Do not confuse the word kadhi with the Indian curry. This is a far cry from it. I don’t even know if it is fair to call it a soup or a gravy dish. The Punjabi kadhi is a dish made using buttermilk or thinned down yogurt with chickpea flour (बेसन). The two are simmered for a few hours (kadhi in punjabi refers to something that has been made after simmering for a long time) along with salt, turmeric and red chili powder and then tempered with whole spices. A lot of additives can be added to it such as potatoes, fenugreek or spinach fritters or any kind of fritters you fancy, onions and garlic. My mother used to make alu pyaaz ki kadhi (i.e. onions and potato kadhi). Although staple cereal in most Punjabi houses is (or rather used to be) roti / chapati/ Naan (basically flatbreads), kadhi is one of the few dishes, besides Rajma (Red Kidney Bean Curry), which is eaten or rather preferred to be eaten with rice. Though, personally, I love eating it chilled a day later with piping hot parantha (fried flatbread).
I know of people who often complain how cumbersome and tedious it is to make kadhi but my perception is different. To those who hold a similar opinion, I would like to say that you DO NOT need to stand near the stove while the kadhi is simmering. Finish other household chores or just relax or do whatever, while it is simmering on the stove (keep the flame of the burner on low). Stir it once in a while. Moreover, I believe that once you make this recipe, perhaps you will realise it is actually a cake walk. I know the cooking time looks a lot but trust me the only time you need to stand near the gas stove is to make the pakodas (fritters) and then temper the kadhi.
Since there are a lot of ingredients for tempering, I assemble all the spices together in a small bowl so that I do not miss out on any of them. This particular flavor of kadhi is how we enjoy it i.e. with fritters and a tempering of lots of garlic with whole spices. Also, there are those who prefer their kadhi on the sour side but we do not like sour notes therefore I always use, freshly made yogurt for our kadhi. Go ahead and use what suits your taste. Here is my version of Punjabi Kadhi 🙂
For the Kadhi
1 cup Yogurt
4 – 5 cups Water (adjust the consistency to your liking)
2½ – 3 tbsp gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
A pinch of Asafoetida (हींग)
For 1st tempering
1 tbsp cooking Oil
3 – 4 Whole Red Chillies, split in two from the center (feel free to de-seed it)
1 small pinch Fenugreek Seeds
½ tsp Cumin Seeds
½ tsp Mustard Seeds
¼ – ½ tsp Carom Seeds
½ tsp Whole Coriander Seeds (optional)
1/8 tsp Asafoetida
4 plump Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp Coriander powder
Mix together yogurt and chickpea flour in a mixing bowl and whisk them well. Add four cups of of water and whisk again.
Pass the mixture through a large sieve into a heavy bottom large pot or a wok. Add the spices and stir well.
Cook on high flame stirring continuously, till it starts to boil. It should take approximately seven minutes. (Stirring the contents continuously is very important since it ensures that the yogurt does not curdle and separate from chickpea flour)
Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer the contents, stirring occasionally, scrap the sides and adding them back to the contents.
Cook it till it becomes creamy and the spices are no longer raw to taste. I usually simmer and cook it for approximately two hours. (I go by mother’s words – “the more it simmers, the better it tastes”)
Once the kadhi is done, switch off the heat and start prepping for the first tempering.
In a small frying pan, heat the oil and add the whole red chilies, followed by fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds, coriander seeds (add them all at once). Once the seeds begins to crackle, remove the pan from heat and carefully tip in the asafoetida and garlic. Place the pan again on medium heat and stir the contents around till the garlic turns nicely golden. Immediately add this to the kadhi and stir it well. (The second tempering is added after fritters are added, so next step is adding fritters or pakoda/ pakora)
For Pakoda / Fritters
½ C Chickpea Flour (Besan)
3 tbsp Water
1 small Onion, finely chopped
¼ tsp Salt
¼ Chili Powder
¼ tsp Garam Masala
¼ tsp Fruit Salt (I use ENO)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh Coriander or fresh Spinach leaves or fresh Fenugreek
Oil for frying
(I usually fry the fritters while the kadhi is about to get cooked to save on time)
Mix all the ingredients together to make the batter. Whisk for 2 – 3 minutes and keep aside for 10 minutes.
Fill a medium sized bowl, half, with water and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a pan and once it is hot, reduce heat to medium. Add a tea spoons full of the batter to it (be careful not to over crowd the oil) and fry till golden brown.
Take the pakoda out of the oil and transfer them to the bowl of water.
Keep them immersed for not more than 7 – 10 seconds. (Doing this is optional however I do this only in order to get rid of the excess oil from the fritters)
Remove the fritters from water and add them to the kadhi. Finish off the batter in batches this way. (this much batter yields 12 fritters for me)
Let the pakodas sit in the kadhi for about 10 to 15 minutes and then transfer the kadhi to the serving bowl.
Time now for the second tempering.
½ tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Kashmiri Mirch / Degi Mirch or Paprika
1 – 2 tbsp Ghee
½ – 1 tsp Garam Masala (depending on the strength)
Heat the ghee in a small frying pan and once it is hot remove it from heat.
Add cumin seeds and once they begin to crackle, add the Kashmiri red chilli powder.
It will get cooked within 10 seconds. Immediately, pour this over the kadhi.
For garnish, add the garam masala over the kadhi and serve hot with rice or chapatti/ parantha.
Serves – 4
Note – Many people like to add curry leaves to the tempering to make the curry aromatic. Feel free to do that if you enjoy it that way.
Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!