It was the mid of 2008 when for the first time after getting married I was going to visit my father-in-law at his current workplace. My f-i-l is a Colonel in the Indian Army and keeps moving around the whole country.
As a child I had always fancied joining the army...but fate had other plans for me. However, I was and still am impressed by those who throw caution to the wind, wear their hearts on their sleeves and fight for their motherland-army,navy,air force (all inclusive). It must a different kind of a high I guess.
I respect and admire the courage of a soul who wishes to dedicate his/her entire life in the service of his/her nation.
Although I have had several (treasured) oppurtunities to visit my friends in the army residences and club grounds in the military restricted zones, in Kolkata. I never have actually stayed (I mean overnight or long stay) within the army grounds/periphery.
This was a very much looked-forward-to stay for me. It was in Jaamnagar, Gujarat.(West India)
Right from the time I set foot on those 'awe-filled' grounds, I couldn't help but be amazed at the chivalry and manners of the people there,which are unparalleled. I met various officers of different ranks and grades and also tuned my fine dining habits a bit. :p
(Who knew that you had to keep your fork and knife at a certain angle to each other for the waiting bearer, to indicate that you are done eating. Thanks to my hub it was a saving grace.)
Its like being transported into a different world..very idealistic and self sufficient. The kitchen chefs even grew their own vegetables. I could rant on and on about my stay but then I would digress.
This was the place where I tasted the best Khasta Kachori (and packed a few for our return journey). I love a lot of delicacies that Kolkata has to offer, but khasta kachori isn't one of them. It is very heavy and has a residual taste.
However the ones I had in Jaamnagar were just perfect. Not heavy, but light and crsipy. A "re-discovery" of this delish snack.
I tried duplicating them here for the first time, and it turned out impeccable (but I shall not be the valedictorian). Try for yourselves. :)
(Deep-fried crispy pastry filled with savoury lentils)
1 cup green mung dal/green gram,soaked for 4 hours
2 tbsp split black lentils/urad dal,soaked for 4 hours
1 tsp carom seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 pinch aesfotida
2 tsp amchur powder/dried mango powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
3 tsps sugar
salt to taste
For pastry dough-
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1 tbsp clarified butter/oil
a pinch of salt
lukewarm water for kneading dough
oil for deep frying
Boil the lentils half way cooked. Drain and cool.
In a food processor add the green and black lentils, and blend to a coarse paste.
In a pan heat a tbsp of oil and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter add ginger-garlic paste,aesfotida,turmeric,fennel seeds,amchur powder,red chilli powder and sugar.Mix well.
Add the ground lentils. Season with salt to taste.
Cook this mixture for about a miunte, so that there is no trace of any moisture in the filling.
In another bowl, take the flour, rice flour and add salt & clarified butter. Mix together to form a crumbly dough like that of a short crust pastry. Using water knead into a soft pliable dough.Let it rest for few minutes.
Pinch out a ping-pong ball sized dough and spread out on a flat surface with your fingers to form a small disc of say 2" in diameter. Add spoonful of the prepared filling, hold the edges together and join them with your hand, pull it out with your index finger and thumb.Pinch out the extra dough and roll the ball slightly between your hands.
Do the same with the rest of the dough.
Deep-fry the filled dough-balls in a wok of relatively hot oil (not smoking hot), on a medium flame, for about 4-5 minutes, until the kachori gets a nice light golden color.
Tip: Once out of the oil, the kachoris will darken in colour so take care not to over fry them.
Serve the crispy kachoris with imli/tamarind chutney or ketchup at tea-time with some tea/coffee. (Skip the scones and try these for a change!)
N.B. The best thing about this dish is that it is versatile. Infact almost all regions of the country(India) have their own version of the khasta kachori. The 'way' it is prepared remains the same. However, the 'ingredients' can be as little as four-five (basic ones being- lentils, sugar, salt, cumin, turmeric, chilli) or as many as listed above. It depends on personal tastes.
I send this over to Lore(of Culinarty) for her Original recipe event.