Kaki's Kachori

When I started this blog, it was my plan to write regularly about food. I haven't really done it, so today I want to present the delicious dish we had for tea a couple of days ago. Ramesh's Kaki (father's brother's wife) came to visit several years ago, and taught me this family recipe. It's a class of food Gujaratis call farsaan -- a savoury snack which can be eaten alone, but is usually included as part of a meal. The traditional Gujarati meal includes dal, several vegetables, pickles and/or chutnies, rice, roti, a sweet dish and a farsaan, all served together on a big round plate called a taali.

This dish requires a little planning, but it doesn't really take a long time to prepare, and it's so good:

Alu-Mattar Kachori (Potato and Pea Patties)

1. Make a paste of green chillies and fresh ginger in about 4 to 1 proportion; add a little lemon juice and salt to preserve it. (This paste is used in many Gujarati dishes. It can keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. I sometimes freeze it in ice-cube trays.)

2. Take 2 cups of raw peas, grind in a food processor into coarse bits - about three pulses. Add salt, and a pinch of baking soda to preserve the green colour. Fry the peas in oil on medium heat, stirring, until slightly soft. Allow to cool. Chop about 1 cup of green coriander (cilantro). Add to the peas. Add 1/3 cup grated fresh coconut. Add the ginger-chillie paste, lemon juice and salt to taste.

3. Take about seven medium potatoes, boil and mash. Soak three slices of bread in water, squeeze, add to the potatoes. Add salt, ginger-chillie paste, lemon juice to taste.

4. To prepare: In the cupped palm of your hand, make a hollowed cup about the size of half a lemon with the potato mixture. Into the hollow put a fingertip of cooking oil. Then add some of the pea mixture. Bring potato up to close the cup. You will have a sphere about the size of a small lemon. Roll the ball in a little cornflour. Fry in deep fat. (We have modified this recipe: we flatten the ball into a patty, then fry it in shallow oil, to brown it lightly on both sides.)

NOTE: Kaki says to use potatoes with eyes, because they are firmer. If you have any leftover filling, you can use it to stuff parathas.

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