KACHRI – कचरी (Chana Dal Mini Fritters)

Our visit to Delhi in mid–March, last year, was supposed to be a relaxed holiday for us; to spend quality time with our family and friends, to indulge in and enjoying Delhi street food and also lots of shopping. But all that went flying out of the window, once the lockdown was imposed just five days into our holiday. We got stuck in Delhi for a good two and a half months. Our previous visits at Delhi, mostly with my in-laws, were never longer than a fortnight. Although we were desperate to return to the comfort of our home, I realised that it was a good time for me to pick my mother-in-law’s brain and learn some of her tried tested recipes many of which include traditional ones. I will try and share some of them in the coming few days.

Kachri is fritters made using the skinless and split brown chickpeas (called kala chana in Hindi), popular as chana dal. These fritters are called kachri because of the sound of kachar kachar (कचर कचर) i.e. the crunchy noise that they make when you eat them. They are super crunchy! So, that is the little christening story of this snack from the state of Bihar.

The trick to making a, light on the inside and crunchy on the outside, kachri is the soaking time of the dal. Ample soaking time also ensures that the dal doesn’t absorb oil and become soggy when it is deep fried. Another trick is whisking the batter with hands (and not using a whisk) to incorporate air into it. This gluten free, vegan, protein rich snack is served with hot green chutney and sweet and spicy tamarind chutney. Delicious and addictive, be ready to serve several batches of it! 😀

And with this post, I am setting the ball rolling for sharing posts, specific for the upcoming festival of Diwali, which will primarily include desserts besides a couple of snacks.

1 C Chana Dal

1 tsp finely chopped, Ginger

2 Green Chilies, finely chopped

2 Dry Red Chilies, de-seeded and finely chopped

½ – ¾ C sliced, Onion (optional but recommended)

½ C finely chopped, fresh Coriander (cilantro)

¼ tsp Ajwain (Carom Seeds)

¾ tsp Jeera (Cumin Seeds)

½ – ¾ tsp Red Chili Powder, adjust amount to taste

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

1½ tsp crushed, Coriander Seeds

Salt to taste (I used half a teaspoon)

Oil for deep frying

Wash the chana dal, two to three times, and soak in sufficient water for five hours. Drain the water and coarsely grind (or even better, pulse it) the dal using approximately four to five tablespoons of water. It is pertinent that the dal is ground coarsely because it is this texture which will lead to it becoming super crunchy, when fried.

Decant the batter in a mixing bowl and using your hands, whisk the dal for approximately a minute. Now add the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) to the ground dal and mix them into the batter.

Set the batter aside for ten minutes. Meanwhile, pour sufficient oil in a wok or a frying pot. Bring the oil to medium high heat.

Take small amounts of batter and drop them gently into the oil, ensuring not to over crowd. (I prefer using my hands to drop the batter into oil instead of using a spoon because I find it easier to handle the batter this way)

Fry the fritters till they become reddish brown in colour. Remove them over an absorbent sheet or tissue and serve them hot with chutney of your choice. Enjoy!

Serves 3 – 4

Note – The amount of water, used for grinding, will depend on the soaking time of the dal.

Note – It is best to serve them hot with your favourite cuppa along with chutney of your choice.

Note – Do not be tempted to add baking soda or any other raising agent to these fritters.

Thank you for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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