Kachoris are not as famous as samosas, maybe because they are stuffed with spiced lentils. After all, it’s hard to beat fried potatoes, right? These crisp pastries make a great snack or breakfast. Try them with other lentils, such as petite yellow lentils (mung dal), split peas, or even fresh peas. You can always stuff these pastries with the samosa potato or aloo bonda filling. Serve with any cilantro-based chutney, tamarind date chutney, or ketchup.
LENTIL FILLING: 1/2 cup red lentils, washed and drained 1 cup of water
SPICE MIX: 2 teaspoons fennel seeds 2 teaspoons coriander seeds 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 2 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 (2-inch) knob of ginger, minced or thinly sliced 1/8 teaspoon asafetida 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon Chaat Masala 1 recipe mathri dough for the pastry
1. Filling: Combine the lentils with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, partially covered, until the lentils are cooked through and just about starting to fray at the edges. Stir and check after 9 minutes. Add a tablespoon or so more water if the lentils are drying out and sticking to the pan. Cook for a total of 10 to 11 minutes. Drain any excess water and set aside. 2. Spice mix: Dry roast the fennel and coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat, until the fennel seeds change colour, about 1 minute. Cool, then grind with
the garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne, and set aside. 3. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger, and asafetida, and cook until garlic is lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the ground spices from step 2, mix well and cook for a minute. Add the cooked lentils, salt, and chaat masala, and mix well. Mash some of the lentils and continue to stir and cook until the mixture is slightly dry and crumbly, about 4 to 5 minutes. Taste, and adjust salt and spice. Cool slightly and make the pastries. 4. Pastries: Prepare the pastry dough. Knead for one minute to make it smooth. Add more water if needed to keep the dough soft. Divide the dough into golf ball-sized balls. On a floured surface, roll each one out to a 4 to 5-inch circumference, about 1/8-inch thick. No need to make perfect circles. 5. Roll 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the lentil filling in your palms so that it sticks together to make a ball. Place the filling ball on the rolled out pastry. Fold all the edges towards the centre and press to stick. Flatten the pastry slightly and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for all the pastries. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 6. Spray or brush liberally with oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp to touch. Check the centre and edges. Cool for a few minutes before serving. Store at room temperature for a few hours or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving. To fry the pastries: Fry the pastries in enough oil to cover the pastries over medium heat until golden on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes each side. To make Kachori Chaat: Drizzle some nondairy yoghurt and tamarind date chutney over the kachoris, sprinkle with salt, cumin, and cayenne to taste, and serve.