Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moong Dal Kachori (Stuffed Lentil Baskets)

moong-dal-kachoriMy mom used to make really delicious Crispy Moong-Dal Kachoris, and I still remember what a glutton I used to be when I ate those! of course, I could never have enough of these, or the lilva kachoris, their second counterpart. But then, crisp and flaky on the outside, and warm and flavorful on the inside, you just can't stay away from Kachoris! Do I sound like a commercial? guess what, once you try the recipe below, you'll start promoting it yourself! I've used moong-dal, or yellow (split-pea) dal as a filling, but you can experiment with peas, tuver dal, or even any other lentil of your choice. It looks like hard work, but believe me, its totally worth the effort! Flavored with lentils sauteed in spices, and complete with raisins and shredded coconut to add that extra punch, these Moong Dal Kachoris are a treat to the eyes and the tongue!

Ingredients

For the Kachori Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour or whole grain white flour
1 tbsp semolina (fine rava)
4 tbsp warm melted ghee (clarified butter)
salt - to taste
1/2 tsp lemon juice
hot water - to knead the dough
oil for frying kachoris

For the Filling
2 cups Moong Dal - soaked for at least 2 hours
1 tspn cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tspn carom seeds (ajwain) or saunf
1/2 tspn asafoetida (hing)(optional)
1 tspn turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tspn red chilli powder
2 tbsp green chilli-ginger paste
1 tbsp grated coconut
1 tbsp coriander - finely chopped
a bunch of raisins (optional)
2 tspn sugar
2 tbsp oil
salt and lemon juice - to taste

Method
Take the Moong Dal and let it soak in water for at least 3-4 hours.

For the kachori, mix the salt, semolina, lemon juice and flour together and add the warm ghee to it. Mix well so that the entire flour is oiled and forms crumbles. Now knead it using warm water into a firm dough(not too thin or soft, just pliable enough). The warm water and rava will help make the crust more crispy. Cover with a wet cloth and leave aside for 25-30 mins.

Now take a saucepan, add 2 tbsp oil to it, then add the cumin, carrom seeds, saunf and asafoetida. When seeds splutter, add the soaked moong dal to this, after removing all water. Season with green chilli-ginger paste, salt, lemon juice, sugar and the spices. Cook for 8-10 mins, then remove from flame. Mix the grated coconut, chopped cilantro and raisins and keep aside.

Now divide the dough into small portions, and roll each one into 3" diam. disc. Put a large spoonful of the filling into the center, then fold the dough over the filling to form a pouch and shape it into a basket from the top(as shown in the pic) You can grease your palms a little and roll the ball between them to form an even ball if that's easier. Make sure to seal the filling at the top else it will all ooze out when you fry them! Repeat for all the kachoris.

Deep Fry: Now heat oil in a wok and deep fry 3-4 kachoris at a time over low-to-medium flame till they are golden brown in color. Do not fry on high heat as they will turn brown but will be uncooked from inside.

Baked: Alternately, you can preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then place the kachoris on a large oven tray. Space them at least half inch apart and apply light margarine to them with a brush. Now bake them for 10-15 mins, then rotate the tray by 180 degrees to bake on the other side for 10 mins, or till the surface becomes light brown in color.

Of course, the fried version is much tastier than the baked one, but if healthy is more important to you than tasty, you know what to choose!

Tip for Crispy Kachoris The semolina and the lemon juice help make the crust more crispy. Also, fry the kachoris on low heat, then when its time to serve, refry them or bake them on high temperature; this will also make them crispier.

Lay out your beautiful Moong Dal Kachoris on a platter. Serve hot with Green Chutney or sweet-and-sour Tamarind Chutney. I'm sending these to Dangit who's collecting Party Dishes for her daughter's first b'day!

Related Recipes:
Crispy Vegetable Samosas
Tuver-Lilva ni Kachori
Khasta Dal Kachori Chaat

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