Who doesn’t love a steaming, hot plate of Kadhi-chawal? Kadhi is a beloved punjabi dish and I am yet to come across an Indian who doesn’t absolutely love eating Kadhi-chawal for lunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Kadhi may be defined as an Indian yogurt based curry, which has submerged fried fritters in it and is best served with plain rice or cumin rice. I learnt how to make kadhi from my mum-in-law after I got married and have come to love it so much that hubby and I usually eat it for two straight days, either with rice or with chapattis and sabzis.
Usually, there’s no onion used in kadhi but I have twisted mum’s recipe a bit by putting onions in pakoras (the fritters). When I have kadhi, I need to have pakora in every bite, and when you get crunchy onion along with that bite..mmmmm… it. is. just. divine!!!!!! You can completely skip onion in this recipe but if you are an onion lover, I will strongly recommend that you use it in the pakoras.
Kadhi is not an easy dish to nail at your first attempt. It requires practice and technique to get it absolutely right but once you do, its a breeze and much more easy and less complicated to make than most of the Indian curries.
Give this recipe a go and enjoy!!
For the Kadhi:
-1 cup sour yogurt
-2/3 cup gram flour (besan)
-5 cups water
-2 tablespoons oil
-1.5-2 tbsp of fresh, grated ginger and garlic. You can also use ginger-garlic paste.
-1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
-1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
-1 teaspoon turmeric
-4 whole kashmiri red chilies
-6-7 curry leaves
-1 teaspoon red chilli powder
-2 teaspoon salt
-Lots of fresh and chopped coriander leaves
For the Pakoras:
-1 cup Gram flour
-About 2/3 cup water to make a batter
-1/2 tsp chilly powder (optional) and 1/2 tsp turmeric
-1/2 tsp of salt
-In a bowl, mix well the sour yogurt, gram flour, salt, red chilly powder and turmeric. Add around 3 cups of water easily to it, mix again and keep aside.
-In a pan, heat the oil.
-When the oil gets hot, add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, grated ginger and garlic, whole kashmiri red chillies and fry for a few seconds.
-Add the yogurt mixture and cook the mixture while stirring till it comes to a boil.
-Let the kadhi cook on low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, while stirring it on regular intervals so that it does not stick to the pan. Also, you may need to adjust the water, salt and the dry masalas a couple of times during the process accordingly. More water especially is almost always added when the kadhi seems thick. Be careful as to not over do with the water. With these measurements, you will need to add around 2 cups of water more to the initial three cups we had added in the beginning.
-Meanwhile, prepare the pakoras.
Now, note that you can prepare pakoras before the kadhi and use the same oil to make the kadhi after wards. Mostly, this is the procedure followed in authentic punjabi households and my mum-in-law too prepares kadhi like this, but I have a single container for deep-frying and a whole different process of oil preservation, so I usually end up making pakoras while the kadhi is already on the stove. You can go any which way, no problem!
-For making the pakoras, take the gram flour salt, turmeric, red chilly powder and adding the water little by little carefully, make a smooth and thick batter. Add the sliced onions and gently mix well with the batter.
-In hot oil (test by dropping a drop on batter in it, it should sizzle and come right up) put spoonfuls of batter in little round shapes. They should hold the shape and fry easily. If they are not doing that, add more gram flour to the batter to make it thick.
-Deep fry the pakoras on medium-low flame to ensure that they are cooked all the way through. Fry till they are golden brown.
-Put them on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.
-Back to the kadhi- you will know that the kadhi is done when you see a little oil floating on the surface and the kadhi is gently simmering away. You can also taste a spoonful (blow on it before as it will be extremely hot) and you will easily get to know that the raw taste of the gram flour is no longer there. That’s when you know that your kadhi is done.
-Switch off the gas and to your kadhi, add the pakoras and lots of coriander. Mix well and cover for about 15 minutes.
-Serve hot with plain or jeera rice!
-Always make kadhi in a large, heavy bottomed and deep pan as kadhi tends to bubble and rise to the surface a lot right after you add it to the tempering. Also there’s always more water to be added to it during the process. So, take a deep, large utensil.
-You have to stir the kadhi at frequent intervals to avoid it getting lumpy and burnt at the bottom and sides of the pan. This is very important, especially in the initial stage when the gram flour in the mixture is getting cooked.
-You need sour yogurt and lots of ginger and garlic for this dish. Do not compromise on either as you will not get satisfactory results without these elements. Kadhi has to be sour, and ginger-garlic are the prime flavors of this dish! If you have absolutely no way of getting your hands on sour curd, you can try using dry mango powder (amchoor) for the sourness.
-Do not add your pakoras to the kadhi while it is still cooking. That will mush up the pakoras. Add them only after switching off the gas. Many people add pakoras to warm water fo sometime to make them soft ( like in dahi-vadas) but I never feel the need to.
-Kadhi may thicken more after you have added your pakoras to it after switching off the gas. If that’s the case, add boiling hot water to it to thin it out.