I am in love with my diet these days. Not only am I eating healthy, but tasty too not to mention the interesting twist I give to each recipe which makes it even more appealing and as delicious as their not-so-healthy counterpart. Today's recipe was a baked trial for my most favorite of all sinful savory snacks, Peas Kachori or as we call it in Bengali, Motorshuti Kochuri. The thought of all the oil that goes into the making of these kachoris is so repelling that I never really gave a thought of making them at home even though I loved them. However, I do not have to resist my temptations anymore as I have an answer for my cravings. The Kachoris are perfectly baked to get the same crispy crunch as you would get in a regular fried kachori and stuffed with sufficient filling to get a mouthful of peas in every bite. The icing on the cake was the Date and Tamarind Chutney which I prepared for serving this along with the Mint and Coriander chutney. And the festher in the cap was the Panchratna daal which was leftover from yesterday and perfectly complemented the meal. All in all, a super satisfying and healthy meal!
For the dough
1 cup wholewheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ghee (you may substitute with olive oil)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ajwain
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Water to knead (room temperature)
For the filling
2 cups frozen or fresh peas boiled and mashed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp heeng
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp amchur powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp olive oil
For Date and Tamarind Chutney, click here
Take the flour in a bowl and mix all the dry ingredients. Now add the ghee and oil and mix with your hands till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Then slowly add water and start kneading the dough. It should be a smooth but stiff dough. Take the dough out on a clean work surface and knead for 5 minutes till the dough is completely smooth and does not look dry. Take care not to over moisten the dough as well as not to overdry it. The dough should be firm to touch but smooth. Lightly oil your hands and rub it on the dough on all sides. This will help the dough from drying out. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Heat oil in a pan and splutter the cumin seeds. Add the heeng and as the aroma arises, quickly put in the boiled and mashed peas. Add all the spices and mix well. Continue stirring till all the moisture has evaporated and you have a fairly dry mixture in the pan. Remove from heat and let it cool.
Pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celsius for 20 minutes with top rod only. Keep a baking tray ready lined with aluminium foil.
Now, get back to the dough. Roll the dough with your hands into a hot dog shape and pinch out equal sized balls out of it. You should be able to get 7-8 balls with this measure of flour. Roll out each ball as thin as possible into a uniform circle. This will help you achieve a crisp crust once baked. Make sure each circle is of uniform thickness, else some kachoris might remain uncooked in the oven. Roll out all the balls and keep the circles arranged on a plate or on the counter. Now put generous spoonfulls of the peas mixture into each circle. Gently pinch in the edges together of each circle and roll it back into a ball between your palms. Make sure the edges are properly sealed so that the mixture cannot ooze out. Smoothen out the ball as best as you can by gently rolling between your palms. Repeat for the rest of the circles. We won't be rolling out the balls back to disc shape as we won't be frying them and so it is important that we put it in a generous amount of stuffing in each circle so that there are no empty bites while eating the baked kachoris. Also, try and pinch the edges as neatly as possible so that you are not left with a big chunk of chewy empty dough in the kachori.
Now, oil your hands lightly and rub it on each stuffed ball and arrange on the prepared baking dish, pinched side up since that will take longest to cook. Repeat for the rest of the balls.
Bake in the pre heated oven for 20 minutes with top rod only till slightly golden on top and feels firm to touch. Once one side is done, take the tray out and flip the sides and sprinkle a little water on each ball. This will ensure that the balls do not dry up and the thinner upper crust is crispily baked. However, take care not to drench the balls in water. Bake again for 15 minutes till slightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Please note that the kachoris might not become brown even if they look cooked. In that case, slightly increase the temperature to 200 degrees for an additional 5 minutes. The browning continues even after removing from oven and so in the final minutes keep a very close eye or you might burn the kachoris.
Remove the kachoris from the oven and immediately apply a dash of ghee on each ball and keep covered with a kitchen towel for 10 minutes. This step is highly advisable and not recommended to be skipped. This way you achieve that beautiful brown tan as well as a flaky crispy crust! Serve hot with chutney and some Panchratna daal or a light potato curry.