Kadhi Pakoda Recipe:
Mystery of soft chickpea flour dumplings and mellow yogurt gravy is solved in this recipe of ‘Kadhi Badi’, an Eastern Indian variant.
It’s another nugget from an Indian Kitchen and one recipe that is widely loved across the country. I mean right form Kashmir to Tamil Nadu or Gujarat to Bengal, every region in our country loves and finds comfort in their ‘Kadhi’. Having said that, each region has its own variation of the recipe and a little change to suit the regional palate gives it a different identity, like the onions added to the Punjabi kadhi makes it different from the Kerelan version (called Moru kuttam or curry) that calls for some grated coconuts and add on vegetables like okra. Despite, the little twists here and there what remains central to the recipe is the intense, spicy, tangy flavour which is an absolute treat for the palate. The kadhi without the pakodas (called vadi or badi in my home) often works as a great replacement for soups and with the pakoda added it becomes a great main course curry.
The variant that I am about to share is generally cooked across eastern India, across eastern UP, Bihar and Bengal. It neither uses coconut nor onions, but is just mildly flavoured with a spicy tempering and laden with small light chickpea flour dumplings we call ‘Vadi’ and the gravy that is the ‘kadhi’ is made with an excess of yogurt and reduced quantity of chickpea flour therefore giving it a lighter texture. Actually, kadhi to me is like a light soul food that I want to come back to every now and then. It’s almost like a palate cleaning ritual after hogging on heavy or oily or outside food for long, Kadhi is like homecoming.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4):
For the Pakodas or Vadis (dumplings):
- 3/4th cup chickpea flour
- 1/4th tsp salt
- 1/4th tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
- Oil to deep fry
For the Kadhi and tempering:
- 1/3rd cup chickpea flour
- 2 cups thick curd (a little sour curd is better, leave the curd in a hot humid place overnight)
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 2 dried red chillies
- 2 pinch of asafoetida
- 3/4th tsp turmeric pwd
- 1 tsp red chilli pwd
- ½ tsp coriander pwd
- A handful of curry leaves
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
The Pakodas or Badis:
- Mix flour with approx ½ cup of water to make a thick batter. Beat it well using a whisk (electric or hand) for about 5 minutes. To check if it’s ready, just drop a tiny droplet into a cup of water and if the batter rises up and floats on the surface the batter is done and if not then beat and re-check.
- This check will ensure that your pakoras are soft. Now heat enough oil in a fryer, add the caraway seed and just a little salt (as it will absorb some fro the gray too). Make pakoras by dropping a tsp full of batter in the hot oil. Reduce heat and fry till it is just slightly coloured. Do not let it turn brown; just fry on low flame till it is cooked through to the inside. Keep aside on a tissues paper to absorb extra oil.
- Mix the chickpea flour and curd together with a cup of water until well combined (in the same bolw that was used for the pakoda batter), preferably whisk with a balloon whisk .
- Now heat the oil and ghee in a deep skillet or Indian wok, add the cumin seed, mustard seed, whole red chillies and let them crackle. Then add the curry leaves, asafoetida and in another 30 secs add the garlic paste and fry for just 30 seconds, follow up with the remaining spices, namely chillies, turmeric, coriander pwd and fry for 30 secs.
- Then pour the curd and chickpea flour mixture, keep stirring continuously as you pour and for another minute after that to incorporate the spices completely. Add 3-4 cups of water, whisk well and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes (yes that long for a really mellow taste, even longer is better).
- Once the gravy thickens and reduces to almost 2/3rd dress with salt and increase the flame, stir continuously and cook for 5 minutes to reach just short of the final consistency (it thickens further after adding the pakodas and while resting). Add the pakodas, cover up with a lid and turn of the heat and allow resting for 10-15 minutes. Reheat, if required before serving and enjoy with plain rice. You may garnish with fresh coriander if you like.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Do make sure that the pakoda batter is well beaten to ensure soft dumplings at the end.
- Do add salt very carefully in the pakodas for they will also absorb some from the gravy.
- Do use a balloon whisk to stir the gravy all the way long, it will help with an even stirring and the gravy will not curdle up.
You may also like;