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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pakora Kadhi with Arabi (Taro Root)

Kadhi or karhi is an Indian dish. It consists of a thick gravy based on chick peas flour (gram flour, known as Besan in India) and yogurt bases. It may be just plain or may contain several greens like Spinach (palak) Bathua (Goose feet) any veggie like Okra, Eggplant, Squash.
In Northern India, pakoras (vegetable fritters) are added to the chickpea flour and  sour yogurt  It is served either with rice or roti. Pakora Kadhi is my favorite and most popular in North India and Punjab.

In Rajasthan and Gujrat, (where my family is from) it is usually served with Khichadi (recipe on this blog) roti, Paratha and rice. It is considered a light food.  Rajasthani and Gujrati kadhi differs from the Utter Pradesh where I grew up. Traditionally, it is sweeter than the other variants, because sugar or jaggery is added to it, but it can be made without sugar for a more sour taste.  It is eaten without pakoras and its consistency is slightly thinner. The Gujarati kadhi is made preferably from buttermilk as it gives a more smooth texture compared to yogurt.

Variations on this basic dish includes the addition of certain vegetables, notably bhindi (Okra) in which case it is known as bhinda ni kadhi. In Punjab Kadhi is a simple, quick winter meal. Made from Besan (also known as chickpea flour or Gram Flour) to thicken the consistency, and adding pakoras, it is eaten with either long grain basmati rice or, (more commonly) with a roti.
In Southern states, it is seasoned with sauteed asafoetida, mustard seeds, cumin, and fenugreek. It is thickened in different way by addition of pureed split chickpea soaked overnight with whole coriander seeds and dry red chili pepper. Squash, okra, tomato, Chinese spinach, carrots, sweet peas are a few vegetable that are added to seasoning before bringing the soup to a boil.
It is called Majjiga (yogurt) Pulusu (slow cooked soup) in Telugu, and Mor Kulumbu (recipe on this blog)  They add coconut to this and this is also one of my favorite. 

The  Sindhi diaspora in India usually make kadhi by first roasting the chickpea flour and adding vegetables to the chickpea gravy. Instead of yogurt, tamarind pulp is used to give it a sour taste. An alternate way is to make a liquid mixture of the chickpea flour instead of roasting chickpeas.
This is my favorite Kadhi, and I know there are tons of quick video recipes out there from different foodies for different items but I still like my method with pics and step by step directions,  where you can print these recipes with or without the pictures and place them on your counter and follow step by step instructions. This recipe involves lot of steps to prepare the Pakora first and then prep the vegetable that you are going to add to kadhi and then prep the Kadhi.

However,  you can omit the use of any veggie (in this case I used taro root)  and just make the plain pakora kadhi.  If you have enjoyed the pakoras for appetizer on a day of party and have some left over pakora, you can use the left over pakoras to make this Kadhi, this way you will have one less step.

Believe me any which way you do it..Indian cooking is about lot of steps and planning which sometimes you can avoid and other times not, but the end results are always delicious ... and worth the patience !!  It took me long time to upload the pics and type this up so if there are any typing errors, please bear with me..

Ingredients for Pakora:
  • 1 thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 cup of Besan (gram flour/chickpeas flour)
  • 1/4 cup of rice flour
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon mango powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chat masala (optional)
  • 1/3 cup of Yogurt or water to make batter
  • Oil for frying

Method to make Pakora: 
  • Place thinly sliced onion in a bowl separating each slice.
  • Add both the flours and all the dry ingredients.
  • Mix well with hands
  • Add water or yogurt little by little to make the batter to thick consistency, smooth but not runny.
  • Heat oil to 375 - 400 degrees F.
  • When oil is hot carefully drops the pakoras with using hands.
  • Fry until golden brown. 
  • Place them on paper towel to drain extra oil.
  • Fry all the pakoras this way until batter is finished
  • Set aside.
Ingredients for Kadhi:
  • 2 cup of plain sour yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Besan/chickpeas flour
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds (whole methi seeds) Optional
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Taro roots
  • One onion chopped finely
  • 1" peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 Serrano pepper

  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Mango powder
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoon of coriander powder.
  • 1 tablespoon Kasoori Methi (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds (whole methi seeds) optional
  • 1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
  • 2-3 pods of dried red chili pods long or round
  • 10 peppercorn
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 4-5 Cloves

  • Peel and cut taro root in desired size cubes/pieces.
  • Place them in microwave safe bowl
  • Add water and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Cook in Microwave for 20-25 min until soft.
  • You can pressure cook them or cook them on stove. I prefer microwave.
  • When tender, take them out of microwave, drain the water and set aside

  • Prepare the gravy for Kadhi in following way.
  • 2 cups of water to yogurt and mix it when hand blender or churner until smooth buttermilk consistency.
  • Add Besan/gram flour and blend well.
  • Add 1 more cup of water and salt and 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds. (the seeds with soften in boiling Kadhi)
  • Cook on medium to low heat on stove, stirring occasionally until comes to boil. If thickens too much add some more water. 

  • Turn the heat off and set aside.

  • Peel and chop garlic, ginger, fresh Serrano pepper and onion.
  • Take two table spoon of oil in a frying pan.
  • Heat it on stove, when hot add cumin seeds, mustard seeds.
  • When these crackle, add bay leaves, dried chili pods, peppercorn and cloves.
  • Add chopped onion, ginger and garlic.
  • Saute until onions are light brown and translucent.
  • Add cooked taro root, gently toss and saute for few seconds.
  • Transfer the cooked and sauteed taro root with onion, garlic and ginger to a bowl and set aside.

  • Add turmeric to the yogurt and Besan gravy.
  • Mix and add the gravy to same frying pan that you emptied the taro root from.
  • Turn the heat on to low and stirring in between.
  • Add all the dry spices.
  • Cook it on low heat, stirring in between until comes to boil again, may add remaining water, if thickens too much. 
  • It should be light yellow in color.
  • Add Taro root and Pakoras to the Kadhi. 
  • Gently mix and stir while curry still on stove on low heat.

  • Take 1 tbls of dry Kasoori Methi in your palms and crush it in between your palm rubbing your palms together.
  • Add to the curry, mix well and let it simmer on low heat, can adjust the thickness of gravy by adding more water to desired consistency. 
  • Remember the Kadhi will thicken more when sits at room temp
  • When pakoras are soft turn the heat off.
  • Now Kadhi is ready for tempering which you can do just before serving.

Ingredients for Tempering:
  • 1 tablespoon of Butter or Ghee
  • 1.5 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Asefetida (Hing)
  • 1 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper powder or paprika powder
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro for garnish

Method for Tempering:
  • Heat a  small frying pan or tempering bowl on low heat.
  • Add butter or ghee.
  • Add cumin seeds when these crackle, add asefoetida, red cayenne chili pepper powder or paprika powder immediately follower by curry leaves.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Carefully transfer the hot ghee mixture to the Kadhi and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve hot with Naan / Roti and or White Rice or Biryani :)

Enjoy !!

Kadhi Information source:
 Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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