Rasmalai

After my previous post on Rasgulla I am bringing one more sweet dish with paneer which you will love to prepare this summer.

Rasmalai is that one sweet dish which my father-in-law loves the most. Now because of his health issues he is staying with us in Bangalore. But until two years back whenever we used to go visit him in Jaipur, he would always buy and keep one pack of rasmalai in the fridge. If some guest is coming home for lunch or dinner… dessert was always rasmalai!!

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So when I learned to prepare rasgulla, I decided to try rasmalai also.

Rasmalai is also prepared with paneer but here additional ingredient is milk, making it different from rasgulla.

If you can prepare rasgulla, then trust me…. 90% work is done here!

So, again I am posting the recipe of Rasgulla here (just in case if anyone has missed it) as it is the main ingredient in rasmalai. Next, we will turn these rasgullas into rasmalai.

Ingredients

Rasgulla :
1 kg full fat milk
1 lemon juice(can be replaced with 1 tbsp vinegar)
2 cups sugar (granulated)
4-1/2 cups water
2 to 3 whole cardamom seeds (optional)
Keep ready one tray of ice cubes

Rasmalai:
1 litre low fat milk
Sugar, as per your taste
Few saffron strands (optional)
Cardamom powder
Mixed dry fruits (chopped)

Method

Squeeze out lemon juice, sieve it, add equal amount of water to the lemon juice and keep this mixture separately.

Boil milk and pour lemon juice into it. The moment milk starts curdling (milk is so hot that it will curdle quickly), switch off gas.

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When whole milk is curdled nicely, pour that immediately in a strainer covered with muslin cloth and add ice cubes to it.

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Let this chhena remain in muslin cloth and wash it nicely in running water so that no taste of lemon or vinegar remains. Squeeze out all water from chhena. Finally, hang this chhena in the muslin cloth for 10-15 minutes so that the rest of the water drains out. If you feel that chhena is too wet, squeeze it with your hands.

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Mash chhena properly. Rub it nicely with your hands so that all the grains of chhena become soft and you can collect it like a dough.

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Prepare small balls of this whole chhena dough. There should not be any cracks in the balls. If you are still gettings cracks, rub the chhena ball between your palms and again make the ball.

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Actually, for rasmalai we can gently press the ball of chhena to look like patties. Now, in a big sized vessel or cooker add water, sugar, and cardamom seeds. Switch on gas on high flame. Keep stirring water till whole sugar is dissolved. The moment the water starts boiling, add all your chhena balls into this syrup.

If you are using cooker, let it boil till first whistle and then sim the flame for next 5-7 minutes.

If you are using a vessel, keep the flame high for the first five minutes and then reduce it to sim for the next 5-7 minutes. Keep some weight on the cover.

Don’t let the rasgullas boil for more than the required time, else they will turn chewy instead of spongy.

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Let the steam cool down and then open the lid of the cooker. You will see that your small balls of chhena have doubled in size.

Your spongy rasgullas are ready or we can say that the first step of rasmalai preparation is over.

Shift them to another bowl along with sugar syrup. Let them cool down completely and later keep them in the fridge for 2-3 hours so that rasgullas becomes slightly firm.

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Rasmalai:

Boil low fat milk kept for rasmalai. Once milk starts boiling, keep the heat on sim. Keep the milk stirring so as to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the vessel. Boil it till the volume of the milk is reduced to half of the original. Add sugar and stir till sugar dissolves completely and switch the off gas. Milk consistency will be thin now. If interested, add cardamom powder and saffron strands for flavor and let the milk cool down completely.

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After 2-3 hours take rasgullas out from the fridge. Squeeze each one by one gently between your palms to take the syrup out from them and keep them on a strainer so that rest of the syrup drains out.

Remember not to squeeze hard, otherwise rasgulla will break.

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Add these rasgullas in ready milk and keep them in the fridge for 3-4 hours so that rasgullas will absorb the milk. Add finely chopped mixed dry fruits.

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In half of the milk I added some strands of saffron and left the other half as it. That is why you can see the difference in color in both the bowls below.

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Serve chilled, creamy, delicious rasmalai to your lovely family and dear friends and enjoy the showers of appreciation.. 💃💃💃💃

 

Rasgulla

I am a complete dessert person who doesn’t need any excuse to gorge on sweets. And if I have homemade dessert, I just keep on searching for an excuse to go again and again into the kitchen.

