Kachori is a spicy snack, originating from the Indian subcontinent. Alternative names for the snack include kachauri, kachodi, and katchuri. It is a famous Indian street food that is made with all-purpose flour (maida) or whole wheat flour and has a rich filling made of a large variety of ingredients ranging between urad daal, moong dal, mawa, onion and Indian spices. Served with spicy aloo curry or different types of chutneys, this deep-fried snack has redefined itself with time and is now an integral part of the breakfast menu in different parts of the country too.
It is believed that kachori was created by the Marwaris, in the heart of Marwar. As in early times, the main trade routes passed through Marwar, the Marwaris ruled the area and have had access to the best produces. Another reason for the Marwaris to make this claim is their creativity to play with ingredients to make the best of anything and Kachori is a live example of the same. The use of mild spices like dhaniya and sauf also makes its connection with Marwar obvious, as these spices are considered ‘good’ for the climatic condition of the region.
But kachori is supposed to have originated in Uttar Pradesh, India. In these states, it is usually a round flattened ball made of fine flour filled with a stuffing of baked mixture of yellow moong dal or urad dal (crushed and washed horse beans), besan (crushed and washed gram flour), black pepper, red chili powder, salt, and other spices. Banarsidas author of Ardhakathanaka wrote that he brought kachoris, in Agra, in 1613.
Kachori is known as the snack of traders and we Indians have had a passionate love affair with them, before the fear of calories and cholesterol. Banarasi kachori is popular, it is made with whole wheat flour and with very little stuffing, and takes to sabzi so well that the sabzi becomes an equal counterpart on the dona of the kachori. You will find seasonal vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin, parval, and even baingan in the sabzi in a Banarasi kachori, which is sometimes sprinkled with a good measure of peas or black gram.
It has many versions from sweet to savory. It is a dessert which is made from thanda masala. This version of kachori has a rich filling of mawa, semolina, cardamom, cashew, and nuts. It is topped with silver vark and chopped nuts. Interestingly, they are also known as ‘Journey Cakes’, as they have a long shelf life.
The other kachoris that have made a mark on the Indian culinary scene are mostly home-cooked and seasonal. Bengal’s delicate matar kachori is a treat along with aloo dum. Bihar’s sattu kachori, served mostly with an array of chutneys and chokha, is derived from litti, but has earned a good enough following to stand on its own. Nagori kachori does not contain a stuffing, is lightly salted, very crisp, and served with a sweet halwa that drips with ghee.
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Jodhpur mogar kachori has a rich filling of soaked moong daal, Indian spices, and lots of amchur powder. Pyaaz Kachori mainly found in the state of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. As the name suggests, the filling is made of chopped onion, blended with a lot of Indian spices.
Raj kachori, the king of all kachoris. It is a massive, puffed up, crisp snack that looks like a blown-up gol gappa. It houses a variety of chaat ingredients, dripping all over the globe-like kachori. It is originated from Bikaner. It is kachori which is stuffed with potato, chickpeas, sprouts filling, and served with curd, chutney, and sev.
Dal Kachori Recipe
- All-purpose flour 2 cups
- Semolina (sooji) 2 tbsp
- Ajwain pinch
- Salt 1/3 tsp
- Oil 3 tbsp
- Water to knead the dough
- Urad Dal 1/3 cup
- Fennel seeds 1 tbsp
- Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
- Peppercorns 4
- Oil 1 tbsp
- Cumin seeds 1 tsp
- Ginger (chopped) 1 tsp
- Red chili powder 1/4 tsp
- Dry mango powder 1/4 tsp
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Water 2 cups
- To a large bowl, add flour, sooji, ajwain seeds, and salt. Mix till well combined. Now add oil and mix with your fingers.
- Now take some flour mix and press it tightly between your fingers. The dough should hold it’s shape and not crumble apart. If the dough crumbles, you need to add little more oil.
- Add water little by little to form a tight but smooth dough. I used a little more than 1/4 cup of water for this. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30-40 minutes.
- Soak urad dal in enough water overnight or a minimum of 4 hours. Drain the water, rinse the dal, and set aside.
- Add the soaked and drained dal to a pan on medium heat. Add 2 cups of water to it, salt and pinch of turmeric powder.
- Cook till the dal softens, but make sure it doesn’t turn mushy. When you take a piece of lentil in between your fingers and press it, it should break easily, that’s when you know it’s done. This will take around 10-15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, drain water and set aside.
- To a pan add fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns. Dry roast till fragrant, around 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind coarsely.
- Heat a pan on medium heat. Add oil to it, once the oil is hot add cumin seeds to it and let it splutter.
- Add chopped ginger and green chili and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the coarsely ground fennel-coriander mix and cook for a minute.
- Add the cooked dal, salt, red chili powder, amchur, and mix till well combined.
- Keep cooking till all the water from the dal evaporates. The stuffing should be dry. This will take a few minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
- After the dough has rested, give it a quick knead. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal parts. Take one portion of the dough and shape it into a round ball.
- Roll the dough ball a little and then make a well using your fingers. Fill with around 2 teaspoons of filling. Use your fingers to press the stuffing down.
- Bring the edges together and seal the filling inside. You can use a paste made with flour and water to seal the edges if you are having a problem with sealing them. Repeat till you have filled all the kachoris. You may be left with some extra stuffing, you can enjoy it with chai. Let the balls rest for 5-10 minutes before you roll them.
- Now roll each filled kachori lightly. Kachoris are supposed to be small and thick so keep it thick. Also, roll very lightly or else the filling might come out. It’s for this reason, you should not over-fill the kachoris.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a kadai/wok on high heat as you roll the kachoris. Keep all the rolled kachoris covered.
- Once the oil is hot, drop the rolled kachoris carefully into the hot oil.
- Immediately lower the heat to low-medium. Continue to fry the kachoris till they turn golden brown from both sides, around 6-7 minutes.
- Fry all the kachoris in a similar way. Drain on a paper towel.
- Serve hot kachori with some potato curry and any chutney of your choice.