Monday, February 15, 2010

Khasta Kachoris for Indian Cooking Challenge

The Indian Cooking Challenge recipe for February 2010 had to be a savoury snack after having halwa last month. Srivalli, after some serious discussion with Medha came up with these delicious kachoris.
To me it was an interesting first time again. I have not tried making them until this challenge was announced.
I made them following the recipe given with whole moong for the filling. I was in a hurry to get on with the recipe that I did not heed to watch Manjula's You tube demo. I just made enough for 6 kachoris as that was my trial run. They turned out alright but more like flattened samosas as you might see in the following picture.

Two days on, I wanted to try them to my satisfaction. Watched the demo by Manjula and Vaahchef! That gave me some insight to make them. So it was a dozen this time. They were just very good.
That night I was on the phone with my friend and told her about these. She told me that they should be as hollow and the filling will rattle within. As we spoke, I promised to make them for starters to her dinner gathering the following weekend. This time it was purely indulging! I loved doing this challenge. Nonetheless the response was overwhelming. I am looking forward to making them again when I am home in India for the family.

Now read through the following recipe adapted by Medha, combining that of her aunt and Tarla Dalal. I had tried various fillings and all of them work out fine.

Resting time for the dough is approximately 1/2 hour to 1 hour
Frying time for the Kachoris - 20 mins for each batch approximately.
Soaking time for the filling is approximately 1 hour
Cooking time for the filling is approximately 15 minutes
Yields - 15

For the Dough
Ingredients Needed:

All purpose flour / Maida - 2 cups
Oil/ Ghee - 1/4 cup ,
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Water for kneading

Mix the flour and salt, Add the oil/ghee and mix till you get a bread crumbs texture.
Slowly add water and make a soft dough. Knead well for about 8 minutes.
Cover and keep aside to rest for atleast half hour.

Special Tips / Notes for the dough:
Keep the dough covered at all times, if not it will dry up and not puff up when frying. If the dough is made right wet cloth can be used if not just a towel.
The dough could spring back for many reasons:
Dough is too cold (If wet cloth is used)
Dough is not soft enough.
Not kneaded for enough time.
Oil is less.
Not rested enough.

Khasta Kachori - Moong Dal Kachori
Ingredients Needed:
Split Moong Dal (yellow) - 1/2 cup
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry Leaves - 2 tsp chopped fine (optional)
Green Chilli - Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Sauf / Fennel seeds powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Mango powder / Amchur - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

1. Wask and soak dal in water for atleast 1 hour. You can go upto 4 hours not more.
2. Drain the water well.
3. Grind the dal to a coarsely. (Will resemble Idli Rawa)
4. Heat oil in a pan.
5. Add the hing and cumin seeds.
6. Once the seeds splutter add the curry leaves.
7. Add the dal.
8. Lower the heat and keep stirring for 5 minutes till the dal stops sticking to the pan.
9. Cook for another 10 minutes on low till the dal turns slightly brown.
10. Add all the masalas.
11. Cook for few minutes till the aroma of the spices hit you.
12. Add Salt.
13. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.

Special Tips / Notes for the filling:
The fillings have to be really dry if not when rolling they will ooze out when rolling.
Adjust the masalas according to your taste. What is given in this recipe is spicy to the extent one can still enjoy.
For idea on pressing the filled kachori, check out Manjula's method. If you try to press out using a rolling pin, the filling may come out and make holes in the kachori.
Fry the kachori's on medium low to get a crisp outer layer, that is the key. For people using electric stove, the numbers can be going from 6 to 4.
To Make Kachori's
Make a small ball from the dough. Roll out into a 2 inch diameter circle. Or flatten the ball using your fingers having the center thick and sides little thin.
Place about 1&1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the center of the rolled dough.
Cover the filling with the dough by slowly stretching it over the filling. Seal the ends and remove excess dough. Repeat with all the balls and keep aside for 5 -7 mins.
Then using your palm, flatten the balls by lightly pressing it, as using the rolling pin will make the filling come out. (See notes below). Keep aside covered. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Meanwhile heat some oil for deep frying. The oil should not become smoking hot. Test to see if the temperature is right by dropping a tiny ball of dough and see if it is rising slowly to the top.
Drop the kachoris in batches of 3-4 gently into the oil. It should rise up slowly. If you don't want to use lot of oil, use just enough for two or three at a time and fry them.
After it rises up (about 2 minutes), turn it over.

