Four ways to eat crumbly, mouth-watering kachori

Indian cookery often uses humble ingredients to stunning effect by carefully combining flavours and textures. Take kachori, for example. A simple wheat pastry case is deep fried to create a flaky, crispy, delicious base which can be stuffed with all manner of delicious fillings, whether sweet or savoury.

Kachori is a favourite across many parts of India, particularly northern states such as Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It is a classic street food which can be eaten as a snack or a filling meal. The tasty fried parcels can also be adapted as a delicious fine-dining dish.

All kachori follow the same basic idea: a pastry is made using wheat flour, salt, oil or ghee, baking powder and perhaps some semolina for extra crunch. The dough is rolled out into thin discs. These are then either wrapped around a spoonful of delicious filling and fried, or fried empty so they puff up like a basket, which can then be filled.

Let’s look at some of the different ways of serving kachori.

Raj Kachori (Spicy snack bowl)

Golden, fried kachori dough is opened at the top and filled to form these delicious kachori. A large wheat puff is layered with tasty chickpea curry, mung bean dal and mashed potato. Lashings of fresh chutney add extra sweetness and flavour, while generous chunks of cottage cheese provide a delightful soft contrast to the kachori’s crunchy texture.

To complete this mouth-watering treat the kachori can be topped with a yoghurty sauce and sprinkled with fresh coriander, pomegranate seeds and crunchy sev (deep-fried wheat noodles) and crisp, fried noodles. It’s a revelation of textures and flavours.

Pyaajkachori (onion pastries)

Whereas Raj kachori are fried empty then filled, these tasty snacks are fried with their filling inside. They are similar to samosa but round with a little extra flakiness to the pastry.

The filling is a spicy onion mix made by sautéing onion with cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Once the seeds start to pop in the oil, turmeric, garam masala and chilli powder are added to the pan along with fresh coriander. A little flaked rice or chickpea flour is added to soak up the juices and prevent soggy pastry. Spoonfuls of this onion mixture are wrapped in kachori pastry to form discs, then fried until golden.

Upvaskachori (fasting snacks)

This dish is often prepared for Hindus during a religious fast or ‘upva’, when people eat only plain food. A simple but comforting and filling dish, it is made into small fried balls and eaten as a snack or appetiser.

Upvaskachori are made with a potato exterior. A refreshing filling is created using coconut flesh, coriander and green chillies. This soft mixture is wrapped in mashed potato, rolled in flour and gently fried, then served with a delicious coconut chutney.

Mawakachori (sweet puffed pastries)

Kachori are very versatile – they can also be served as a sweet dessert. This dish uses mawa, a creamy dairy curd which is the basis for many Indian sweets and treats.

A rich filling is made using mawa or cream, ground almonds or pistachios, with sugar and crushed cardamom. This sweet filling is wrapped in pasty and fried, then drizzled with a fragrant sugar syrup made using cardamom and saffron. A scattering of sliced almonds or pistachios completes the dish.

Guest blog, written by Veeraswamy.  Situated in a prime location off London’s Regent Street, the restaurant has been offering the finest Indian cuisine since 1926.

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