During summer you just don’t feel like having high calories sweets.You crave for something light which can be digested easily. So I prefer to prepare sweets from paneer during the summer season.

Rasgulla from paneer can be the base dish for many sweets. So you first learn to prepare Rasgulla (believe me, its not so difficult as it seems) and the rest of the varieties will be very easy to prepare.

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The secret of preparing the best spongy rasgulla is in the right technique for preparing paneer. While searching for a good recipe for Rasgulla, I found a video by Vahvah chef about preparing rasmalai. After watching this video i mastered (not at all exaggerating) the way to prepare rasgulla. This is the picture of when I made rasgulla successfully for the first time…

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Later I tried rasmalai, rajbhog and cham- cham (malai-sandwich) successfully with the base of all these sweet dishes as rasgulla with little variations. I will be posting all of them in the blog, but first I am starting with Rasgulla recipe …..

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Ingredients :

I kg full fat milk
I lemon juice(can be replaced with 1 tbsp vinegar)
2 cups sugar (granulated)
4 1/2 cup water
Seeds of 2-3 whole cardamom(optional)
Keep ready one tray of ice cubes
Method:
Squeeze out lemon juice, sieve it, add equal amount of water to the lemon juice and keep it separately.
Boil milk and pour lemon juice into it..
The moment milk starts curdling switch off gas…milk is so hot that it will curdle.

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When whole milk is curdled nicely…immediately pour this in a strainer which is covered with muslin cloth … add ice cubes.

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Let the chhena remain in muslin cloth and wash this nicely in running water so that no taste of lemon or vinegar remains. Squeeze out all water from chhena.
Now hang this chhena in muslin cloth for 10-15 min..so that rest of the water drains out.
Still If you feel that chhena is too wet, squeeze it with your hands

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Mash chhena properly.
Rub it nicely with your hands so that all the grains of chhena become soft and you can collect it like a dough.

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Prepare small balls of this whole chhena dough. There should not be any cracks in the balls.
And still if you are getting cracks, rub the chhena ball between your palms and again make the ball, or give it any other shape.

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Now in a big size vessel or cooker add water, sugar, and cardamom seeds. Switch on gas on high flame.
Keep stirring water till whole sugar is dissolved…and the moment the water starts boiling, put all your chhena balls into this syrup and cover the vessel and keep some weight on the cover… (if using cooker, let it boil till first whistle and then sim the flame for next 5-7 min.) Gas flame should be high for the first five min….and then reduce it to sim for next 5-7 minutes .

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Let the steam cool down and then open the lid of the cooker. You will see that your small balls of chhena have doubled in size.

Your spongy rasgullas are ready….!!
Shift them in another bowl along with sugar syrup. Let them cool down completely and later keep them in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

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Serve chilled.

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Oh, you cook  different dishes also other than just baking bread….!!

This was the instant reaction I got from my dear hubby in the evening when he saw the bowl of rasgullas on dining table … 😀😀😀

 

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Would love to hear from you about this  spongy paneer sweet dish ❤️❤️

 

 

 

 

 

Aalu ki tikiya(potato patties stuffed with spicy peas)

Winter season brings a lot more memories from my parent’s  house related to food. We are 4 siblings and we all were great foodies. Dinner used to be the main meal of the day because whole family used to be together at the end of the day and we used to  have it in the kitchen itself because kitchen had wonderful aroma of hot food preparation and all the warmth of cooking.

Other than regular food, menu for winter dinner used to be hot dosa, different varieties of cheela, stuffed parathas or plain parathas and aaloo ki tikiya.

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Aaloo ki tikiya is a type of patty prepared with boiled potatoes and stuffed with spicy boiled peas. It is roasted on heavy tava brushed up with oil. Aalu ki tikiya is a very popular North Indian street snack during winter. It is served with sweet chutney  and spicy coriander chutney. If you want to have it as a full meal, serve chole also along with chutney.

When we shifted to Bangalore around 15 years ago we were staying in a rented house. There I had prepared Aaloo ki tikiya for my daughter’s third birthday party. I guess it was a gathering of 15-16 people. Well, among them nine people were from our house owner’s family. They all were staying together as a joint family with two married sons, their kids and parents.  Guests loved aaloo ki tikiya so much that for next birthday party there was a demand to prepare them again!!

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Well, the reason I prepared aaloo ki tikiya this time was completely different. I wanted to use this tikiya as a filling for veg burger. So I prepared small and thinner tikiya. If you want to prepare them as only snack, prepare slightly bigger in size and don’t flatten them so much.

