I was really pleased when Cranks got in touch with me and asked me to develop a recipe using “natural nasty free ingredients” for them. I have been enjoying Cranks Argi Bhaji sandwiches for quite a while but had not read much about their history so was pleasantly surprised to read that they had opened a vegetarian restaurant in London’s Carnaby Street in 1961 and it is refuted to be one of the first vegetarian restaurants in the UK. I decided to make these hot and spicy baked Kachoris which are basically a savoury pastry stuffed with lentils and fresh peas. These could also be used to make sandwiches similar to Argi bhaji too!! This recipe takes time to make but it is made from fresh and natural ingredients – even the pastry is homemade. Kachoris can be made with lots of different fillings and this time, I decided to make them with just mung dall and fresh green peas .
Ingredients : for 15 -20 kachoris depending on the size
• 1 cup of split mung beans
• 2 cups of fresh peas
• 1 onion
• Fresh green coriander
• A tablespoon of ginger paste
• I cup of cooking oil: you will need some for the filling, some for the dough and some to brush on the kachoris
• 3 cups of plain flour for making the kachori’s outer pastry.
• 1 tsps cumin seeds
• 2 or 3 small sticks of cinnamon
• 3 or 4 cloves
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp chilli powder or pepper if you like mild food.
• 1-2 fresh green chillies (optional)
• 1 -2 tsp sugar (optional)
• 1 -2 tsp lemon juice – can adjust this after tasting the kachori mixture.
• 1-2 tsps of ground cinnamon and cloves mixture
1. Wash the mung dalls and allow to soak for 15 minutes. Wash the fresh peas too.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and add in the dry cumin, cloves and cinnamon. Strain the lentils and add them to the oil. Also add in the fresh peas.
3. Add the salt, sugar, chilli powder and ginger paste and half a cup of water. Stir and allow to cook gently until the lentils and peas soften.
4. Once the mixture is cooked, add the lemon juice and the ground cinnamon and cloves mixture to it. Switch off the heat and cover the mixture for 10 minutes. Then transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Chop the coriander and onions finely and add to the cooked mixture. If you are fresh green chilies then chop them finely and add them to the mixture. Stir and allow this to cool by spreading it on a large bowl or tray.
For the pastry:
5. Sieve the dough and add in 4 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Adding the bit of extra oil to the dough helps to make the outer pastry crispy and flaky. Using warm water, prepare the dough. The dough should be quite loose but not soggy and wet. Cover and allow the dough to rest.
For the assembling of the kachoris:
7. To make the kachoris, take one small ball of dough and form it out in a small circle by pressing the dough with your fingers. Put the kachori filling in the middle of the circle. Picking the edge of the circle, try and join all the edges together to form a ball. Roll the pastry filled ball between your hands so that the lentil filling is sealed from all sides. Finish preparing all the kachoris in this way.
8. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F or gas mark 4). Brush the kachoris lightly with oil and put them in the oven for 20 minutes checking them once at 10 minutes and turning them over to allow for even cooking.
9. Enjoy the kachoris with hot chutney, ketchup, a cup of tea or a nice cold coke….the choice is yours….
Mina’s Tip: These Kachoris can be par baked and frozen too.
What filling would you like in your kachoris?
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