Baked Matar Karanji
Funny how there are so many memories associated with every season. Winter for me brings back all my favorite memories, especially those related to food. Those last few months of the year, of pleasantly cold days in Pune have etched a special place in my heart.
Winter and Matar ..
I remember walking with Mom to buy seasonal vegetables. Gosh! there were so many winter special veggies.. Carrots, corn and sweet peas. Mom would stock up on sweet peas whenever the price dwindled down to a mere 2 digit a kilo. And when that happened, I remember there was collective effort in the family to sort and clean up the sweet peas and store them safely into the fridge. Sweet peas also referred to as Matar, would then be incorporated in all food items- breakfast, sabzi, rice, snacks and every possible way.
My favorite snack ..
One of my favorite form was to eat Matar Karanji. Mostly on lazy sunday afternoons, Mom would make deep fried Matar Karanji (small hand pies). I would insist her to make it in the morning and my food would be Matar Karanji all day. Eventually, I moved away from this deep fried version, more because I started putting on a lot of weight. I would resist eating it until a time came when I hated it.
How time has changed..
Fast forward to the last few years, I met my husband who is an ardent Matar Karanji lover. The very first thing he made me do after we got married was make Matar Karanji. I remember making almost a kilo of Karanjis for my husband’s office potluck. And so, the Matar Karanji fever gripped me again. Only this time, I am the one making and he’s the one eating. For the last few years, it is sort of a ritual to make Matar Karanji at this time of the year and devouring it with all sorts of chutneys with some bubbling tea on cold weekends. Now, I have slowly tried to move this favorite deep fried snack into not so fried snack with the help of baking them in the oven or using my recently purchased air fryer.
Making Matar Karanji
Matar Karanji is easy to make and absolutely delicious to taste and most of the ingredients are easily available in the pantry except for the fresh green pearls of sweet peas.
You can either make the dough or buy the frozen pie crust dough. I usually use Pillsbury pie crust. It’s very easy to make Karanjis when you have pie crust handy. Just make sure that you seal the sides securely so that they don’t burst open when baking. You can use water to seal the Karanjis.
For the covering
- 1 cup All purpose flour
- 3 tbsp Oil hot
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp crushed carom seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4-5 tbsp water
For the stuffing
- 1 cup Fresh sweet peas
- 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
- 2 tbsp oil
- 5 Green chilies chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp asafoetida
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- salt as per taste
- 1 tsp Garam masala
- 1 tsp red chili powder as per your choice
- 1 tsp Nigella seeds
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- 2 tbsp milk
For the covering:
- In a mixing bowl, add together 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tbsp carom seeds.
- To this add 3 tbsp hot oil. Mix the oil into the flour well to make it flaky.
- Once all the oil is properly mixed, start kneading the dough with it.
- Add water as and when required. Do not add lot of water. About 2-3 tbsp water will be enough. The dough should be tight.
- Once the dough is properly kneaded, cover the dough with lid/damp towel and let it rest for 30 mins -1 hour.
For the stuffing:
- In a small saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil on a medium flame.
- Once the oil heats, add 1 tsp each mustard, fennel and cumin seeds and let it crackle.
- You can add 2 cloves of chopped garlic (optional)
- Into this oil, add 4-5 curry leaves (optional), pinch of asafoetida and 4-5 chopped chilies.
- Then add 1 cup peas and 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut. You can either use fresh peas or frozen.
- To this add 2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp chili powder and 2 tsp chaat masala. Add 1 tsp of salt (adjust as per taste)
- Mix everything well and cook for 10 mins with a lid covering the pan. If using fresh peas, add 2 tbsp water and cook for 5-10 mins more.
- I recommend making the stuffing slightly spicy because once baked, the covering and stuffing balances the flavor.
- Roll a round dough of 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle some Nigella seeds while rolling the dough.
- Into this round dough, add the stuffing and conceal the ends properly. Dip your finger in water and line the outer edge of the covering and then stick the ends together. With a fork press the edges after sticking the ends for extra pressure on the ends to stick.
- You can use an empanada mould/karanji mould to shape the Karanji.
- Place these Karanji onto a plate and cover it with damp cloth until all other karanji are done.
- Preheat the Oven/Airfryer to 425F.
- Line the baking tray with baking sheet and grease with cooking spray.
- Transfer the Karanji to the baking tray and apply some milk on top of each Karanji.
- Bake for 10 mins. Flip the Karanji and cook for 7 more mins.
- Once done cooking, turn the oven to Broil mode at 525F.
- Place the baking tray close to the upper coil of oven and broil for 4 mins. Keep checking the tray to avoid burning the Karanji.
- If done properly, this makes the Karanji look golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.
- Serve with assorted chutneys or sauce and enjoy!
- If you wish to fry these Karanji, make sure the ends of the Karanji are secured well and the stuffing doesn't fall out.
- Dip index finger in water and then apply to the ends (of the Karanji) which will be sticking together and then fold to make sure it's closed completely.
- Heat oil in a deep wok. Make sure the oil is heating on medium flame. Do not heat on high flame.
- Test if the oil is ready by adding a small piece of dough. If the dough comes up floating in the wok, the oil is ready for frying.
- Add 2 karanjis to the oil and fry until golden brown. As you put Karanji into the oil, there will be bubbles around it. To know the Karanji is cooked, notice the bubbles vanish. Make sure the Karanji is evenly cooked from both sides.
- Once done, transfer to paper towel lined plate and let it cool slightly.
- Serve with chutneys
Do give this a try..
This Matar Karanji is a party pleaser and perfect snack to have on a chilly weekend afternoon. Do try this recipe until the season of fresh peas last. And don’t forget to let me know your feedback about it 🙂