most supermarkets & Indian grocery stores)
1. Wash the two mung dalls and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes (or longer if possible).
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add in the dry cumin, cloves and cinnamon
3. Strain the lentils and add them to the oil – I usually use a long slotted spoon to gently add the lentils to the hot oil. Whilst straining the dall, don’t worry if it’s not too dry as this will give some moisture to cook the lentil mixture.
4. Add the salt, sugar, chilly powder, ginger and garlic paste.
5. Stir and allow to cook gently for 5 to 6 minutes.
6. Add in the frozen peas and allow to cook for further 5 minutes.
7. As I didn’t want to add water to my mixture, I transferred my kachori mixture to the microwave for 6 minutes, checked it, stirred it and cooked it for a further 5 minutes.The lentils need to be cooked completely so do sprinkle a tablespoon or two of water if you feel it needs it.
8. Once the mixture is cooked, add the lemon juice to it, add the ground cinnamon and cloves mixture to it.
9. Cut the coriander, green chillies and onions finely and add to the kachori mixture together and mix well.
10. Cook it for a couple of minutes in the microwave and transfer it to a mixing bowl.
TIP: If for some reason, the lentils are cooked and you have added too much water – allow the water to evaporate. You can add a couple of tablespoon’s of potato mash to soak up the extra moisture. Also taste the mixture and make adjustments.
11. Spread the mixture to enable it to cool.
12. In the meantime, prepare the dough.
13. Sieve the dough and add in 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Adding the bit of extra oil to the dough helps to make the outer pastry crisp but nice and flaky too.
14. Using warm water ( I needed a little over half a cup), mix and prepare the dough.. The dough should be pliable and not be too firm.
15. Cover and allow the dough to rest.
16. Now back to the kachori filling- Divide the filling into 15 or 25 small balls. For parties, I would suggest making small kachoris.
17. Mix the dough and divide it into a similar number.
17. Now take a small amount of dough and roll it out in a small circle.
18. Flatten the kachori filling in the middle of the circle.
19. Picking the edge of the circle, try and join all the edges together to form a ball. I tend to go round the circle joining up small bits of the outer circle.
20. The ball should be sealed from all sides or the mixture will leak out when frying.
21. Now dust your work top with some plain flour and using your fingers press the kachori into a round puri shape. You can also use a rolling pin if you find this easier.
22. Heat the oil . Drop a small tiny piece of dough into the oil. If it rises up, the oil is ready for frying. Lower the heat and add the kachoris to the oil, and allow them to cook slowly. Tap them gently with a slotted spoon or a skimmer and they should puff up. Cook them until they are crispy and and golden brown.
23. To serve the khasta kachori, take one kachori at a time, open the top layer by cutting a square on the kachori.
24. Spread some green chutney on the kachori and sprinkle some sev on this.
25. Add some onions, topped up by tamarind sauce and chilly sauce and finishing with more onions and a chevda topping. The sweet and sour taste with all the crunchy toppings was perfect for us.
26. Our guests loved topping up their kachoris according to their taste. Some guests even added yogurt to their topping so I hope that you too will try different toppings to pick the best taste for you.