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Boman Irani’s Punjabi Adventure

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For the past two weeks, we have been sharing Boman Irani’s favourite recipes to celebrate his third exciting campaign with P Mark Mustard Oil. The current campaign has Boman transforming himself into several quirky characters: a smug chef who doesn’t really know his craft; a bungling translator whose incompetence derails a business meeting; and an out-of-control boxing coach who unwittingly trains his boxer for a crushing defeat!

Today’s recipe is one that Boman discovered a lot later in life – when he travelled to Punjab for shooting a film: it’s the ever-popular Kadhi Chaawal.

The ingredients that you will need are:


  1. Sour Curd (Dahi): 40 gram

  2. Gram Flour: 300 gram

  3. Rice: 150 gram

  4. Mustard Oil: 100 millilitres

  5. Mustard Seeds (Rai): 1 teaspoon

  6. Ginger Paste:1 teaspoon

  7. Garlic Paste: 1 teaspoon

  8. Onion: 1 finely chopped

  9. Asafoetida (Heeng): Just a pinch

  10. Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds: Just a pinch

  11. Chilli Powder: 3 teaspoon

  12. Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Just a pinch

  13. Baking Soda: Half a teaspoon

  14. Green Chilli: 1, finely chopped

  15. Green Chilli Paste: 1 teaspoon

  16. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 2 tablespoon, finely chopped

  17. Salt: to taste

The ingredients mentioned above are for four servings; you may increase or decrease the ingredients proportionately, according to your needs. Boman Irani, being an ardent foodie, likes his favourite food in large quantities… he says so in this short film:


Wash the rice and keep aside.


Kadhi Chaawal has three main components: Kadhi, Pakoras and Chaawal (Rice).

Let’s start with the rice. In a pan add around 1 litre of water along with a teaspoon of salt. Heat the pan on a Medium flame. When the water comes to a boil, add the washed rice and let it cook for around 15 minutes – then reduce the flame and continue cooking till the rice becomes soft. Turn the flame off and carefully drain the excess water off. Cover the pan and keep aside.

Next, let’s make the Pakoras. In a large bowl, add the gram flour (keep aside around 50 grams that will be used later for the Kadhi). Also add the chopped onions, baking soda, chilli powder, green chilli paste, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Mix while adding a little water at a time to form a thick batter. Use your hands to shape the batter into small palm-sized balls.

In a pan, heat 60 millilitres of the Mustard Oil till it reaches its smoking point. Fry the gram flour balls till they turn golden brown in colour. It is best to do this in batches to prevent any of the Pakoras from getting burnt. Once the Pakoras are fried, some people prefer to place them on paper napkins to drain the excess oil – but there is no need to do so. We are using Mustard Oil which is healthy and least absorbed in food while deep frying. Mustard Oil is also a wonderful taste agent – so don’t drain it. Once you are done frying, put the Pakoras on a dish, cover and keep aside.

Now let’s make the Kadhi – the delightful yogurt gravy that is the very essence of this traditional dish. Take a large bowl and add the sour curd along with the remaining gram flour. Whisk it till it forms a smooth and consistent mixture.

Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt.

In another pan, heat the remaining Mustard Oil on a Medium flame till it reaches its smoking point. Add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard seeds begin to sputter and crackle, add the finely chopped green chilli, the ginger paste and the garlic paste. Mix well. Next, use your left hand to pour in the sour curd mixture while using your right hand to stir. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from turning lumpy.

Use your left hand to reduce the heat to Low while stirring continuously with your right hand. Keep stirring till the mixture begins to boil. Let the mixture simmer on a low flame for around 10 minutes or till the yogurt gravy turns thick.

Now remove the pan from the flame. Add the Pakoras and mix well.

Boman Irani’s favourite Kadhi Chaawal is now ready. There are two ways of serving this dish; one can either serve the Kadhi-Pakora mix in a separate dish and the rice in another dish. Or one can pour the Kadhi-Pakora mix over the rice and serve it as a single dish. Either way, it’s divinely delicious!

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