Kadhi Pakora / No Fry Pakoras
Thank God for planning, I am able to post some pending recipes on the blog while I still organize the kitchen and the rest of the house and gear up for the next months list of dishes to be blogged. Shifting a house is no piece of cake and the only lesson I learnt during the entire process is to remain slightly unattached to things and let go of the unnecessary stuff. While we do make it a point to sort out our wardrobe once in 3 months and donate it religiously, this has to be done on a large scale from every part of the house now on priority. Okay! Enough sulking and let’s get to the interesting topic here – Kadhi Pakoras!
Kadhi Pakoras! Everyone loves it? I consume kadhis like soups and sip it piping hot from a nice tall mug and enjoy the pakoras as croutons. Ofcourse, by now you are already aware of my aversion to deep frying so yes, as always, these pakoras are made in an appe pan so yes, can be indulged like the croutons on a rainy afternoon.
Kadhi or Karhi has so many variations across regions in India. In Rajasthan, they prefer having the Kadhi with a Khichdi that is usually a mix of pulses namely moong dal or dhuli moong dal with some rice cooked and served with dollops of ghee or clarified butter. While in Punjab or North, they prefer having Kadhi with pakoras along with long grained rice like Basmati, a side of vegetables and some salads. In Gujarat, Kadhi is served in two ways, a savoury and a sweet version. The sweet version uses whole spices like cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds for flavor and is usually eaten with Khichdi too that is either made with dhuli or green whole mung. I love all the varieties
Kadhi pairs best with rice and only rice! The sour yoghurt / buttermilk and gram flour gravy needs to be enjoyed with a steaming bowl of Steamed Basmati Rice, Jeera Rice or my personal favourite, Green Peas Pulao. You absolutely don’t need any side to go along with this. May be some raita or roasted papads or some sliced sliced onions, cucumbers and tomatoes with a splash of lime juice, generous sprinkling of rock salt and chaat masala and you are done. Minimalistic pleasures of life! A bowl of this is a perfect comfort food and is enough to pep your mood, get you out of your Monday blues and keep you satisfied. Although this can be consumed anytime and any season, I prefer this for afternoon lunches strictly as it gets slightly heavy (with the pakoras) for a dinner option. Also, let me tell you, I always end up making extra as nothing tastes better than leftover kadhi pakoras.
In general, I am a big fan of buttermilk or yoghurt gravies rather than Sambar as these are light on your stomach, refreshing for the palate and less spicy, apt for everyday meal ideas. Also yoghurt or dahi is an excellent coolant and great for your gut. We South Indians have an array of yoghurt based gravies and have a dish called Mor Kozhumbu which looks somewhat like kadhi but has grated coconut for thickening instead of the besan or gram flour. Also we use variety of vegetables in our version of kadhi that include pumpkin, ash gourd, lady finger etc instead of fritters.
This recipe is not an authentic Punjabi Kadhi Pakora that uses onion, garlic while sautéing with the tempering. This is more my version which is loved by us at home and guests included. I make the pakoras with methi leaves or fenugreek leaves and finely chopped onions. An array of pakoras or fritters can be tried like palak, onion, urad dal wadas, coriander garlic pakoras etc. Sky is the limit so I leave it to you to decide what suits best and most important, what is available in your refrigerator or pantry.
Ingredients for the Kadhi or the Yoghurt Gravy
- 3 heaped tblsp Gram Flour or Besan
- 4 cups thick Curd or Yoghurt
- 5 cups of water + ½ cup water to make a thin paste with besan
- 2 tsps Oil
- ¼ tsp Mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp Jeera or cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Green chilli paste
- ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
- A pinch of asafoetida or hing
- Few Whole red chillies
- Salt as per taste
Ingredients for the Pakoras or Fritters
- 5 cups of Gram Flour or Besan
- 1 tblsp of Rice flour
- ½ cup Finely chopped Coriander leaves
- ½ cup finely chopped fenugreek leaves
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- A pinch of asafoetida or hing
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- A pinch of baking soda
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- Salt as per taste
- Water as required to make a thick batter (like idli batter) to cook the fritters or pakoras
- Oil as required to cook the pakoras in appe pan
Ingredients for the final tempering
- Whole red chillies as per taste
- A tsp of coriander seeds or sabut dhania
- ½ tsp of mustard seeds
- ½ tsp of jeera or cumin seeds
- A pinch of Kashmiri lal mirch or Kashmiri red chilli powder
- A small pinch of asafoetida
- 1 tsp of Oil
Method to cook the Kadhi or the Spiced Yoghurt Gravy
- Whisk the yoghurt until there are no lumps.
- Mix the besan and water and whisk it well for few seconds and keep aside.
- Heat a kadhai, add oil and hing, followed by mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add jeera or cumin seeds and roast them until brown.
- Now add turmeric powder and the minced green chilli paste, whole red chillies and saute for few minutes.
- Now add the whisked yoghurt and the besan mixture and keep stirring it over medium heat.
- When it comes to one boil, lower the flame and cook it for few minutes adding the water slowly to achieve the desired consistency.
- Add salt and simmer for few more minutes until the gram flour has cooked and you achieve a silky thick texture of the kadhi.
- Switch off the flame and move towards making the pakoras.
- In case you don’t want to make and add pakoras, you can switch off the flame and just pour the tempering before serving.
- The additional tempering adds the glamour and the taste factor to the dish so don’t skip it.
- In case of consistency, many people have their own preferences. While we prefer thick kadhi so don’t add too much water, there are others who prefer a slightly thin consistency so choose to add water according to your preferences.
Method to cook the Pakoras or Fritters
Ideally the fritter batter is thicker and lumpy with chunks of veggies and herbs ideal to be dropped into the hot oil and flash cooked in seconds. Since we are using appe pan for cooking, have made a thick batter consistency so that they can cook easily and not remain raw in the centre (in case of thick batter) and use less oil too.
- In a bowl, add all the ingredients as mentioned for the fritters or pakoras except oil.
- Make a thick batter (pouring consistency) using required amount of water.
- Heat an appe pan and pour few drops of oil.
- Now slowly fill the appe pan with the batter, drizzle few drops of oil, cover and cook over medium heat for few minutes.
- Open the lid, turn the appes and drizzle some oil again, close and cook for few more minutes on the other side until the pakoras turn brown and are cooked well.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the batter.
Assembling the Kadhi Pakoras
- Add the pakoras in the kadhi only 30 minutes before serving so that they don’t turn extremely soggy.
- Prepare the tempering (ingredients listed above) and pour over the kadhi mixture just before serving followed by garnishing of finely chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve Kadhi Pakoras Piping hot with a side of vegetables and Steamed Rice, Jeera Rice or Pulao / Pilaf.