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.
Servings 4 people
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 Asafoetida powder
- 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.
- For the Kadhi, beat together the gram flour and yoghurt with enough water to make a thin batter. Add the garlic ginger paste, salt and turmeric. Set aside.Heat the ghee in a kadahi or heavy bottomed pan. Add the cumin seeds and wait for these to start sizzling in the hot fat. Add the asafoetida and switch the heat off. If you are using an iduction hob, take the pan off the heat. Now add the chilli powder and stir to ensure it does not burn. Immediately add the yoghurt and gram flour batter. Turn the heat on once again and allow this mixture to come to a boil. You will notice it starts to thicken. Keep stirring to avoid it sticking or forming lumps. After 2-3 minutes, add the dumplings and turn the heat down. Let this simmer for 10 minutes on a very low heat. Taste and adjust level of salt and chilli. Serve with hot rice.