Kadhi is the blonde cousin of Indian dals. Its yogurty base is a great assurance on a cold winter day. A bowl of hot Kadhi from the pot its been slowly simmering in can give you a strange kind of comfort of being loved by a tangy, savory dish which is unashamedly simple to make.
In the normal run of things, Kadhi is made differently in different parts of India. Sometimes with chunky vegetables, while it could vary at other times with dumplings or fritters made of chickpea flour. Two recipes I recently saw on the Blog world are Soma’s and Aipi’s.
Ingredients for Kadhi are:
For the fritters/pakori:
One and half cups chickpea flour/besan
1 teaspoon red chili powder
One and half teaspoons turmeric powder
Pinch of baking powder
Canola or mustard oil for deep frying
In a mixing bowl, add together the besan, spices, baking powder, and salt. Add little water and make a thick batter. Beat the batter with your hand in a circular motion, till there are no lumps.
Heat oil in a wok till smoking. Take about a spoonful of the besan batter and drop in the hot oil. This is the pakori we make for the Kadhi. Deep fry these fritters in batches and keep aside. It takes about 3-4 minutes on medium heat for the fritters to cook through. Turn them midway of cooking. Make sure that the besan you are using is not an old stock, else the fritters will not be fluffy.
For the Kadhi base:
2 cups plain, sour yogurt/curd
Half cup chickpea flour/besan
2 teaspoons red chili powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
4 cups water
Whisk together everything and pour in the pot you will cook the kadhi in. Ideally you should use an open-face thick pan which can accommodate the base and the fritters.
Bring this mixture to a rolling boil, mixing continuously. Start from low heat and gradually crank it up. You will see that its runny texture begins to thicken because of the chickpeas. You can add little quantities of water if the kadhi is thickening up quickly. It took me slow to medium cooking of about 20-25 minutes to cook my Kadhi.
Add the fritters to the boiling kadhi only when the raw taste of the ingredients has left this base. The Kadhi isn’t complete without seasoning or tempering it with crackling dry red chilies and spice seeds like cumin and fenugreek.
For the tempering:
2 fat cloves of garlic, sliced
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
8-10 dry red chilies
2 tablespoons oil (leftover from frying the fritters)
Heat oil in a small pan to smoking. Add the slices of garlic, cumin, fenugreek and dry red chilies in no particular order. Let them cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes till they release their respective fragrances. Do not brown the garlic.