Recipe courtesy of Palak Patel

Lilva Kachori

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 15 to 20 pieces
Every Diwali, my mother and I make these deep-fried snacks of crispy dough filled with a spicy mixture of green peas and tuvar lilva (green pigeon peas). Lilva kachori is a very special dish that is regional to West India and this particular variation is from Gujarat. There are many varieties of kachori; this happens to be the one we love making. Others include potatoes, lentils or raisins in the filling, but we like to make the flavor of the pigeon peas and vibrant color of the green peas stand out. Also, our dough includes lime juice to add extra flavor. The delicious fried balls are traditionally made with fresh peas when available, but using frozen peas means that they can be easily found in autumn in the US. I serve them at my restaurant Dash & Chutney in Atlanta, where guests devour these Indian treats.





Special equipment:
a deep-fry thermometer
  1. For the dough: Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt to the well. Rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the lime juice, then the cold water 2 tablespoons at a time and knead the dough until soft and pliant, 3 to 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, for the filling: Add the green peas, tuvar lilva, coconut, ginger and chiles to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes a coarse paste, 8 to 10 pulses. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add the pea mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is almost dry and does not stick together, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the cumin, garam masala, cayenne, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until there is little to no moisture left in the pan and the peas are still bright green, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt, then stir in the cilantro, cashews, sugar and lime juice. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
  4. To assemble: Roll the rested dough into a ball. Rub 1 teaspoon oil on your hands and pat the dough until completely coated; this will keep it moist.
  5. Roll out 1 tablespoon of dough into a 3-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center. Bring together the edges of the dough so the seam is on top of the filling. Tightly pinch the edges closed to seal the filling inside. Trim off any excess dough. Roll the parcel into a ball with your palms and place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling to make 15 to 20 parcels.
  6. Pour enough oil to fill a large pot or Dutch oven about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 300 degrees F. Working in batches of 5 or 6, gently lower the kachori into the hot oil using a spider and gently fry until the dough is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes (see Cook’s Note). Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook’s Note

If tuvar lilva are not available, you can use shelled edamame. To toast the shredded coconut, spread it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F until golden, rotating halfway through, about 6 minutes total. Check frequently, as it can burn quickly. Slowly frying the kachori creates an extra crispy exterior.