A Bengali Brunch: Koraishootir kochuri [Pooris stuffed with a spicy peas masala]

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R and I had been dating for many years before we got married. Our conversations used to revolve around our families, our lives together, our cultural differences, amongst many other things which young dating couples from different cultural backgrounds talk about.

R’s family is from West Bengal, a state in the Eastern part of India that is often known for its politics, literary history, culture, a daily diet that MUST include fish, and people who are extremely fond of sweets! My family, on the other hand, comes from the neighbouring state of Bihar, a state that is often the subject of conversation for its politics, lawlessness and poverty. The harsh reality is that we live in a world of stereotypes. The only silver lining is that we also live in a world where travel has become a lot easier and internet ensures there is enough information for people who seek out for it. This is definitely helping people to see beyond these stereotypes.

Before I got married, I was only worried about how I was going to deal with the sweet palate of the Bengali family and relatives because I definitely didn’t have one. It would be rude to refuse a sweet offered so lovingly and generously. Fortunately, it wasn’t really as difficult as I had made it out to be. Word spread about my love for fish and my lack of appetite for sweets.  The rest is history. I have been fortunate to have some of the best food in many Bengali homes. No restaurant can match up to that taste, variety and depth of flavour that is created in these home kitchens.

My Mother-in-Law is one of the best cooks I know. I owe a lot of my understanding of Bengali food to her. There are also a couple of other relatives and friends who have wholeheartedly welcomed me in their kitchen and given me the opportunity to watch, ask questions and learn. That learning over the years has given me the confidence to cook a lot of traditional Bengali food at home.

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Today, I am sharing my recipe of a traditional Bengali Brunch – ‘Koraishootir Kochuri’ or Pooris stuffed with a spicy peas masala. Do not confuse them with “Kachori” from North India. The two are quite different in texture, appearance and taste.

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Koraishootir kochuri is a popular homemade breakfast especially in the winter months when peas are in season. I didn’t have to wait for winters as I used frozen peas which are fortunately available year round! ;-) Koraishootir Kochuri is almost always served with some Indian pickles (aachhaar / achaar) and a spicy semi-dry dish made with potatoes called aaloo dom in Bengali or aaloo dum in Hindi. I promise to share a recipe of aaloo dom / aaloo dum very soon!

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The filling used here is a spicy mixture of peas dominantly flavoured by asafetida. Asafetida or hing, is a very strong and pungent spice. It is used quite extensively in a lot of Indian vegetarian dishes, especially for cooking where no onions or garlic are used. Most commonly available in a powder form, when fried for a few seconds in oil, it releases a very pleasant aroma and enhances the flavour of a dish immediately. A little goes a long way is apt for this spice. It is also an essential ingredient for flavoring many Indian pickles / achaar / aachaar.

Traditionally, Maida or refined flour is used to make this dish. I prefer to use wholewheat flour instead.

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To print this recipe, click here.

Koraishootir Kochuri or Pooris with a spicy Peas Masala filling:

Yield: About 18-20 pcs
These are quite heavy as they are thicker than the usual pooris and they have filling inside.

Things I needed:

A Paraath or a huge plate which is common in most Indian homes. It is used to knead dough.
A deep bottomed kadhai or Indian style wok or a deep pot for deep frying.
A Chakla
A rolling pin

For more information on the essential utensils for an Indian kitchen, you should check out the blog written by my friend, Nisha. She blogs at Spusht and has done a brilliant job of making an inventory for any one new to Indian cooking. Check this and many other interesting recipes and ideas on her blog, Spusht.

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Ingredients for the Dough:

Wholewheat flour: 2 cups [I used Aashirvaad Wholewheat aata]
Ghee: 1 tbsp
Carom seeds or Ajwain: ½ tsp
Warm water: ¾ cup
Salt: a pinch or to taste
Oil for deep frying

In a paraath or a big flat deep plate used in most Indian homes for kneading dough, add the flour, carom seeds (ajwain) and salt. Using your hands mix all the dry ingredients so that they are uniformly spread. Now add ghee (at room temperature) to the flour and rub it in between your palms. Repeatedly rub the flour and ghee mixture in this manner for 3-4 minutes to have the smell and flavour of ghee spread across the flour.

