Punjabi Kadhi Pakora
EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
RECIPE: PUNJABI KADHI PAKORA
Punjabi Kadhi Pakora or Punjabi Pakora Kadhi is a popular North Indian dish with pakora or fritters in a creamy, flavourful and delicious yogurt curry. In fact, the flavours of the chickpea fritters, the spicy yogurt curry all come together to produce a finger licking, satisfying dish. It usually is enjoyed with plain rice, paratha or naan.
What is Punjabi?
Punjab is a northwest state in India. In brief, it is considered as the bread basket of India. Specifically, with five rivers passing through this state it is one of the most fertile states in India. Punjabi refers to the people of Punjab, the language spoken there and also their cuisine. Also popularly known as Punjabi food. As a matter of fact, one of the most popular cuisine in any Indian restaurant outside India is Punjabi.
What is Kadhi?
In brief, Kadhi or karhi is a popular chickpea flour and yogurt based curry in the Indian Sub Continent. Variations may occur in the spices used making it taste completely different. For example, Punjabi kadhi usually will have pakora or fritters and onion. Gujarati kadhi is made with simple spices like chilis, ginger and sometimes garlic. A bit of jaggery or sugar is added to create a balance of slight sourness and sweetness.
Whereas, Coastal Maharashtra make their kadhi with kokum and buttermilk and is called solkadhi, some communities in this state use raw mango to make Aambyachi kadhi. In contrast, Kalan is a kadhi with coconut, yogurt and some vegetables which is popular in Kerala. On the other hand, Majjige Huli is a yogurt based curry with coconut and split chickpeas with ash gourd. A similar preparation in the state of Tamil Nadu is known as mor khuzambu or kulambu.
What is Pakora?
Pakora, pakoda, bhajia, bhajji, is simply a fritter made from flour. With reference to the recipe on this post it is made from chickpea flour. Specifically, a creamy batter is made using the flour, spices both fresh and powders are added along with salt. Shredded or finely chopped vegetables are added. The batter is then scooped up with the fingers or a spoon and dropped into hot oil. Ultimately fried till the pakora or fritter turns golden brown.
Punjabi Kadhi Pakora
Punjabi Kadhi Pakora is often served with rice, roti, parathas, naan or puris. The creamy yogurt based curry or sauce is first made using yogurt and chickpea flour. Fried pakora is added to the yogurt curry and allowed to simmer till the pakoras begin to soften a bit. At the end a tempering of chopped onion, garlic and spices is added to the kadhi.
Some stir fry the onion, garlic and ginger first, then add the yogurt mixture and allow it simmer till it becomes thick and creamy. Use a method that you prefer. Personally I prefer stir frying the onion and other spices and adding them after the kadhi is done. Punjabi kadhi is more thicker than the Gujarati version, but you can reduce the amount of chickpea(besan) flour required.
Pakoras – Deep Fried or Make in an Appe Pan?
Traditionally, pakoras are deep fried in oil. Obviously they taste the best when fried but if I’m making Punjabi Kadhi Pakora for hubby and me, I make the fritters in an appe (paniyaram, aebleskiver pan). As less oil is used, they are much healthier, allowing us to indulge in this delicious curry guilt free.
Sometimes, I do deep fry the pakoras or fritters. Usually when I am sharing the dish with my neighbour or have guests over.
Can I Use Leftover Pakora?
Yes, in fact that is the best way to use up cold leftover pakora, pakoda, bhajii or bhajia. Everyone loves piping hot pakora. When leftover, no one really wants to have them. That is when I use them up to make Punjabi Kadhi Pakora.
Memories – Trip to India
Our trip to India was delightful in many ways, meeting up with family and friends, shopping and the culinary delights. One of the bonus points of travelling to India was an allergy test. Yes you heard me right an allergy test. Hubby dear thought he was allergic (his whole body kept on itching) to something and insisted on an allergy test. The tests came back and we found out that he was not allergic to anything!
Years ago he had developed rashes on applying chana (besan, chickpea) flour. So we presumed he was allergic to besan and there started our journey in trying to replace besan with other dals. That’s pretty difficult when you consider the fact that most of the Indian snacks contain besan. So the chana dal in dokhras and handvo was replaced by moong dal, for kadhi started using millet flour and was pretty much comfortable on my journey to chana less recipes.
So finally there was a scientific proof that hubby dear is not allergic to chickpeas. The actual problem was just dry skin because of the dry weather in Bangalore. Getting back home, hubby dear agreed that I can prepare kadhi with besan flour for lunch. Obviously he had all the anti allergy medicines on stand by.
Other types of Kadhi Recipes:
In fact, hubby and I both love kadhi, I tend to make a variation of them. Surprisingly, we really cannot decide which is our all time favorite. Usually, when a full Gujarati meal or khichdi has to be served, I make normal Gujarati Style Kadhi. Sometimes, we want to enjoy rotlo (millet flour flatbread) and I feel bhinda ni kadhi goes best with it.
You’ve got to check out my Vegan Kadhi which tastes so delicious, that I sometimes make it to enjoy as a soup. During the season of fresh pigeon peas, I make Fresh Tuvar and Bajri Kadhi where the chickpea flour is replaced with millet flour.
Indian cuisine is so amazing that it also has a variety of recipes that one can make for fasting days and Farali Kadhi is one such recipe. While I still have to try out kadhi made in southern India, I’ve made Kalan and its really tasty with plantain and coconut.
Shhh Cooking Secretly Group
For Shh Cooking Secretly, Anu Kollon who blogs at Ente Thattukada is my partner for the month of March. She gave me the ingredients flour and yogurt. Since then Punjabi Kadhi Pakora was on my mind. She gave me the freedom to use any flour. Hubby dear enjoyed the dish with rice and thankfully without any allergic reactions.
