Kadhi 1 - North Indian, Cooked Traditionally In A Wok Or Pan
North Indian Kadhi, Cooked In A Karahi
Kadhi is a North Indian dish that needs no introduction, at least in north India. Everyone knows it well, most love it, including children. It is cooked regularly in most houses, mostly with Boiled Rice. Unfortunately, it is one of those dishes that is not widely available in Indian restaurants in UK, more is the pity! In North India, it is a must at one of the meals in the days preceding a wedding.
North Indian kadhi is thicker than Gujrati Kadhi, the consistency of custard sauce. It also has dumplings or pakoras in it, unlike Gujrati Kadhi. You can add vegetables to the kadhi sauce while it is cooking, things like chopped spinach (palak) or fenugreek (methi) leaves. Experiment with diced potatoes, carrots or any other vegetable of choice. I often add chopped onions and green chillies to my Pakora/dumpling batter.
The recipe may look long, but it is an easy dish to make. Serves 4-6
If you have a slow-cooker, make it in that. Slow cooked Kadhi is the best.
Edited June 2020
For the Kadhi Sauce:
500 gm. or approximately 2 cups extra-mature or 'khatta' natural yoghurt (you can use mature butter milk/maththa/chach instead)
4 tbsp. gram flour or besan
1 1/2 tsp. salt, adjust to taste
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 litre or approximately 4 cups water
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1/2 tsp. fenugreek or methi seeds (too many will make kadhi bitter)
A pinch of asafoetida or hing powder
12-15 curry leaves or Kadhi patta
For the Dumplings or Pakoras:
2 cup gram flour or besan, sifted to remove lumps
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Water to make batter
2 cups oil for deep frying
Optional additions to Dumpling or Pakora batter:
1 sliced or chopped onion and/or 1 small potato, chopped finely or 1-2 tabs. dry fenugreek leaves (Kasoori methi) or grated vegetables like courgettes or carrots.
For Tempering or Tarka:
1 1/2 tbsp. ghee or oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
A few curry leaves 10-12
A large pinch of asafoetida or hing powder
4-5 small, dry red chillies or 2 chillies roughly broken up
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
Place yogurt and sifted besan in a bowl, along with salt, chilli, turmeric and water. Beat together to make a smooth, thin batter.
Heat oil in a wok/karahi or a pan. Add fenugreek seeds and asafoetida powder. As soon as the seeds begin to turn brown, add the curry leaves. Stir for 5 seconds and add yoghurt-besan mix. Do not let the seeds turn dark brown or black. They turn bitter.
Bring to boil, stirring frequently, until it stops bubbling boil over. Placing a heavy ladle in the pan also helps to stop it from boiling over during simmering. Do not leave it and go away, or you may return to find your cooker covered in boiled over kadhi.
Turn the heat down to low-medium. Let it simmer gently, until the sauce reaches a custard like consistency, stirring from time to. Longer it cooks, tastier it is.! My paternal aunt, Taiji, lived in a village in India. She cooked hers the traditional way, leaving it to simmer charcoals, for hours. Hers was always the best Kadhi I have ever eaten, delicious! This effect can be obtained by making it in a slow cooker, see notes.
Making Pakoras or dumplings: While the Kadhi is cooking by your chosen method, make the dumplings as follows.
Place all Pakora ingredients for dumplings in a bowl and make a batter of dropping consistency, with enough water. Beat it well. The trapped air is what will make them light and fluffy. Solid dumplings do not taste nice. My mum used to make pakoras without the addition of baking powder. She beat the batter by hand, until a drop of it dropped in a glass of water floated to the top, instead of sinking down. I use electric beater, much faster!
Heat oil to a medium heat (not smoking hot), in a wok or karahi. When right temperature is reached, a drop of batter dropped in the oil should sizzle up to the top quickly.
Drop dollops of the batter into the hot oil, either with a dessert spoon or with your fingers. Do this gently, from the side of the wok. This stops the oil from splashing on to your hands/face. Make as many at a time as can float without overlapping each other.
Fry until golden brown. Keep aside. (I make extra as my family always eats quite a few while I am frying them.
Getting the Kadhi ready
When the sauce is ready, add pakoras/dumplings to it, stir gently and turn the heat off. Let them soak and absorb the sauce for an hour or two. If the kadhi sauce becomes too thick at the end of this step, it should be of a custard like consistency, add a little boiling water and stir it in very gently, so the pakoras do not break up..
Before serving, heat the kadhi and place in a serving bowl.
Heat ghee in a large ladle or small pan. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
Once the seed splutter, add whole chillies, chilli powder and stir quickly with a spoon. Pour it over the kadhi. Cover with a lid immediately. This will allow the flavours to infuse.
You can omit dumplings altogether if you wish, and add vegetables like boiled and dices potatoes, sliced onions, 7-8 spinach leaves or a handful of fenugreek/methi leaves and a few drumsticks cut into 4-5 inch pieces. These drumsticks are not chicken legs, they are an Indian vegetable called Senjan ki phali in Hindi.
You can use Boondis, instead of pakoras, but this doesn't taste as good