Kachoris are a traditional Gujarati snack, often filled with spiced dhal. I find that using green peas, instead of pulses, gives them a fresher, sweeter flavour that combines wonderfully with the warmth of the spices. I’ve used peanuts for a little added crunch too.
This version of kachori are filled with spicy pea filling and served with a cooling coriander and coconut chutney. Yummy! They will make a delicious starter to a curry night. Like most Indian snacks, traditional kachori get a deep-frying treatment but these beauties have been baked in the oven with excellent results.
Adding citric acid to the dough helps to keep the chapatti case crisp and adds a little citrus zing to balance the flavour but it is completely optional. You can omit it if you don’t have any.
150 g plain flour, sifted
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp / 15 ml of oil (I used olive oil)
about 75 ml / 5 tbsp of boiling water
½ tsp citric acid (if using)
300g frozen peas, defrosted
25g unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 tsp of grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp hot chilli powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil, for sauteéing
about 1-2 tbsp / 15-30 ml of lemon juice
small bunch of mint, chopped
1 cup of fresh coriander
about ½ cup / 120 ml full fat coconut milk
lime juice to taste (I used ½ lime)
2 tsp grated ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp chilli powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix flour, citric acid and salt. Add oil and rub it into the flour with your hands. Now add 60 ml of hot water and start bringing the dough together. If it is too dry add another 1-2 tablespoons but do it gradually so that the dough doesn’t end up too wet. Knead for 5 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with a tiny bit of oil and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent drying up.
Whiz defrosted peas in a food processor with the mint until coarse chunks remain.
Warm up a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat in a pan. Add mustard seeds and wait until they start popping. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry them briefly until the garlic has softened. Mix all the spices in a small bowl with a bit of water to make a paste. When you add them to the pan, this will prevent burning. Now add the spice paste, peas, peanuts and salt to the pan. Stir-fry for a few minutes but do not let the mixture dry up completely. Let the filling cool down.
Pinch a small amount of the dough and roll it into an 8 cm / 3” circle. Place a heaped teaspoon of dough in the middle and gather the dough around the filling so it looks like a little money bag and tear away/cut off excess dough. Roll the kachori in your hands to make it more circular in shape. Keep kachori ready under a damp kitchen towel.
Heat up the oven to 200° C. Place kachori on a baking tray and brush them with a bit of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes, until browned.
To make the chutney, blitz all the chutney ingredients (apart from lime, salt and pepper) in a blender. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.
I have included a recipe for homemade corn tortillas using masa harina which is a bit tricky to come by in the UK but is available in some international grocers or online. The flavour from this very fine cornmeal is unrivalled by anything you can buy in the shop and is totally worth a little extra effort. You can of course use shop bought tortillas – corn or flour – if you prefer.
The vegetables in the salsa are grilled to char them before blending which gives a sweetness to the onions and garlic and a deep flavour to the tomatoes.
Then there is the guacamole with creamy avocado and fresh citrus flavours. Splodged on top of zesty, spicy, smoky pulled chicken, what more do you need?
For the corn tortillas:
(Makes 12-24 depending on how generous you are)
150g/5½oz masa harina
100ml/3½fl oz cold water
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix until a smooth dough is achieved. (If it’s too sticky add a little more masa harina, or, if it’s too dry, add a drop more water.)
Divide the dough into 24 balls. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Flatten the balls of dough with your hands – alternatively, use a tortilla press or roll them between two layers of cling film. Flatten to approximately 3mm thick.
To cook the tortillas, lightly oil a flat griddle pan or frying pan and place over a hot heat.
Cook the tortillas for approximately one minute on each side, or until lightly coloured.
Cover in foil or with a damp towel until ready to serve.
For the spicy shredded chicken:
2 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 limes, zest and juice only
6 chicken thighs, skin removed
For the roasted tomato salsa:
6 tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 fat red or green chillies
2 tsp chipotle chilli paste
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small bunch coriander
2 limes, juice only
salt and pepper
For the guacamole:
3 ripe avocados
3 tbsp soured cream
½ lime, zest and juice
½ lemon, zest and juice
salt and pepper
To serve (optional):
Monterey Jack or strong cheddar cheese, grated
spring onions, finely chopped
fresh coriander, finely chopped
Fresh green salad
Method for the fillings:
For the spicy shredded chicken, preheat the oven to 180C.
Add all the dry ingredients and the lime juice and zest to a bowl. Stir to combine.
Pat dry the chicken thighs using kitchen paper and then place the chicken thighs into the bowl and coat in the spice mix.
Leave the chicken to marinate for at least an hour. Remove the chicken from the bowl, place the coated thighs on a foil lined baking tray and cook for 35 minutes, or until cooked through.
Meanwhile make the roasted tomato salsa. Preheat the grill to high. Place the tomatoes, red onion wedges, chillies and garlic onto a baking tray. Lightly brush with oil.
Place under the hot grill and cook until the tomato skins are blackened, approximately 10 minutes.
Place all the charred ingredients into a food processor with the chipotle paste, coriander and lime juice. Pulse until a chunky consistency is achieved. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the guacamole, cut the avocados in half and remove the stone. Remove the flesh from the skin and roughly chop.
Place in a bowl and lightly crush using a fork. Add the soured cream, lemon and lime juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the spicy shredded chicken, once the chicken is cooked set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred.
To serve, simply place a dollop of whichever fillings you desire (I recommend a bit of everything… yolo) into your corn tortilla and apply to face!