Next, make a well and add 1/3 cup water in the middle. Knead the dough mixing the flour with the water, adding water a little at a time. You may not need to use all the water but Add another 1/3 cup warm water and continue kneading. If the dough is sticky, just add a little flour and knead it again until smooth. We are looking for a dough which is not too firm but not very soft either – somewhere in between!

Ingredients for the Peas filling:

Frozen peas: 2 cups
Regular vegetable oil: 2 tsp
Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
Grated ginger: 1 tsp
Asafetida powder (hing): approx. 1/8 tsp
Roasted cumin powder: ½ tsp
Garam Masala: ½ tsp
Aamchoor (Dry Mango) powder: ½ tsp
Salt to taste

Boil the peas in just enough water to wet the peas with a pinch of salt until they are soft. (About 5 mins).

Using a food processor, make a coarse paste of the peas.

Heat 2 tsp of oil in a small kadhai / wok / skillet. Add cumin seeds, reduce heat and let it change colour without burning or turning black. Add grated ginger. You have to be careful to not let the cumin seeds burn otherwise it can add a bitter taste. Reduce heat or remove the pan from heat if needed. Add the asafetida and stir for a couple of seconds. Add the coarse peas paste, chilli powder and salt to taste.

Increase heat to medium, and continue to stir in order to reduce the moisture content of this mixture. When the mixture is almost dry (about 5 mins), add the roasted cumin powder, garam masala powder and aamchoor powder. Taste and adjust the taste to your liking. Continue frying for another 2 minutes and remove from heat.
Spread mixture on a plate to allow it to cool completely. This step is important to help you roll the pooris and make sure the filling doesn’t come out when rolling.

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Assembling it all together:

Now divide the dough into about equal size pieces. You should be able to make around 18 – 20 pcs. These are rolled thicker than the usual pooris so each portion must be a little bigger than your usual Poori dough. To give you an idea, each pc weighed in between 20-25 gms.

Make a smooth ball with each pc of dough. Using your fingers and in a sort of pinching motion, press from the centre turning it around, creating a well to stuff the filling. Make sure you don’t spread it too thin as this needs to be rolled flat and the stuffing should not come out.

Stuff around 1 tbsp of the prepared filling as shown in the picture. Seal it well. Take out a tbsp of the oil in a small bowl. Put a few drops of oil on the surface of the rolling surface (Chakla) to ensure it doesn’t stick when rolling. We do not use flour to roll these as dry flour will burn very quickly [A tip I learned from my Mother-in-law].

Roll these into small but thick pooris about 10-12 cm in diameter, taking care not to let the filling come out. If the filling comes out, these will not fluff up as we want it to. This takes a little practice so don’t be disappointed if you miss a few. Keep trying:)

Test the oil by adding a tiny pinch of dough, it should sizzle immediately and float up in the oil. Remove the test piece or you’ll have a burnt piece of dough floating about.

Gently slide down the rolled koraishootir kochuri in to hot oil to deep fry them. With the back of the spatula, gently press these kochuris to help them fluff up. Once fluffed up, immediately turn them over so that both sides get cooked. Fry one piece at a time. You could roll a few and keep on standby while the oil is heating, but make sure you do not stack them. Instead, spread them on a plate separate from one another.

Keep adjusting the heat. If the oil becomes too hot, there are 2 things you can do:
– reduce the heat or remove from heat to gradually cool down the oil to bring to desired temperature.
– Add more oil. This will help to reduce the temperature of the oil.

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38 Responses to A Bengali Brunch: Koraishootir kochuri [Pooris stuffed with a spicy peas masala]

  1. vinicooksveg says:

    Wow! Looks yummy and photos are so cute. I always have rajasthani kachori (moongdal). Would love to try these!:) :)

  2. Yum! 😊 I like the Kachori more though as it has more peas and crisp. With stuffed green Chilli achaar & Alu curry its a favorite in Delhi’s street food! 😋

  3. Tanvi says:

    Did you peek in my kitchen? Can you believe that I made this last night along with garma garam aalo jhol for Rakhi dinner. These taste awesome the next day! I still have the taste from lunch.
    Yummy!!

