Hello again! Tonight, I made kadhi pakora for dinner. Kadhi is a gram flour and yogurt gravy with fritters or pakoras. There are at least 4 versions of this dish: Gujarati, Rajasthani, Sindhi and Punjabi. All of them have yogurt and gram flour, but differ in terms of tempering, fritters and consistency. Punjabi kadhi is a little thicker and does not contain sugar/jaggery. Gujarati kadhi does not have fritters. Some versions of Rajasthani kadhi have pakoras but they are not stuffed with onion/potato like the Punjabi one. Moral of the story is that you can make this dish in all permutations and combinations, and it’ll still taste delicious! One of my favorite Sunday lunches is kadhi with basmati rice.
Now, a little about the ingredients. Gram flour comes from horse-gram or kala chana. These black ‘chickpeas’ are hulled and split, yielding chana dal, which upon grinding becomes besan or gram flour. You can buy besan in any Indian grocery store. Also, kadhi tastes best if the yogurt is of medium sourness.
Ingredients: for fritters
- Gram flour/besan: 1/2 cup
- 1/2 of a medium-sized onion, diced
- Cilantro leaves, chopped: 1/4 cup
- Salt, to taste
- Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
- Red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp or to taste
- Crushed coriander seeds, 1 tsp (optional)
- A pinch of baking soda
- Water: 1/4 cup
Ingredients: for gravy
- Gram flour/chickpea flour/besan: 1/2 cup
- Yogurt: 2 cups
- Water: 6 cups
- Salt, to taste
- Turmeric, 1/4 tsp
- Red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp
- Kasoori methi, 1/4 tsp
- Whole dry red chillies, 2
- Mustard seeds, 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds, 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds, 1/4 tsp
- A pinch of asafoetida/hing
- Oil/ghee, 2 tbsp
- Combine all ingredients for fritters into a smooth batter.
- Deep fry the batter into 1-inch thick fritters. Make sure that the oil is not too hot or too cold. If it’s too hot, the outside will fry quickly but the inside will remain raw. If it’s too cold, the fritters will become oily. Put in a tiny amount of batter to test the temperature before you start frying.
- Drain them on a paper towel and set aside.
- To make the gravy, first combine the yogurt with water and whisk into a smooth liquid.
- Add the gram flour gradually while whisking continuously to ensure there are no lumps.
- Mix in the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot and add whole dry red chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and saute till they splutter.
- Add asafoetida and then pour in the yogurt-flour mix.
- Crush the kasoori methi in your palms and add it to the pot.
- Cook on a medium high flame till the mixture comes to a boil. It will start thickening up immediately, so keep stirring/whisking.
- Add the fritters and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook uncovered for at least half an hour. We want to get rid of the raw flour taste and make the fritters soft. This is a dish that tastes better the longer it is cooked. But it requires frequent stirring to ensure that the gravy does not stick to the bottom of the pan. If the kadhi becomes too thick, you can add more water.
- Adjust the salt and eat with basmati rice!