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Trini Kachouries

Kachories- with tamarind chutneyA couple months ago the Trini Gourmet posted about her forays into making Trinidad Kachourie, a fried delicacy from the Indo-Trini background, available wherever doubles and sahinas and baiganis are sold. Trini Kachourie is a like a fritter made from ground yellow split-peas (or our dhal) or even chick peas, and seasoned with the usual suspects of geera (cumin), garlic, hot pepper, shadon beni (bandhania) and sive (chives). All ingredients are mixed together and deep fried till brown and crispy.

As Trini Gourment discovered for us all, that Kachouries in T&T aren’t the same thing that is so called in India, the latter version being more like a stuffed fritter where it is sometimes stuffed with the same ingredients as are in our kachourie, and wrapped in a flour shell, or in the Uttar Pradesh version somewhat like Trini aloo pie! TG also experimented with using Phoulourie Mix to make quick kachouries, since the base of pholourie (and at least in the packaged mix) is split-pea flour, which resulted in a doughy kachourie, perhaps a little to light on the split-pea taste. She also posted the Naparima Cookbook recipe which uses ground peas for the kachourie, which is what got me to thinking about kachourie and my experiences with it (and no, I am not going to just recant Sarina’s post here :-) Go read it!).

two saheenasYou see, I grew up with Mom-made kachouries, which, like Mom-made baras, were more substantial than the street-food version. And Mom’s kachouries were more like the Naparima cookbook version, which makes for a crunchy textured delicious kachourie. I never even thought of kachourie as being anything like pholourie at all, and while I am not disagreeing with TG, kachouries for me always meant ground soaked-overnight-split-peas until I ate them outside. For there are indeed different versions and textures of kachourie, some of them clearly being made from the split pea flour rather than the peas themselves, and thus resulting in the fluffy inside, crispy-on-the-outside kachouries that call for curry-channa-stuffing. There is the same side-by-side existence of crunchy vs fluffy sahina in Trinidad, based on the same choices for base ingredient. I remember enjoying the 2 types of sahinas simultaneously last year for Divali in Trinidad as different neighbours dropped them off. You can see the different textures in the photo and guess what the kachourie textures might be (maybe I’ll post later on sahina).

Kachorie - the source ingredientOf course all this thinking, especially during Ramadan (already over I know, I am behind as usual), made me want to make kachouries. I had lots of dhal (yellow split peas) and time. I soaked the dhal, perhaps not overnight, but long enough for the moment and began. Grind, grind, grind in the food processor (or should that be “process, process, process”?), then add a combination of eschallots (Guyana term, approximates Trini chives), bandhania, pepper (sauce), garlic, ground coriander (dhania) etc. Then there’s the addition of some flour and baking powder. Now, of course I was not without my own desire to experiment. Since the Naps cookbook suggests split peas OR channa (chick peas) and falafel is made from ground chick peas (or sometimes lentils if you have Syrian or Lebanese connections), so I wondered what ground split-peas would taste like falafel style. That would be, ground peas, well seasoned and herbed, and fried without the addition of flour, baking powder and water. So I tried it for the first few. The texture was dense and moist, not as crunchy, and had a really strong pea-flavour. Much stronger and greener than chick peas. I don’t think yellow split peas make for a good falafel, although the texture was very much similar. That taste needs a bit thinning out.

Experimentation shelved, I proceeded to add some regular old white flour, baking powder and some water, to loosen up and lighten the kachourie mixture. And voila, when pressed into patties and fried, it was crunchy all over, and nicely textured, with the crispy bits at the flattened edges. Yum. Of course, this one cannot be easily stuffed with curry channa, but it CAN be dipped into your favourite chutney (tamarind used here) or sliced and slathered with the stuff. Your choice. Snap photos as best as you can in late evening light, drive over to sister the elder in time to break fast and you’re good to go. Well, last bit optional, until next Ramadan.

It was interesting to realise that kachourie isn’t really known in Guyana, considering the number of similarities when it comes to our respective Indian heritage cuisine. Particularly as I have realised from Cynthia’s comments here and elsewhere, there are even more similarities in those foods, especially the traditional home-cooked versions, than I ever knew. But maybe their kachouries are even more traditional – if you count egg balls and related stuffed and fried items on the Guyanese menu. What do you think?

Kachorie - insides Ok I suppose, you may have read all this way wanting the recipe. I just added my stuff by feel, but I’ll post the recipe from the Naps cookbook for you, even though you could go over to the Trini Gourmet for it too 😀

The ingredients from the Naparima Girls High School Cookbook:

1 lb. split peas or chick peas, soaked overnight
3 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup pimentos, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped chive
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. saffron powder or tumeric
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt or to taste
hot pepper to taste
1/4 cup water (approx.)
1 cup oil for deep-frying

ENJOY! And as always, experiment.

