I am a big lover of tuver lilva or pigeon peas, as you might already be knowing. When they are available in abundance, in the winters, I usually use them to make Undhiyu, one of my most favourite Gujarati dishes. This year, I made undhiyu a couple of times and this Gujarati shaak, but didn’t get the chance to cook much of anything else using tuver lilva. Recently, I came across what are probably the last of the tuver lilva this season, and couldn’t resist buying some. I used them to make a Gujarati-style kachori for a tea-time snack, which turned out delicious and was much loved.
Gujarati tuver lilva kachoris are very different from the Rajasthani kachoris, which look like big, hard pooris and need to be filled up with sweet and spicy chutneys. The Gujarati kachori is more like a deep-fried dumpling, with a samosa-like stuffing in it. The stuffing could be anything – plain pigeon peas with a variety of spices added to them, a mix of pigeon peas and potato, just potato, green peas and potato, dry fruits, daal, or just green peas, to name a few. For my kachoris, I used a stuffing made up of potatoes and pigeon peas.
I made them exactly the way we used to make them all those years back, in Ahmedabad. These kachoris take a lot of work, and back then, making them would be a family affair. Everyone would pitch in with their little bit – someone would boil and peel the potatoes, someone would shell the pigeon peas, someone would get the spices ready for the filling, someone would bind the dough for the outer shell, and so on and so forth. After all, there were kilos of pigeon peas to go through and several scores of kachoris to be made for all of the joint family! Aah, do I miss those times or what?! Anyways, I limited myself to making just about 20 kachoris or so. The nostalgia did hit me big time, though. 🙂
Now, without further delay, let me tell you how I made them, ok?
Ingredients (for about 20 kachoris):
For the stuffing:
About 500 g of pigeon peas
3-4 medium-sized potatoes
A 1-inch piece of ginger
4 green chillies
A small bunch of coriander
About 5 large cloves of garlic
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
Salt, to taste
Red chilli powder, to taste, if needed
A pinch of asafoetida
Sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
4 tablespoons oil
For the outer shell:
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup maida (Using only wheat flour doesn’t yield crispy kachoris, so a bit of maida needs to be mixed in)
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon oil
Oil for frying
Get the dough for the outer covering ready first, and leave it to rest while you prepare the stuffing.
For the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, mix the wheat flour, maida, salt and oil. Adding warm water bit by bit, bind the ingredients into a hard dough. The dough should be pliable, but not too squishy. Let the dough rest, covered, till the time you get the stuffing ready.
For the stuffing:
- Cut the potatoes into halves. Boil them in a pressure cooker for about 4 whistles. When they have cooled off completely, remove the skins and mash them thoroughly. Keep aside.
- Shell the pigeon peas. Pulse them a bit using a hand mixer or an electric mixer. Do not crush them to a paste – you just need to pulse them coarsely. Keep aside.
- Peel the ginger and garlic, and grind them to a paste with the green chillies, in a mixer. Keep aside.
- Chop the coriander leaves finely. Keep aside.
- Heat the 4 tablespoons of oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add the asafoetida and the ginger-garlic-green chillies paste. When the raw smell of the ginger disappears, add the crushed pigeon peas. Cook for a few minutes, till the raw smell goes away. Now, add the mashed potatoes, salt and sugar to taste, turmeric powder, garam masala, red chilli powder (if using), and the coriander leaves. Mix well. Let everything cook together for a minute or two, and switch off the gas.
- Now, add the lemon juice to the potato mixture. Mix thoroughly. Let the stuffing cool down completely.
Assembling and frying:
- Heat the oil for frying in a deep-bottomed pan, till it starts smoking. Meanwhile, get the outer covering for the dumplings ready.
- Divide the dough for the outer covering into equal-sized balls.
- Using wheat flour for dusting as and when required, roll one of the balls of dough into a small, thick round.
- Place a generous portion of the stuffing inside the round. Cover the dumpling, and pinch off the excess dough using your fingers.
- Deep-fry the dumpling in the hot oil, keeping the gas on low, till it turns brown. Turn it over a couple of times, to ensure that it is fried evenly. Remove from the oil and place it on tissue paper to drain out the excess oil.
- Prepare all the kachoris in a similar fashion. Serve them hot with sweet and spicy chutneys or with tomato ketchup.
The hint of lemon and sugar in these kachoris give them an awesome taste that is very Gujarati. If you aren’t a big fan of sugar, you might want to skip adding it altogether.
Do you like kachoris? How do you make them at home? Tell me all about them!