Kadhi is a popular Punjabi dish, and also one that falls into the comfort food category for most Indians. It is a dish which consists of deep fried besan (gram flour) fritters which are known as pakoras simmered in a tangy, sour and spiced yogurt-gram flour gravy. The word kadhi is derived from the word ‘Kadhna‘ which simply means to simmer over a long time so the kadhi reduces in quantity and thickens. The fritters are mostly made with onions mixed into the besan batter, but spinach, fenugreek pakoras are just as great. Basically you can add any vegetables you like to the pakoras. But a Punjabi kadhi is incomplete without the pakoras! Rice is the best accompaniment to Punjabi kadhi, though kadhi pairs well with chapati or parathas too, as it is thick in consistency.
There are so many variations in the way kadhi is prepared all over India, though they are all delicious in their own unique way! Even though I’m not a Punjabi, but I find a bowl of kadhi chawal very comforting. In fact this is a great dish to really warm up your senses during the winter season! A perfect winter lunch meal!
There are 3 parts to making this dish-
- Preparing the pakoras
- Prepararing the kadhi
- Assembling the dish
It is important to use sour yogurt for this dish, as the essence of kadhi lies in the sour taste. You really won’t enjoy this dish if you do not get the tartness. Indian yogurt works best for this, but if you don’t have access to it, remove the required amount of yogurt ( I find Greek yogurt works best for this) in a bowl, and leave it overnight. Next morning you can use it to make the kadhi. Or you can also add little lemon juice to the yogurt and leave it for a couple of hours. Another option is to add amchur (dry mango powder) whilst preparing the kadhi.
Traditionally, pakoras are deep fried! But you know me, if you have been following my blog!! I rarely share recipes that are deep fried. These pakoras are fried in the ebelskiever/paniyaram pan in minimal oil, making this a rather healthy and guilt free dish to enjoy! I’m glad I invested in this pan 2 years back, after I came across an elaborate post of various dishes that can be cooked using this pan in the blog The belly rules the mind by the talented ladies, Anvita & Soniya.
Each household probably has their own version of Punjabi kadhi pakora recipe, here is how I like to make it 🙂
Ingredients : Measuring cup used, 1 Cup = 250 ml, 1 teaspoon = 5 ml
For the pakoras-
1 cup besan
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon ajwain ( carom seeds)
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
handful of chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
salt to taste
about less than 1/2 cup water to make the batter
For the kadhi –
1 cup sour yogurt
1/4 cup besan, sifted
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt to taste
For the first tempering-
2 tablespoons oil ( preferably mustard oil)
3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon methi (fenugreek) seeds (do not add too much, as it will make the dish bitter)
1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
2 big garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 inch ginger, finely minced
pinch of asafoetida
2-3 green chillies, chopped
4-5 curry leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
For the second tempering-
1 tablespoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 -1 teaspoon red chilli powder
4-5 curry leaves
3-4 boriya mirch/ dry red chillies
1. Add the yogurt in a bowl, whisk to get rid of any lumps.
2. Add besan (sifted) along with turmeric and red chilli powder into the yogurt. Whisk well again to make a smooth lump free batter.
3. Add water gradually whilst you keep whisking the yogurt – besan mixture. Do not overmix, or you may end up with butter. You can also use a hand blender, but a whisk works just as great!
4. Heat oil in a sufficiently large heavy bottomed pot. Add mustard seeds and methi seeds, when mustard seeds splutter and methi turn golden brown add cumin and crushed coriander seeds
5. When the cumin seeds crackle, add ginger and garlic, sauté until aromatic.
6. Add in asafoetida, green chillies and curry leaves, sauté another 15 seconds. Add sliced onions, sauté until translucent.
6. Give the yogurt-besan mixture a quick mix & pour it into this tempering, increase the heat and bring to a boil whilst stirring continuously until it forms a homogeneous mixture. Once it start bubbling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
7. Whilst the kadhi is simmering, let’s prepare the pakoras. Heat the paniyaram pan while you prepare the pakora batter. In a bowl add all the ingredients mentioned under- for the pakoras.
8. Add water in little increments, ‘mix until you have a thick batter.
9. Grease the paniyaram pan with few drops of oil in each cavity, drop about a tablespoon of the pakora batter into each cavity. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes on medium low heat.
10. Flip and let the other side cook for another 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
11. After about 30 minutes of simmering, the kadhi would have thickened and the color will darken too. If it is too thick, add little water and boil again. You can add the prepared pakoras to the kadhi now, or else you can also add it at the time of serving the kadhi. If the pakoras sit in the kadhi for too long, they will get soft and mushy.
12. Also add finely chopped cilantro, let the kadhi simmer for another 5 minutes.
13. For the second tempering– In a small pan, heat ghee, add in cumin seeds, once it splutters add in the curry leaves & red chillies. Switch off the heat and and red chilli powder, mix well and immediately pour this tempering over the kadhi just before serving. Serve hot with rice.
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