Ingredients Required For Punjabi Kadhi Pakora
- Chickpea Flour – besan, chane ka atta, chana no lot. Need for both the fritters(pakora) and the kadhi (yogurt curry base).
- Onion – peeled and finely chopped for the pakora. Peeled and sliced for the kadhi. Optional. Can omit it if you want to prepare a satvik version.
- Fresh Fenugreek/Spinach – use either or a mixture of both. Wash the leaves, pat dry and finely chop them. These are for the pakora.
- Green Chilli – minced or paste for the pakora and the kadhi.
- Fresh Ginger – minced or grated. For the pakora and the kadhi.
- Garlic – peeled and sliced for the kadhi. Optional. Can omit it if you want to prepare a satvik version.
- Red Chilli Powder – to add to the pakora. Add according to your taste.
- Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar. Need for both the pakora and the kadhi.
- Whole Dry Red Chilli – need one or two for tempering or vaghar.
- Water – need for the pakora and the kadhi.
- Salt – need for the pakora and the kadhi. Add according to your taste.
- Baking Soda – soda bicarbonate. Need a little to add to the pakora batter. This helps to make them soft and spongy.
- Oil – for deep frying or if you are making the pakora in the appe pan.
- Yogurt – dahi, plain and preferably a little sour for the kadhi.
- Fenugreek Seeds – for the kadhi and tempering/vaghar.
- Mustard Seeds – for tempering/vaghar.
- Cumin Seeds – for the kadhi and tempering/vaghar.
- Ghee – clarified butter. Or use oil. For tempering/vaghar.
- Curry Leaves – 1 sprig. Wash and remove the leaves from the stem. For tempering/vaghar.
- Cloves – For tempering/vaghar. Optional
- Black Peppercorns – For tempering/vaghar. Optional
- Cinnamon – For tempering/vaghar. Optional
- Asafoetida – hing. For tempering/vaghar. Optional
- It’s gluten free
- For a Satvik meal, avoid garlic and onion
- There are plenty of plant based yogurts available, so to make a vegan version replace ghee with oil and dairy yogurt with vegan yogurt or coconut milk. If using coconut milk, add a bit of lemon juice for a slight tangy taste.
I have posted pictures of both versions, where the pakoras are deep fried and also made in an appe pan.
PUNJABI KADHI PAKORA
FOR THE PAKORAS:
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- ¼ cup onion finely chopped
- 1 cup spinach/fresh fenugreek about 50g,
- 1 green chilli finely chopped or minced
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- ⅓ cup water
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- oil for deep frying
FOR THE KADHI:
- 2 cups sour plain yogurt
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
- 2½ -3 cups water
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1-1¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp green chilli paste
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp ghee clarified butter
- 1 dry red chilli
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seed
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 -3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 3-4 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 6-8 peppercorns
- ⅛ tsp asafoetida
PREPARATION OF PAKORA - DEEP FRYING:
- Heat oil for deep frying in a wok or deep pan over medium heat.
- In the meantime,mix all the ingredients for the pakora into a batter.
- Put a small drop of batter in the oil. If it comes up, the oil is ready.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Using two spoons (scoop the batter with one and slide off into the oil with the other spoon) or using your hand, drop batter into the oil. The amount of batter dropped is about a teaspoonful.
- Using a slotted spoon, fry the pakoras till they are light golden in colour and are done from the inside. Break one pakora to check.
- Using up all the batter, make pakoras. If the oil becomes cool, set the heat to medium again. Allow the oil to become hot. Then add more batter for pakora.
- Leave the fried pakoras on a kitchen towel so that it absorbs all the excess oil.
PREPARATION OF PAKORA IN AN APPE PAN:
- Prepare the pakora batter by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Put the appe pan over low heat and let it become hot.
- Add 2-3 drops of oil into each cavity.
- Drop batter into cavity, three quarter full.
- Cover the appe pan and let the batter cook over low heat.
- Take the lid off, slowly turn all the pakoras.
- Add a drop or two of oil from the sides and let the pakoras cook the other side till they turn light golden brown.
- Keep them on the side till required.
PREPARATION OF KADHI:
- Put yogurt, water, salt and chickpea flour in a saucepan.
- Whisk the mixture with a hand blender or whisk.
- Add rest of the ingredients for the kadhi.
- Mix well.
- Put the pan over medium heat and keep on stirring constantly.
- Keep on stirring till the mixture becomes thick, creamy and hot.
- Lower the heat, and let the kadhi simmer for 5 -7 minutes. Remember to stir is frequently.
PREPARATION OF TEMPERING/VAGHAR:
- Heat ghee in a pan over low heat.
- Add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and fenugreek to the ghee.
- Add red chilli, cumin and mustard seeds.
- Add curry leaves and asafoetida.
- Add onion slices and stir fry till it is soft and light pink.
- Add the chopped garlic.
- Cook for a few seconds.
- Add chopped coriander and mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Just before serving, heat the kadhi again.
- Add the pakoras. Mix well. Bring it to a gentle simmer, let it simmer for 3 - 4 minutes. This allows the pakora to become a bit soft in the kadhi.
- Add the tempering. Mix and serve pakora kadhi with rice, roti, naan or paratha.
- Add fresh methi (fenugreek) instead of spinach.
- Make sure you use sour yogurt for this kadhi. It tastes so much better.
- I made more pakoras as we like a bit more pakoras in the kadhi and also a few got eaten before I could add them to the kadhi.
- To drop batter into the oil using your hand is easy. Scoop up a bit of batter with your four fingers and using your thumb slip it off into the oil. Fry about 6-8 pakoras at a time and do not overcrowd the pan or wok.
- If you want to use less pakoras, use half the recipe. We like the kadhi full of pakoras.
- Adjust the spices according to your taste.
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