This is one of those dishes designed to use up something that would otherwise have little use. North and Western Indian families will often make Kadhi if the yoghurt (dahi) has gone sour, a common occurrence with live yoghurt in hot climates. In my view you cannot make good Kadhi without sour yoghurt. There are variations to this dish all along North and Western India from Uttar Pradesh , Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, all with slightly different flavorings but based on the core ingredients of chickpea flour and yoghurt. In general, North Indian communities such as the Punjabis and Baniyas from Uttar Pradesh make it with dumplings and Maharashtrians and Gujaratis make a much thinner type without dumplings. Here is my version of North Indian Kadhi.
Kadhi Pakode is quick to make and very satisfying. It is commonly eaten with boiled rice and “Kadhi-Chawal” is often seen on the menu of road-side Dhabas. When you have tried this you will understand why it has such lasting appeal.
Time: 30 minutes
You will need:
For the dumplings/pakode
- 1 cup Chickpea Flour
- 1/2 tsp lovage (ajwain) seeds – easily available in Indian shops
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- Salt to taste
- Water for making the batter
- Oil for frying
For the Kadhi
- 300 ml sour yoghurt – you can use standard supermarket yoghurt which is already sour enough
- 200 ml water
- 100 g chickpea flour
- 1 tsp freshly made ginger and garlic paste (use in equal quantities)
- 1/2 turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ghee and 1 tsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp strong Asafoetida powder (SSP is a good brand to use, otherwise Vanadevi is widely available in the UK)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder depending on the level of heat you like. If you use Kashmiri chilli powder you will get a nice colour
Start with the pakodas. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. To this add water slowly to make a smooth batter; the consistency should be the same as a drop scone batter. Traditionally the batter would not contain baking powder and would be beaten for a long time, by hand with fingers spread out, until light and fluffy. The fluffiness of the batter was tested by dropping a small amount in a bowl of water and if it floated, the batter was ready. However to cut down the time and effort, baking powder can be used effectively. It’s entirely up to you which method you choose. Once the batter is ready, heat the oil in a wok to deep fry the pakoras. Test the temperature of the oil with a thermometer (should be around 175 degrees C) or by dropping a little bit of batter into it – if it sizzles and quickly rises, the oil is hot enough. The pakoras should be roughly the size of a large walnut. Fry them until golden brown. For a low fat option, drop them in a hot, greased frying pan and cook on medium heat until brown on both sides. They will be flatter in appearance if made in this way. Put the fried pakoras in a dish and start making the Kadhi.
Beat all the ingredients for the Kadhi until smooth. Using a whisk or mixer might help if there are any lumps. Heat the ghee and oil in a kadahi or wok on high heat. Keeping the heat turn up, add the cumin seeds and when these splutter, turn the heat down, add the asafoetida and stir so that it sizzles in the hot ghee/oil mix. Add the chilli powder and stir for a second and add the kadhi mix. Make sure you have the kadhi mix to hand to pour in immediately so that the chilli powder does not burn. Turn the heat up again and start stirring the mixture. The mixture should start to thicken. You want to end up with the consistency of thick soup. Add a little bit of water if it is too thick. Now add the dumplings, simmer for five minutes and serve with steamed rice.