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15 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. i like them crispy

    it’s all mom’s fault

    1. Lilandra, Empress of Chocolate and Envious Sister on November 10th, 2007 at 2:58 pm
  2. I was searching for this kind of a blog for months now. Actually lost the hope of finding one, but here i am :) Thanks for the great articles! Looking forward for a little read after dinner :)

    2. funfacts on November 11th, 2007 at 3:47 am
  3. Looks yummy… I remember my Mom making this a lot when I was growing up… especially Eid Day… it was just shaped into small sized balls.
    Same recipe …soaking the Dhal then grind it, back then it was the masala brick, no processors.
    I am Muslim Guyanese in NY.
    Thank you for bringing back wonderful memories.

    3. Zee on November 11th, 2007 at 12:28 pm
  4. I’m definitely going to try this. Thanks for your notes and thoughts on it.

    4. Cynthia on November 11th, 2007 at 8:24 pm
  5. Hi Zee – we used to use the mill :-) to grind. But food processors are great tools! Thanks for your comment and memories.

    Cynthia, looking forward to hearing how it came out.

    5. chennette on November 14th, 2007 at 4:10 pm
  6. Sahina and Baggia are two different things even though we seldom differentiate in good old trini……..
    Lilandra and her female siblings love sahina but brother prefers baggia………..

    6. TriniMom on November 15th, 2007 at 6:10 am
  7. Love reading your trini recipe blogs! They really do bring back the memories. My dad had Kachouries for lunch on Friday (in Trinidad) and he offered me a piece. I declined and now that I am back in Canada, your description of it makes me wish I had eaten some!

    Any chance of a jalebi recipe?

    7. Indira on March 4th, 2008 at 4:22 pm
  8. Hi and welcome Indira! tsk tsk, declining kachouries…
    While I make many rash promises to provide recipes (and one day some of those long-suffering commenters will track me down and exact retribution) I can safely never promise to provide a jalebi recipe 😀 My mother claims to have grown up making it, using a tin of some sort, with holes punched out to make the swirls, but I have never actually seen it done…
    I would suggest Debe :-) but since you’re in the cold North, Indian jalebis aren’t that bad. And some of them are not as sweet as ours, making them more enjoyable!

    8. Chennette on March 4th, 2008 at 4:59 pm
  9. My “Mama” would punch a hole in a ghee tin, pour the batter in and use it to direct the swirls of batter into the oil. I remember her doing it, but I was only 10yrs or so at the time. I was more interested in eating the finished product!
    Believe it or not, I found a recipe on Wikipedia! Also one from “Sweet Hands” (recipe book). I will attempt it one of these days when I “ketcha vaps”. :>

    9. Indira on March 6th, 2008 at 1:21 pm
  10. see, you better than me – I never even see it done! :-)

    10. Chennette on March 6th, 2008 at 1:50 pm
  11. great site! would love a pilau?? recipe! I remember the black eye peas one and the red beans! Indira

    13. indira on January 25th, 2009 at 3:46 pm
  12. hi Indira and thanks. I have a pelau recipe here. Usually Trinis use pigeon peas (or green peas). And although I have heard of using other peas and beans, it’s more common in Guyanese cookup. Of course, other Trinis might be more bean/pea diverse than my family 😀

    14. Chennette on January 25th, 2009 at 10:02 pm
  13. Ramadan mubarak. Thanks for sharing this because my umm recently brought this with her along with doubles and sahina and non of us know what the name of it was; all we know is we ate it before many times. And now that i saw the pic i was like or that is what they call it….even the name does not sound too familiar :)…i blame it on Laventille….

    17. Umar on August 12th, 2010 at 10:41 am
  14. assalamu ‘alaikum Umar – Ramadan Kareem! it’s pronounced usually like ka-chaw-ree – does that sound more familiar? :-) anyway, glad to help out! Hope Ramadan treating you well.

    18. Chennette on August 12th, 2010 at 11:43 pm
  15. Rounded & fluff interiors /insides enhances kachourie taste. Beautiful Sugarcane blooms reminiscent of wonderful grandparents & their cuisine.

    21. Radica on September 20th, 2011 at 3:32 am

7 Trackbacks

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  4. By   Bakra Eid! — Lifespan of a Chennette on November 26, 2009 at 10:05 pm

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  5. […] understand why people just didn’t curry the channa! It went so much better with the fried kachourie or saheena, plus it was half of being a doubles!!. And not everyone can do a good boil and […]

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  7. […] a meeting in time to get home to prepare for the first tarawih prayers, soak some split peas for kachourie, and got to bed a reasonable hour. I had cereal (Nestle Gold) and rice milk for Suhr and lots of […]

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