Cook for about 6 to 10 minutes till the side down gets a golden brown color.
Turn and cook the other side for another 6 minutes or till its golden brown in color.
Remove when done, cool and store in airtight container.
Serve with coriander chutney and tamarind chutney.

Special Tips / Notes for making the Kachoris:
You can fry 3 kachori's at a time.
The oil should be at a heat when you drop some dough it should come up slowly, if the dough comes up too fast the oil is too hot, if it does not come up then the oil is cold.
It will not be crisp if the oil is too hot.
In all, these kachoris can be perfected with little bit of patience. They are perfect for party starters.
My husband served them by cracking a hole and filling them with the chutneys, chopped raw onions, tomatoes and sev. The kachoris were fast vanishing that I was worried that I had not made enough :-)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vegie stuffed plaits

Having baked the coconut fruit plait, I was wanting to try the savoury version. Then when Niki was home she suggested we try that. We decided to go with the recipe of the fruit plait, but make it with a vegetable stuffing. I had seen a similar braided bread in Vcuisine.
So between Niki and myself, we baked these savoury braids. We tweaked the earlier recipe with a mix of the flours.
Flour (We mixed all purpose flour, wheat flour and powdered quick cooking oats) 500 grams
Dry active yeast 1/2 tablespoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
Butter 60 grams
Water 250 ml to mix the dough
Milk 1 tablespoon
Sugar 1 teaspoon
Oil few teaspoons
For the stuffing:
Boiled vegetables of choice, beansprouts and paneer 1/2 cup
Garam masala 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Chopped onions 2 teaspoons
Oil 2 teaspoons

Prepare the stuffing by cooking the vegetables and mixing them with the rest of the ingredients for stuffing.
Add sugar and lukewarm milk mixed with warm water to the yeast. Cover and allow the yeast to rise.
Mix the flours and salt in a bowl. Add the risen yeast to the dough and the butter. Knead to a soft and smooth dough. Knead well for about 12 minutes.
Place the dough in a slightly greased utensil and cover. Allow the dough to develop. In about an hour and a half, the dough would have doubled.
Punch the dough down thoroughly on a surface sprinkling some flour. This kneading is important as this allows the gluten to develop.
Divide the dough into 9 parts. Flatten each in an ablong shape. place the filling along the length of this ablong. Gather the ends to cover and seal the filling.
Repeat with two other parts of the divided dough.
Using three of the thus filled and sealed rope -like dough, braid in a plait. Seal the ends of the plait.

Repeat with the remaining six parts to form two more plaits.
Place the prepared vegetable plaits on the baking tray, well apart.
Allow another half an hour for this to develop.
Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 210 degrees centigrade.
Brush some butter on the top of the plaits.
Bake them for 20 minutes or about 2 minutes more until they have a brown crust on top.

Allow to cool and turn them on to a wire rack, until cooled well.
Serve with some butter or can be had with any thin soup.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Two months ago, I guess it is only that long ago, and hope not longer, a lady mailed and asked me to post the recipe for sukhiyan...I hope today I will type and post too. I am sorry Akhila for the delayed post.

At home this is made invariably on the Saraswathi pooja day, will be the sweet for the day and the sundal is always black channa. I made them during the Navrathri celebrations and clicked a few pictures saved them and forgotten about the dish all along.

I intend to schedule few posts before I am off to enjoy India, so without much of ado I shall go to the recipe.

For the coconut filling:
Freshly grated coconut 1 cup
Powdered jaggery 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder 1/4 teaspoon
For the outer dough:
1/3 cup urad dhal
1 teaspoon rice
A pinch of salt
Other ingredients:
Oil for deep frying

