Matar Kachori (Fried Pea-Filled Pastries)

Matar Kachori (Fried Pea-Filled Pastries)

Kachori started as street food in Rajasthan, where Marwari cooks sealed food in pastry and deep-fried it, making it ideal for the hungry traders doing business at outdoor markets. Kachori can be filled with potatoes, dal and vegetables, but when peas are in season, they make what I consider the pinnacle of the genre. The filling is fresh, green, bright, juicy and lightly seasoned with herbs and lemon, all tucked inside a thin, flaky crust. The dough behaves nothing like pie dough, but somehow achieves the same effect after it’s deep-fried. Though the snack was originally made to be portable and to keep for a long time, these kachori are best the day they’re made.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 20 persons



  1. Step 1

    Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.
  2. Step 2

    Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour, 2/3 cup ghee and salt. Use your hand to mix them together until the flour is sandy and the mixture clumps when squashed together. Gradually add 1/2 cup cold water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, working it in with your hand. Gently knead the mixture directly in the bowl just until it comes together and forms a soft dough. (You might need to add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of water to bring the dough together.)
  3. Step 3

    Form the dough into a ball, grease it with the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee and wrap the ball tightly in plastic wrap. Set aside to rest for about 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  4. Step 4

    Prepare the filling: Season the boiling water with salt, add the peas and blanch for 1 minute. Strain the peas, then rinse under cold water. When the peas are cool, strain them again and tip them into a medium bowl. Transfer half the peas into a food processor; pulse until roughly chopped, then return to the bowl.
  5. Step 5

    In a small skillet, heat the 2 teaspoons oil over medium. Add the mustard seeds, coriander and cumin, and toast for 1 minute. Stir in the ginger, chile and garlic, and sauté over medium until the smell of the raw garlic is mellow, about 2 minutes, then scrape into the bowl with the peas. Add scallions, cilantro, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a squeeze of lemon, and mix well. Season to taste with salt and lemon.
  6. Step 6

    In a deep cast-iron skillet, add enough neutral oil to reach about 3 inches high. Heat over medium to about 325 degrees. (Gentle heat helps keep the delicate kachori intact.) Adjust the heat as needed to keep the kachori frying gently.
  7. Step 7

    Pinch the dough into about 20 even balls and cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Working with one ball at a time on a clean work surface, use a rolling pin or ghee-greased palms to flatten each ball into a 4-inch disk. Put 1 tablespoon of the pea mixture in the center and pull all the edges of the dough up and around it into a ball, being careful not to let the outermost edges get wet with filling. Twist and pull the edges together to close them, pinching off all the excess dough at the same time. (Try not to rip the dough, or oil will get inside the kachori when you fry it. If you do make a tear, repair it and move on!) Press the seam down gently to smooth it and set aside.
  8. Step 8

    When you have 5 kachori formed and the oil is up to temperature, fry the kachori, seam-side down, flipping them once halfway through, until the pastry is evenly golden brown and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer the kachori to a paper towel-lined plate or a metal rack, so that any excess oil can drip out. Repeat with remaining dough, shaping the next batch of kachori as the first is frying and leaving the remaining dough covered in plastic wrap until you’re ready to form it. (If you’ve been pinching excess dough, you can squeeze an extra kachori or two out of the scraps.) Serve warm.