South Asians have a long standing love affair with deep fried street food. Samosas and Kachoris are two of the most popular, undoubtedly, because they are cheap, filling and utterly delicious. They are usually sold around marketplaces, outside offices, schools and colleges – all places where people need to eat wallet-friendly food that can keep them filled up for a longer time.
Both Samosa and Kachori are dough parcels filled with different vegetarian and non vegetarian savoury and sweet fillings. While samosas are believed to have been inspired from Middle Eastern cuisine and are folded in a triangular shape, Kachoris are a creation of Marwari people originating from the Rajasthan region in India and are round puffs of flaky pastry.
The outer pastry in Kachori is plain flour kneaded with loads of ghee to make the crust flaky on frying. Fillings vary in different regions, from simply fried onions, curried vegetables to minced meat. As much as I love kachoris, the quantity of fat going in the dough and the deep frying process scare me enough to stay away from them mostly. This Baked Whole Wheat Matar Kachori recipe is my simple solution to enjoy my favourite snack more frequently,in a guilt-free way.
As the name of the recipe suggests, I replace plain flour with whole wheat, bake instead of deep frying and make the filling of peas and potato curry with as little oil as possible. You can be innovative with the filling – skip potatoes, add paneer, spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower or meat mince to the filling to make the kachoris that you enjoy most. The calories will drop down to a simple roti and curry meal with healthy ingredients, yet the fun factor will stay the same!
The baked crust won’t be like flaky pastry of the deep fried traditional Kachori but still very pleasantly soft and buttery. As I have reduced ghee in the dough, I add a little yogurt to keep the crust soft. Keeping the baked kachoris covered with a damp cotton kitchen towel for a few minutes also helps keep the crust softer.
The sides served with warm Baked Whole Wheat Matar Kachori recipe can be assorted chutneys and lentils or chickpeas curry. Traditionally these are served with tamarind chutney, green chutney or chilli garlic chutney.
For the Dough:
1+1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ghee(clarified butter) or olive oil
1 tablespoon thick yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Cold water to knead
For the Filling
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
2 green chilling, chopped
2 potatoes, cut into tiny cubes
2 cups peas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 tablespoons olive oil
Spring onion stalks (optional)
This Is What You Do:
Mix all the dry ingredients of dough in a big mixing bowl. Add yogurt and ghee/olive oil. Rub with fingers to give the flour coarse, sand-like texture.
Make a well in the centre, gradually add water and keep mixing till the dough comes together. Knead for 5 minutes. Ready dough should be firm but elastic. Don’t let the dough go too soft or moist.
Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the filling. Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onions and fry till light golden.
Add cumin seeds and red chilli flakes. Add ginger and green chilli peppers. Sauté for a minute.
Add potatoes and peas. Add salt, pepper and coriander.
Add a 1/2 cup water and cover the pan. Cook on medium low heat or till the vegetables are tender and all the liquid evaporates.
Add lemon juice, mix and roughly mash up peas and potatoes. Allow the filling to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven at 180 degrees C.
Flour a worktop. Roll the dough into a log, cut into six equal pieces. Roll the dough pieces into smooth balls.
Roll out dough balls into thin 5-6 inch circles. Heap generous spoonfuls of filling in the centre of circles. Bring the edges together in the centre, twist a little and press tightly to seal them so that the filling is encased inside the parcels.
Place the parcels on a lightly greased oven tray. Brush the parcels lightly with olive oil, milk, egg yolks or ghee.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or till the kachoris are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped.
Remove from oven and immediately cover with a damp kitchen towel for ten minutes.
Tie the top of the bundles with spring onion or any fresh herb sprigs for prettier presentation. Serve warm.