You must have seen how they are sold in food corners in the market. One big flat heavy bottomed tava completely covered with big sized tikiyas around it and the moment you order, street-food magician😊 will drag one from the edge of tawa and roast it in the middle of tawa till it gets beautiful brown crisp and you will be having a plate of hot crisp and soft tikiya with sweet and spicy chutney and chopped onions… Oh well…. I can visualize the scene!!!

Aren’t you tempted enough to give a try? I am sure you are!! Just have some patience while roasting them on tawa. It is done on sim heat. Some prefer to fry them because frying makes the work fast. But personally I never really like the taste of fried ones and I don’t want to consume so much of oil when there is a better option.

Choice is yours, whatever the way you want to go ahead with!!

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In the list of ingredients I have not mentioned the quantity because you actually don’t need. Add all spices as per your taste buds. I prefer little bit spicy – your choice might be less or very mild …. so add all spices whichever the way you want!!

Ingredients :

Boiled potatoes
Boiled peas
Finely chopped green coriander leaves
Finely chopped green chillies
Finely chopped onions

Salt, dry mango powder(amchoor), dry chilli powder, garam masala, asafoetida (hing) and oil for brushing up.

Process :

Boil potatoes and keep them on a sieve so that excess water get drained out.

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Now boil peas and after boiling keep them also in sieve so that excess water gets drained out. Watery peas and potatoes would create problem in preparing tikiya, so take care of this point.

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Peel boiled potatoes and grate them in a vessel.

Yes, you heard it right! We don’t mash them because in mashed potatoes there are tiny little chunks of potatoes. We need fine thick paste kind of consistency, so we have to grate them.

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Grease your palms and vessel with little bit of oil and slightly knead these grated potatoes and collect them in the shape of a dough.

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In another vessel keep boiled peas along with all spices, chopped chillies and coriander leaves. Slightly mash peas with your fingers while mixing everything together. Filling is ready.

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Grease your hands with oil and take a small portion of potato dough and give it a round shape like ball. Finish potato dough by preparing round shaped balls.

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Now keep one potato ball in your palm, give a cup like shape to your  palm and slowly by tapping from all the sides create some space for the filling.

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Fill-in peas filling in there and slowly and carefully close it back and roll it again between your palms in ball shape. If potatoes are sticking, grease palms with oil. Fill – in all potato balls in the same way.

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Heat heavy bottomed flat tava on medium heat and grease it with oil. Once tava is hot enough, keep all tikiya  (peas filled potato balls)  on it and reduce heat on sim.

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Brush up the upper part of tikiya with oil and spread very little quantity of oil  around all tikiya.

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With the help of slight sharp edged flat spatula turn all tikiya upside down and once again brush up with oil. Now you can increase the heat on medium to sim.

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Roast tikiya nicely from both the sides till they become nice brown and crisp. Serve with sweet chutney and spicy coriander chutney.

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What do you think about this popular Indian snack? Have you ever tried it before this way or in a different way .. would love to hear from you all in the comments section 😊😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moong ki daal ke pakode (green lentil fritters)

I love Makar Sankranti festival the most! In Jaipur Makar Sankranti is celebrated in its full galore. Before a month itself you can feel the vibes of the festival in the air. Even a small street corner general store starts selling kites. Immediately after coming back from school, kids will be seen on terrace with their kites till their mother starts calling them to come down because it is going to be very cold – after all it’s peak of winter season. Mothers will be drying up sesame seeds in hot sun for preparing sweets as til ki papdi and til ke ladoo. 

Kids keep their kites ready the previous night of Sankranti itself. Gaajar ka halwa is prepared and split green moong daal is soaked previous night of Sankranti. I remember at my parents’ house we used to take bath with cold fresh tap water early in the morning on the day of Sankranti (a religious custom). Mother used to be busy with her pooja preparations and we used to wait for Sun to come so that sky can be clear of fog. I remember, once my brother, Sunny, and I, tried to fly kite very early in the morning when it was still dark. We found some neighbours also along with their kites on their terrace. But unfortunately because of fog kites became wet and everyone returned disappointed.

Sankranti is the best day to be soaked up in the Sun. Whole day family members are on the terrace. If guests or neighbours visit you, they also join you on the terrace.

