Matar Kachori
Recipe courtesy of Nidhi Jalan for Food Network Kitchen

Matar Kachori

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 10 kachoris
Matar, or fresh green peas, are the center of these flaky deep-fried snacks or kachoris. They originated in Rajasthan, where my family is from, and I grew up eating them. Kachoris can have many different fillings. These particular ones are typically made when green peas are in season during winter and spring. The filling is lightly spiced; you don’t want to smother the taste of the green peas, just enhance it. It makes a great leftover snack and is as delicious as cold pizza is the next day.





Special equipment:
a deep-frying thermometer; a kitchen scale, optional
  1. For the dough: Combine the flour with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the ghee and mix in with your fingers until the dough looks crumbly. Add ice-cold water, starting with 1/4 cup then adding 1 tablespoon at a time, until a soft but stiff dough forms. Knead the dough until it’s evenly combined (don’t over knead), 2 to 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. For the filling: Coarsely crush the peas in a food processor.
  3. Heat the ghee in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and let sizzle until slightly darker, about 30 seconds. Add the green chiles, ginger and asafoetida, if using, and cook, stirring often, until the raw aroma of the ginger dissipates, 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. Add the crushed peas and sugar and cook until the mixture dries out a little, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the turmeric, red chile powder, coriander, raw mango powder, garam masala and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and cook until the spices are toasted and the raw smell dissipates, about 2 minutes. Add the chickpea flour and cook until toasted, about 3 minutes. Adjust salt to taste, raw mango powder for additional tang and red chile powder for spice. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  5. To assemble and fry: Pour vegetable oil into a large Dutch oven or wide heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of about 3 inches. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil registers 340 degrees F.
  6. While the oil is heating, divide the dough into 10 balls. A kitchen scale isn’t necessary but is helpful in dividing. Divide the green pea mixture into 10 tight balls. Flatten the dough balls with your hand or a rolling pin into 3- to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Try to keep the edges thinner. Dust the worksurface lightly with flour if the dough begins to stick. Place a flattened dough round in the palm of your hand and make a bowl. Put a green pea ball in the center. Fold the dough edges over the stuffing, pleating them as they come together, and seal tightly. Flatten the ball with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin to about 3 inches in diameter; cover with a damp cloth. Repeat with the remaining dough and green pea balls and keep them covered with a damp cloth.
  7. Double-check that the temperature of the oil is 340 degrees F. Gently slip in 3 to 5 patties and fry, moving them around occasionally so they cook evenly and flipping them halfway, until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Don’t overcrowd the pot; you need to allow enough space for the kachoris to puff up while frying. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining patties.
  8. The kachoris can be served with any chutney such as cilantro-mint chutney, tamarind chutney or cilantro-pea chutney. Save leftover kachoris in an airtight box after they have come to room temperature; otherwise, they will become soggy.

Cook’s Note

Ghee or clarified butter gives the crust a nice flaky texture (as you get from lard or shortening). If using vegetable oil for the dough, add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the flour. To defrost frozen green peas, soak them in boiling water for a minute and drain them.