Chakri means ‘wheel’ so I guess you could call the ‘Catherine Wheel’ biscuits. Traditionally we make these at Diwali time and serve them to visiting guests with chai. I rather like them for breakfast or elevenses dipped into sour cream or plain yoghurt. You can crumble them up and use them on top of ‘chaat’ too.
The recipe below makes about 100 or so chakri so by all means halve it or make it when you are gift giving for Diwali or Christmas. They keep well in an airtight container for a few weeks. If they last that long!
- 1kg rice flour
- 500g plain flour
- 4tsp salt
- 1tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp red chill powder
- 1.5 tsp cumin powder
- 2tbsp sesame seeds
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp crushed ginger
- 2tbsp lemon juice
- 5 tsp crushed green chillies
- 6 cups warm water
- 3/4 packet unsalted butter – melted
- Vegetable oil for frying
You will also need a farsan maker.
This really is the only must have. I have tried using piping bags fitted with a star shaped nozzle but the dough is too thick and the bag usually splits. Most Indian grocery stores sell these in brass or stainless steel varieties.
To make them
- To make the dough, put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter.
- Gently mix the butter into the dry ingredients so you have some breadcrumbs and then pour over the lemon juice and mix in.
- Now add the water a little at a time. You may not need all of it. Mix the dough with your hands til you have a soft dough. It should be a little wet but not sticky – the consistency of cookie dough.
- Fit the farsan maker with the star shaped disc and and then fill the cylinder up with the soft dough. Fit the top and use the handle to gently squeeze out the dough and form a Catherine Wheel about 6 cm in diameter. To stop the dough coming out just put the machine down on the work surface.
- Make sure you pinch the outer end lightly onto the outer edge otherwise it may fall apart when frying. Try not to move the Chakree once you’ve made them but if you need to make space then use a palette knife to gently swoop them up.
- Once you have pressed out all the dough into Catherine wheels, put the oil into a wok ready for frying while you tidy up. The oil should be medium hot otherwise the Chakree won’t cook all the way through.
- Gently add the chakree into the hot oil starting with the ones you pressed first as these will be firmer. I use my hands but you can use a palette knife to lower them in.
- Fry on both sides til they a a deep golden brown and then drain on tissue or greaseproof paper.
Once cooled, store in an airtight tin for a couple of weeks.
These are generally eaten as a snack with a cup of chai but they are equally good as a canapé with some green coriander chutney for dipping. I also like using the broken bits tossed into chaat or a simple tomato and onion salad.