Kadhi is my favourite fall dinner. Its so comforting and delicious, just a bowlful and you feel the warmth settling in already. Although people swear by the combo of Kadhi-Rice, I like it more with Chapathi/Roti.. even Paratha. While some of you may whimper at that thought, let me clarify that this is typical Punjabi Kadhi we are talking about. Which is thick, smooth and rich. Unlike the runny version of Kadhi that we usually get in restaurants, which does taste better with rice.
Punjabi Kadhi is a staple during winters. Yogurt when cooked with gram flour, nurtures warming qualities. When consumed in winters, Kadhi acts as a gentle medicine to cure minor cold and cough problems. My grandmother used to give us a bowlful of hot Kadhi (instead of tea) when we used to get back from College during winters. She says that it provides instant warmth and helps in curing minor headaches and relieves tension. Well, don’t know about that but it sure soothes me when am suffering from a throat infection. The reason behind the medicinal properties of Kadhi is also the combination of spices used. Turmeric, curry leaves and bay leaves, when used together, provides that warm punch to the curry.
Kadhi is made using many different recipes, depending on the region and style. My SIL makes Kadhi in a totally different way. At her place, Kadhi is like a quick addition to the already full plate. So if they have any guests coming over and they have already made 2-3 dishes, just to make an extra dish, they would add Kadhi to it. The Kadhi she makes is an instant version and is ready in less than 15 minutes. Whereas the Kadhi I am talking about here, takes almost an hour to get ready (although the actual amount of work done is the same). the taste and texture is very different of course.
Another type of Kadhi I make is this Dapka Kadhi which is a healthier version of the Punjabi Kadhi, with steamed Pakoras (fritters) instead of deep fried ones in it. I do like both the versions, depending on my mood and craving for the same.
I also sometimes mix spinach puree to the Pakora (fritter) batter in an advent to make them a bit healthier. It works well though, and we get to eat a bit of green with the wonderful taste of Kadhi. If interested, check this recipe of Palak Kadhi Pakoda (Kadhi with spinach fritters)
And then there are other types of Kadhis like- Gujarati Kadhi, Sindhi Kadhi, Rajasthani Kadhi etc. all of which are totally different than what we are going to prepare today.
Coming back to the recipe for today – don’t be scared of the long procedure and ingredient list below. The procedure is very simple and it hardly takes 15-20 minutes for you to prepare everything. Its just the cooking part which takes half of the time. But then that is just the simmering bit, and don’t have to anything with it.
It’s a typical Punjabi dish- rich and thick. It tastes best with thick rotis like they do serve in Dhabas. And hence ginger, garlic and onion is used in abundance here. You may skip onion-garlic if you wish, but I really love the garlic-y aroma and taste in Kadhi. So do give it a try if you haven’t tasted it before. I have given loads of tips in the notes below the recipe, so to help you try different versions and get them right.
Prepare this Kadhi when you want to have something warm and cosy, pair it with some green stir fry aside and roti or rice. Have a bowlful and then .. just relax! Well, I do the same. 🙂
What you need?
For the Pakodas:
- 2 cups Gram flour (besan)
- About ¾ cup of water
- 1 tsp Carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp Garam masala powder
- A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- For the yogurt base (Kadhi):
- 2 cups yogurt
- 1 cup Bengal gram flour (besan)
- About 4 cups of water
- 2 tsp red chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp salt
For the tempering:
- 2 medium sized onions, sliced thin length wise
- 1 inch piece of ginger- minced properly
- 3-4 cloves of garlic – minced/chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 1-2 green chilies
- 1 tbsp dried Fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 2-3 dried red chilies
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 3 tbsp mustard oil or ghee or any vegetable oil
- A pinch of Asafoetida (heeng)
- Salt to taste
- Fresh coriander leaves to garnish (cilantro)
- First of all- plan ahead and prepare the yogurt-spice mix at least an hour before you start cooking. I usually keep it aside for 2-3 hours to get good taste.
- To prepare the same, whip the yogurt in a big mixing bowl properly. Add in the gram flour and beat it well. There shouldn’t be any lumps, you may use a blender to make it smooth.
- Now mix all the spices listed under “yogurt base” with the yogurt and mix well. Keep aside for an hour so the flavours get absorbed properly.
- In the meanwhile, let’s prepare the fritters. Mix all the ingredients listed under Pakoras in a bowl, adding little water at a time to prepare a thick batter. The batter should be of dropping consistency, if its too runny the Pakoras will not hold shape and will get very thin.
- Heat oil in a wok (kadhai) to deep fry the fritters. Spoon the batter and drop it into the hot oil, at medium flame. Fry all fritters in batches and drain them on kitchen paper or tissue. Keep them aside.
- Now, we will cook the yogurt mix to prepare the sauce: Transfer the yogurt-flour-spice mix to a wide wok (kadhai) or a wide pan. Add 4 cups of water to it and bring to a boil. Let it simmer.
- In the meanwhile, prepare the tempering. In a small pan, heat the oil and fry asafoetida for about 10 seconds.
- Add in bay leaf, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds, when they start popping up add in dried red chilies and green chilies. Fry for 15-20 seconds
- Add in minced garlic and ginger, fry till the garlic gets browned, say about 10-15 seconds. Next, add in sliced onion and fry till it gets light brown, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add in fenugreek leaves, curry leaves, salt and red chili powder and mix well. Fry for just 10 more seconds and turn off the flame
- Pour this tempering over the simmering Kadhi and mix. Check seasoning and adjust if required. Also check the desired consistancy at this point and add more water if needed. I like my Kadhi thick so I usually simmer it for at least 20-25 minutes, stirring in between.
- When to add the Pakoras- ideally, 15 minutes before serving so they soak up a bit of yogurt sauce but still dont get too soggy. Transfer Kadhi to the serving bowl, dip pakodas into it and cover. I have given my mum’s method in the notes below which makes this even more fragrant and tasty.
- Garnish kadhi with fresh coriander leaves and serve with roti or rice, topped with few teaspoonfuls of ghee.
- My Mum’s method:- My mum’s Kadhi is very famous among our relatives and people specially demand for that during get togethers. What special does she do is – she tempers Kadhi twice. Once with onion, garlic and ginger and then cooks it for a further 10-15 minutes so the flavors are well infused.. Then she adds in the pakoras and keeps it aside. Just before serving she prepares another tempering with Ghee, curry leaves, red chilies, fenugreek leaves and a pinch of Garam masala. Then pours on top of the Kadhi, and serve immediately. The aroma is simply irresistible and taste just awesome.
- You have to beat the Pakora batter really well, else you will get hard fritters. Also, dont keep it aside for longer than 10 minutes before making pakoras. If for some reason, you have to do it, beat it again so the pakoras are softer.
- If still you dont get soft pakoras (since it depends on may factors), add 1/2 of baking soda to the batter and then fry them. This will definitely make them melt in mouth soft.
- It’s good to use a wide wok/pan for cooking kadhi. Since the curd mixture froths whilst cooking and can spill if you use a small pot.
- Sour curd (sapreta dahi) makes excellent Kadhi. If you dont have sour curd, then mix 1/2 tsp of Amchoor powder (dry mango powder/khatai) along with all the other spices and keep aside for at least 3-4 hours. This will bring in some sourness and help lift the taste.
- I like using Mustard oil for tempering in Kadhi, since it imparts that sharp and pungent flavour to the dish, which I love personally. And then I also drops in a spoonful of ghee on top of my bowl. yummyyy!!
- S doesnt like the bitter taste of fenugreek seeds, so I sometimes skip it. But you can taste the difference really. Also, it enhances the digestibility of the dish,