Streets are also full of kids – some will be there to fly kites and others to catch the kites. Have you ever caught a kite flying in from somewhere in the sky, and somehow you guessed that it’s going to cross through your territory…it creates such a wonderful scene!! Everyone on your terrace is on full alert, sometimes including your parents, not to leave no stone unturned to catch the incoming kite!!!! And the person who succeeds in catching that kite will have a wonderful sense of proud feeling!!

Whole day will be gone in watching and flying kites, making loud hullabaloo if you are successful in snapping others kite’s string, gossiping, and munching roasted groundnuts, gazak, revadi, til papdi and hot moong ki daal ke pakode /vade.

Oh, I miss so much Makar Sankranti celebration in Jaipur, 😢 I guess I can write a lot about this festival. It is that one festival which is celebrated from morning till night. After sunset also some people fly kites with lamp, even though it gets very cold.

After shifting to Bangalore I hardly saw kids flying kites. But a few days before Sankranti I read that at some place kite festival was being organized. And today when we went out to our nearby shopping complex in Banashankari 3rd stage, I was amazed to see kites being sold in shops. Just like rakhi now there were kites to attract kids with their favorite cartoon characters like Doremon, Dora, Barbies etc. Even our honourable Prime Minister Modi kite was there.

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I really hope that in coming 3-4 four years we might see sky of Bangalore filled with colourful kites on Makar Sankranti.

The main attraction of food in the whole day of Makar Sankranti is ‘chilke vaali hari moong ki daal ke pakode‘. Daal is soaked the previous night, and in the morning it is ground, spices added and this batter is used the whole day for family members and guests to have hot pakode. These are very tasty and crispy and you can have them with your hot evening tea.

Ingredients :

Split green moong daal,  green chillies, ginger, salt, red chilli powder, salt, asafoetida and water.

Process :

Wash nicely and soak daal overnight or just for 2 hours in the morning – it puffs up nicely.

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Add salt, red chilli powder, green chillies, asafoetida and ginger. Without water grind it in a mixer. We need thick batter, so don’t add water while grinding.

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Heat oil in a deep pan and with your finger tips take very small quantity of daal batter and drop it carefully in the hot oil. If this tiny pakoda/fritter floats in the oil, it signifies that oil is hot enough to fry. In the same way fry rest of the pakode. You can use spoon also to drop the batter in oil.

 

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On medium heat fry pakode nicely by turning them upside down.

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Take them out with a handled sieve to drain out extra oil.

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Serve hot and crispy pakode with any sauce or chutney.

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Daal paalak (split chickpea lentil with spinach)

Spinach tastes excellent in baked quiche, paalak paneer and paalak fritters(pakoda). But you prepare it as a vegetable, kids will ignore it. With spinach, tomatoes enhance its taste a lot. I always have a liking for paalak ki sabzi. Honestly speaking, I was a good kid with my eating habits probably because at my parent’s house it was compulsory for us to eat everything which was served in meals. My younger sister Nandini was a little rebellious with this rule and to get food of her choice she started cooking at an early age. I guess I was happy by having a variety of food (cooked by Nandini and mother) on the table, so never bothered to trouble myself in the kitchen till I was forced to live out of the town because of  my job.

Coming back to spinach, my mother used to prepare daal (lentils) along with spinach. Mostly she used green split moong daal (chilke vaali moong daal) and chana daal (split chickpea lentil). I use chana daal for daal palak.  Chana daal is slightly heavy for digestion so I feel that adding spinach will balance it. For tadka (seasoning) in daal I mostly use mustard oil or olive oil, but desi ghee will enhance its taste a lot and you will get wonderful dhaba style daal.

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Ingredients :

Chana daal             1cup
Shredded spinach 1/2 cup

Water- to boil daal     4 cups (after boiling if you feel daal is too thick, add some more water)

Salt-                                        1 tsp (add or reduce as per your taste)
Turmeric powder-slightly less than 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder-                1 tsp
Asafoetida (hing) –                1/8 tsp
Cumin seeds (jeera) –            1/2 tsp
Green chillies –                       1-2

Tomato medium size            2 (chopped, grated or puree)
Grated ginger                          1/2 tsp ,
Onion                                      1 (chopped)

Process, :

Wash nicely and soak chana daal in three cups of water for an hour.

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Wash and chop spinach leaves finely.

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After an hour mix chopped spinach leaves and soaked chana daal together in a  pressure cooker, add salt and turmeric powder and cook it until chana daal is cooked properly.

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Now we will prepare our seasoning or tadka for daal. Chop onions and green chillies finely. Grate ginger and tomatoes.