    • haha I didn’t peek into your kitchen but I did think of you when I was writing this post :-) I made aaloo dum with this but it was already evening so couldn’t get any decent pictures. Will make again and post soon:)

  4. Tanvi says:

    Love the light in the first shot and nice props!

  5. Nandita says:

    Beautiful post!!! Love the way you have shot the dish!!! And a great write up as well :)

  6. very nice post, I love pooris but haven’t eaten one in ages…we used to have every 3-4 years some indiand friends over at my parents house and we would cook together
    my mother has been given a lovely rolling pin with matching wood board to flatten pooris
    you made me want to make some and brought back lovely memories, thanx
    have a nice day

  7. Anita Menon says:

    Divine. thanks for the step by step pictures. These are so helpful. fantastic photos.

  8. Kumu says:

    Looks yummy! Love the pics!

  9. Love this post. The photos are spectacular!

  10. sebbyholmes says:

    This looks absolutely delicious, thanks so much for sharing. I am a Thai chef and have been focusing all my efforts on Thai cuisine over the last year. However I am going to have to give this a go It looks amazing. Great blog, I shall be following along. Awesome photography too – makes me want to grab it out the screen

  11. these look so good. I love your pictures

  12. My first time on your blog, and I’ve enjoyed looking at these puris. This looks really yummy.

  13. Flora says:

    Looks delicious! I am gonna give this a try!

  14. sulagna says:

    You know what..this si way too much co-incidence..i found you on Instagram last night through an indian food tag :) and look i see you on Tanvi’s page today..had to open your blog and now following it ! I am a Bengali brought up in Bihar with a mad loyalty towards everything sweet , and my soul flips over everytime i hear the word “litti” or “thekua” or for that matter “chicken ka rassa”..lovely blog you have and your story telling skills make it so much more enjoyable..look forward to more such delightful stories, recipes and pictures !!

    • Nice to meet you too!! :-) Thanks for leaving a note here. I love these traditional bihari dishes. My Mom and grand-ma used to make a lot of these dishes at home. Somehow, the frequency of these dishes being cooked at home has decreased over the years. I hope that I can at least master the art of making some of these traditional dishes before they completely fade away. Thanks so much for all the wonderful words :)

  15. The stuffed puris are quite popular even in Bihar (my hubby happens to be from there) and my mother in law often makes them with a light potato curry. You presentation is lovely as always and these puris are definitely delicious and it is surely hard to stop at one or two :-)

    • Hi, thanks a lot for dropping by:) I love these pooris too, though I don’t make it that often.. mainly because it’s impossible to stop at one or two ;-) Somehow, in my family, we make other kinds of stuffed pooris with daal, etc..not so much with peas.. I should ask my Mom why I was deprived of these as a child ;-) hehe

  16. Such beautiful step-by-step photos! These look delicious, and your blog is just lovely. :)

  17. peppercornsinmypocket says:

    Ah, one of my favourite things! And you’ve made it, and photographed, it so beautifully, Vishakha :)
    It’s good to know that your lack of sweet-tooth didn’t stop you from diving headlong into a Bengali household :) I bet your love of fish helps though!

  18. Your photography is just so mesmerizing!! I love peas and kachoris! My mom-in-law makes it whenever anyone goes on a long travel :)

  19. Rosa Mayland says:

    Those pooris look ever so good! What a wonderful speciality.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  20. Nisha says:

    Oh nice – didn’t know this bit about you & R :)
    I love everything with peas. Especially the matar kachori I once ate in India and the matar stuffed paratha! Your pictures and explanation – thumbs up. And now I am so tempted to eat this poori, really.

    P.S.: It is a big thing if a blogger mentions another blogger in a few words. But you wrote a whole paragraph! Thanks so much for the kind mention, Vishakha. :)

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