Punjabi Kadhi is a creamy, spicy and slightly sour yogurt sauce, with soft sponge like gram flour dumplings that soak up the sauce and the dish is topped with a sizzling hot chilli and spice tempered oil.
The best Kadhi is made with a day or two old yogurt that has gone a bit sour. If you don’t have sour yogurt, you can make it sour by adding a little lemon juice before cooking.
Some people like the dumplings/pakoras crisp with their Kadhi, for that you can serve the pakoras separately on side or add them to Kadhi just before serving. For soft, spongy pakoras add them to Kadhi 15-20 minutes before serving.
I add yogurt to my dumplings batter which keeps them very soft inside always. The kadhi pakora dish can be made a day or two ahead, in fact they say that old Kadhi tastes even yummier than the freshly cooked one.
For Kadhi, Yogurt Sauce:
3/4 cup gram flour/besan
2 cup plain yogurt
5-6 cups water
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
For Pakoras, Gram Flour Dumplings:
1+1/2 cup Gram flour, besan
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
2 green chilli peppers chopped
A small bunch coriander, chopped
A pinch cooking soda
1 tablespoon yogurt
Oil for frying
For Tarka, Tempered Oil:
4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1 small onion, sliced
5-6 dry red chillies
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 curry leaves
This Is What You Do:
Add to a deep, wide pan. Add water and cook on medium low heat, uncovered for 35-40 minutes or till the sauce thickens to a pourable custard like consistency and doesn’t taste of raw onion and garlic anymore.
Meanwhile prepare the pakoras or dumplings. Mix all the ingredients of Pakoras in a mixing bowl (except oil). Gradually add water to make a thick batter. Let the batter rest for 15-20 minutes.
Heat oil on moderate heat in a wok for deep frying or a deep frying pan for shallow frying.
Deep frying will give you more rounded Pakoras, shallow frying will make flat pakoras. The taste would be the same.
Fry a few dumplings at a time till they are golden brown and crisp.
Remove from oil and drain on a kitchen towel.
To make Tarka or tempered oil, heat oil in a small frying pan. Add onions and fry till light golden in colour, add curry leaves and red chillies, keep frying another minute or two. Add cumin seeds and fry a few more seconds.
Add dumplings to the hot yogurt sauce a little before serving so that they can soak up some of the sauce. Pour over the tempered oil and serve hot with steamed rice.