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Sunday, February 25, 2018

My Fav Soul Food: Pakora Kadi: A Recipe from Agra

Pakora Kadhi is my favorite of all the Kadhi. I can eat it with rice, with Naan, with Roti or Chapati or just plain.

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 bhindi ki 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 freshly grated 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 !!

Ingredients for Pakora:
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion and red onions (one red onion and 2 yellow onions)
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • 2 and half cups of Besan (gram flour/chickpeas flour)
  • 1/2 cup of rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon of salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoon mango powder or lime juice fro one fresh lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder
  • 1  cup of   water and 1/2 cup of plain yogurt to make batter
  • Oil for frying
  • Deep Electric fryer
Ingredients for Kadhi
  • 3 cups plain sour yogurt
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup besan
  • 1 teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds (whole methi seeds) Optional
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • One onion chopped finely
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1" peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 Serrano pepper or one Jalapeno pepper
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper powder
  • 2 tablespoon of Mango powder
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of black salt
  • 1 tbl spoon of cumin powder
  • 2 tbl spoon of coriander powder.
  • 1 tablespoon Kasoori Methi (crushed with palm of your hand) 
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup of oil tablespoon of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 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 
  • One 1"-2" stick of cinnamon 
  • 1-2 fresh lime if desired tartness is not achieved.

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

Method to make Pakora: 
  • Place thinly sliced onion in a bowl separating each slice.
  • Add salt and mix with hands rubbing salt on to onion slices
  • Add both the flours and all the dry ingredients cilantro and peppers.
  • Mix well with hands
  • Add water and 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.

Method to make Kadhi:
  • Add water to yogurt and mix it with hand blender or hand churner until smooth buttermilk consistency.
  • Add Besan/gram flour and blend well.
  • Add   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 1/4 cup  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, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Add chopped onions, ginger and garlic.
  • Saute until onions are light brown and translucent. Add curry leaves.
  • Mix all the dry spices and add to the curry.
  • Add sauteed onions to Kadhi and turn the heat on.
  • Turn the heat on to low and stirring in between.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Add lime juice if desired tartness is not achieved.

  • Add Pakoras to the Kadhi. 
  • Gently mix and stir while curry still on stove on low heat.
  • 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.

    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 and  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 :)

    This recipe yields about 8 servings.

    Enjoy !!

    Kadhi Information source:
     Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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