Wash and soak the urad dhal and rice together for about an hour. Drain and grind to s fine and fluffy paste adding little water. Add the salt to the paste. Adding few more teaspoons of water make the batter just right to coat the fillings once made. The batter should be like that for dosas or even a tadbit thicker.
Take the powdered jaggery in a pan and add some water to it. Dissolve the jaggery and strain the solution to remove scum.
Place the pan on a high heat and make a thick syrup of the jaggery. Add the coconut and keeping the fire on medium, stir to blend them well. When the blend is thick and you are able to roll it in a ball with your fingers, remove from fire. Add the cardamom powder. Allow to cool.
Once cool, roll out small lime size balls of the filling.
Place oil in a pan for frying. When oil is hot and almost smoking, lower the heat to medium.
Dip one prepared ball in the batter and drop in the hot oil. Similarly make some more and drop them in the oil to fry. Turn them around and when the outer dough looks golden, remove the sukhiyans from the oil with a slotted ladle. Place them on an absorbent tissue to remove excess oil.
Repeat with all the dough and filling.
These are very tasty as snacks too. The filling can be made with some soaked and powdered dhal added to the coconut and jaggery. Adjust the ingredients as per required sweetness.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kai Murukku - My practice sessions

One of the traditional Tamil cookbooks I have recommends to practise making kaimurukku at leisure in small quantities to perfect them. Every year on the day of gokulashtami I vow myself to try them again. I never get around making them often. I was having lunch with a friend last week and she had mentioned that her husband is very fond of adhirasams. So I decided to make a few for them. I had wanted to take a savoury dish along with them. So decided to make kai murukkus. They were very welcome, needless to say.
I have posted the kai murukku in my gokulashtami bakshanams among other snacks. This is a more detailed post.
I follow recipes from my cook book, my aunts and my own notes written as a foot note below these.
It is best to have the raw rice which is not aged for these savouries. The yield while pounding will be more this way. I used Ponni Raw rice purchased in India. For two cups of rice I got around 4 cups and 1/2 of a cup of powdered rice flour.
Raw rice 2 cups
Split black gram/ Urad dhal (split) 1/4 cup
Butter 75 grams to 90 grams ( I use 90 grams)
Asafoetida powder 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 2 teaspoons
Sesame seeds 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Coconut oil few teaspoons for greasing the tips of the fingers while rolling the murukkus

Wash and soak the raw rice for two hours.
Drain the excess water and spread on a clean cloth to absorb extra moisture. ( I usually skip spreading over a cloth as I drain the rice well and pound immediately in my mixer).
Pound this rice to a fine powder, seiving after each round of pounding.
Dry roast the urad dhal in a heavy pan until golden. Powder this in a mixer and seive to a fine powder. ( 1/4 cup of roasted urad dhal will yield nearly 1/3 cup of powder).
Mix the flours, salt, asafoetida powder, cumin seeds and sesame seeds well. Rub the butter in using tips of your fingers to incorporate the fat well.
Add water to the above gradually and knead to a soft dough. Cover with a lid, not allowing the air to dry the dough.
Spread a clean cloth on the counter or on the kitchen floor.
Take a small ball of the dough in your palm. Grease the tips of your fingers with coconut oil. Roll the dough between your fingers to a small rope. Fixing one end of the rope as the starting point, twist simultaneously like a chain. Turn your hand in a circular motion, dropping the twisted rope on the sheet. Go two or three rounds thus. Seal the other edge to the chain.

Repeat with few more.
Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is very hot, but not nearly smoking, drop gently the prepared murukkus using the spatula, into the oil. Drop as many as the oil will hold, yet the murukkus can move freely in the oil and cook.
Deep fry until the murulkkus are golden brown. Remove from oil and drain in a colander.

While one batch of murukkus are frying, you may roll out some more. If you find that difficult, roll enough to fry in two batches. Once they are ready, switch the heat off. You may prepare some more and reheat the oil to deep fry the rest.
Once the murukkus are ready allow to cool and store in airtight containers.
For best results the murukkus shall be made while the rice flour is moist or the flour should have dried atleast for three days, devoid of all moisture.
Most books give the ratio of rice flour to urad dhal flour as 9:1, but my friend told me even lesser urad dhal powder will work well. If urad dhal flour is more the murukkus will be hard.
The butter should also be mixed well. Otherwise, the portion where the butter is present might pop open.
If making larger quantities, mix all the dry ingredients and the butter. Divide this in batches and mix the dough adding water to each portion. If the mixed dough is kept for long, the murukkus will tend to become brown.
Sometimes the salt may not mix well and as a result the murukkus will shoot out while frying. To avoid this, you may boil the water that you will use to mix the dough, dissolve the salt in this and mix the dough with the salted water.
Though all of the above seem intimidating, you can make crisp and delicious murukkus, with some practice and patience.