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Heat 2 tbsp oil/ghee in a pan and crackle cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add onion, ginger and green chillies till onions are light brown. Now add tomatoes and fry everything till it starts leaving the oil from sides.

 

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When daal is completely cooked, add daal in this tadka, mix it properly and serve hot in lunch or dinner.

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Aalu ki kachori

Whenever at my parent’s house my maternal uncles used to visit us, my mother used to prepare proper UP (Uttar Pradesh) style food. There will be poori, dry potatoes veggie (which used to look like pickle because of extra oil and extra spices) one curry, curd with sugar or boondi ka raita and aalu ki kachori….. and sweet – that my uncles always used to bring, so mother never bothered to prepare.

This whole food served in steel thali (big size plate with edges) used to look so delicious that I always used to think that uncle’s visit should be more often 😋.

Among this whole platter my favorite used to be ‘aalu ki kachori’. I have never tasted such wonderful kachori in any restaurant till now.

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Before marriage I had never attempted to prepare them independently, actually I never dared to do, because I didn’t want to go through a disastrous attempt. But after marriage as we all do many experiments with food in kitchen, I too tried kachori. Taste was very good but a few of them tore and potato filling came out during frying.

Slowly over the years I continued making them and proudly can say that now I can fry every single kachori in perfect shape!!!!!!

Mother’s recipes and tips are always perfect despite the fact that they used to prepare everything with their guess work!!

 

Ingredients

For preparing dough….

Wheat flour 2+1/2 cups
Salt 3/4 tsp
Carom seeds 1 tsp
Oil 2 +1/2 tbsp
Rava 1+1/2 tbsp (optional)
Water 1 cup +1/4 cup

Potato masala :

Boiled Potatoes
Dry mango powder, garam masala, salt, red chilli powder, asafoetida, chopped green chillies, finely chopped green coriander leaves(optional) and grated ginger(optional).

Oil, to fry

Tips :

1.   We have to knead slightly loose dough than our regular chapati dough. Loose dough will be easy to roll with stuffed potato mix.

2.   If you are feeling that the quantity of water is making dough very loose, then you can reduce some amount of water.

3.   Adding rava adds extra crunch to kachori  but if you don’t have, comfortably leave it.

4.   Make sure that coriander leaves have no water in them, otherwise potato mix will be soggy and it will make rolling difficult. Also, mix will seep out while rolling and frying.

5.  After boiling, keep potatoes in a strainer for some time so that all water drains out. Soggy boiled potatoes are not good for filling.

6.  Do not prepare potato mixture 2-3 hours in advance. Salt in mixture will turn it soggy.

7.  If you are preparing kachori first time, fry one kachori at a time, gain confidence and slowly you can do 2-3 at a time.

Process:

Take wheat flour, salt, carom seeds, rava in a broad pan to prepare the dough. Add oil and mix everything together.

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Now start adding water to knead and prepare slightly loose dough. Cover it with a damp cloth and keep it aside.

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Peel and mash potatoes and add all spices as per your taste along with chopped green chillies, coriander leaves and grated ginger. Mix everything together and potato mix is ready.

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Start heating oil in a deep pan. During the time oil is getting hot we can start the preparation of filling and rolling kachori.

Take some amount of dough and prepare it like a smooth ball between your palms and roll it little bit with the help of rolling pin . If dough is sticky, use oil to grease your palms and at rolling surface.

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Now add small amount of potato mix on the slightly rolled dough.

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From the edges start collecting the dough with your fingers, bring it at the center, close it and pat it down lightly.

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If required, again grease rolling surfer with oil and very gently roll stuffed dough carefully and evenly from all sides. Evenly rolled kachori will puff up nicely. Be careful that potato mix should not come out while rolling.

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By now oil is hot enough for frying. Make sure that oil is not very hot  otherwise kachori will remain raw from inside. You can check the right temperature of oil by putting a tiny piece of dough in it. If it sinks in the bottom of the pan, oil is not hot enough to fry. If dough becomes brown immediately after adding into the oil , it’s too hot. With experience you will learn!!

Now gently slip kachori from the side of the pan and fry it by turning upside down gently a couple of times till it becomes brown and crisp.

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Sometimes while frying kachori might open up and stuffing can seep out. It happens if you have rolled kachori very thin or it is overstuffed with potato mixture. Don’t panic, take out that damaged kachori and all that stuffing which is floating on oil with laddle and continue frying the rest of the kachoris.

Serve hot kachoris with your choice of chutney, sauce or dips!!

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