Half-moon shaped treats are common across cultures, from the middle east, where they are stuffed with spiced meat or dates and nuts to Italy where they are stuffed with cheese and spinach to India, where we make kadubu for Ganesh chathurthi. I've always loved the fresh coconut kadubus, with their moist, rich filling of fresh grated coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder playing off the crunchy flour case. But I had never had savoury kadubus until a couple of years ago when my grandmom was visiting.
For the first time ever, we were together on her birthday so I wanted to have a party for her. But the catch was that she doesn't eat onions and garlic whereas I'm hardpressed to find savoury recipes without these ingredients. Luckily it occurred to me to dig out my trusty Gujaratai cookbook by Tarla Dalal and I found a recipe for ghughras - little kadubus stuffed with spiced peas. Sounded nice to me so I made them and they turned out incredibly well. Tried'em again last week as practice for Chubbocks' upcoming birthday party next week. Easy Peasy, and so pretty!
2 cups peas
2 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
Salt to taste
Handful freshly grated coconut
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp jeera ( cumin seeds)
Handful freshly chopped coriander leaves
Coarsely grind the peas with the ginger-green chilli paste until they are still grainy but mashed up.
Heat a bit of oil in a wok and add the jeera. When it turns toasty, add the asafoetida. Add the peas and a little water ( 1/2 cup) and cook, first covering up the wok and later uncovering it and letting the water boil away until the peas are well-cooked.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Ghughra Flour Case
2 cups flour
2 tbsp ghee
Water as needed
Mix the three and knead into a stiff dough, like for puris.
Break into 14 small balls and roll each one out into a thin circle about 5 cm in diameter. Heap the ghughra filling onto one half of the circle, taking care not to go too near the edge. Fold the other half of the circle over and pinch the ends of the circle together ( so it looks like a half moon) so that there is no opening from where oil can get in ( this is important, else the ghughras will taste dry).
Deep fry each ghughra on a medium heat until pale brown. Serve hot with a coriander or tomato chutney.
I also like the filling by itself, so we often make it as an accompaniment to rotis, without mashing the peas up.