Today we are going to explore a traditional Indian dish that has been a hot favourite for hundreds of years – an eternally evergreen delicacy called Kadhi. The earliest written references to Kadhi date back to around 1200 CE. Over the centuries, a wide array of regional variations cropped up in different parts of India. Rasachandrika, a pre-Independence book of Saraswat recipes, describes a pretty unique Kadhi recipe using potatoes with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, green chillies, ginger, garlic – and coconut!
The tribal people of the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh have a rather unique version of Kadhi made using Arbi and eaten with a red-ant chutney. Another version from Bundelkhand adds sun-dried pieces made from dry-roasted sesame, urad dal, a sweetmeat called petha, chillies and salt – now that’s truly one-of-a-kind, isn’t it?
Then there’s the famous Varanasi Kadhi made using chickpea flour dumplings called Fulouri. There’s a version from Maharashtra called Kadhi Shengole. There’s a Garhwali variant called Jholi. The list goes on and on!
In addition to being delicious, Kadhi is also very healthy. Its recipe has its roots in Ayurveda which postulates that the slow-cooking of yogurt helps in pacifying its Vata properties. Vata Dosha causes digestive and circulatory problems. Kadhi is known to be light on the stomach and helps in enhancing digestion.
In today’s recipe, we will explore the enormously popular version of Kadhi that comes from Punjab. This is the version that you will find if you are a food lover roaming the streets of Delhi – or for that matter, in any north Indian town or city.
So let’s get started. Here are the ingredients that you will require.
Gram Flour (Besan): 150 grams
Yogurt (Dahi): 350 grams
Mustard Oil: 200 millilitres
Ghee: 5 teaspoons
Potato: 150 grams
Onion: 150 grams
Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Half a teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
Soda bi-carb: Just a pinch
Carom (Ajwain) Seeds: 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek (Methi) Leaves: 1 teaspoon
Ginger (Adrak): One small piece (5 grams)
Green Chillies: 5
Red Chillies: 4
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 1 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds (Rai): Just a pinch
Salt: to taste
The ingredients mentioned above are for four servings; adjust the ingredients proportionately to suit the number of servings you require.
If you want to recreate the traditional taste of Kadhi with its typical hint of sourness, instead of fresh yogurt use yogurt that is a day old.
Wash, peel and slice the potatoes into circular pieces, around half a centimetre in thickness.
Peel, wash and slice the onions.
Scrape, wash and finely chop the ginger.
Slit, deseed and finely chop the green chillies.
In a mixing bowl, take the yogurt and whisk it. Add half the gram flour along with two whole red chillies, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
In another mixing bowl, pass the remaining gram flour through a sieve and add the soda bi-carb. Next, add the carom seeds and fenugreek leaves. Add enough water to create a thick batter. To this batter, add the ginger, green chillies and salt to taste. Mix well. Shape this batter into small dumplings, around an inch or so in diameter.
Heat around 100 millilitres of the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame. Reduce the flame to Low and deep-fry the dumplings till they turn golden brown in colour. The Pakoras for your Kadhi are now ready. Keep aside.
Heat the remaining Mustard Oil in another pan on a Medium flame. Add the yogurt and spices mixture along with around 700 millilitres of water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the flame to Low and allow the contents to simmer for around 10 minutes. You have to keep stirring the mixture continuously to prevent the yogurt from curdling.
Next, add the potatoes, increase the heat to Medium, bring the contents to a boil again; then reduce the flame to Low and let the contents simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Then add the onions and let the contents continue to simmer till the potatoes are done (use a fork to check).
Now add the Pakoras and stir the mixture for two minutes. Add this point, check the salt and add more salt, if required. Allow the pan to continue simmering on a Low flame.
In a frying pan, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and the remaining two whole red chillies. Sauté till the seeds begin to splutter. Carefully remove the two red chillies. Give the contents of the frying pan a final stir and turn the flame off.
Bring the contents of the main pan to a boil one more time, pour the contents of the frying pan into the pan and stir.
Your Punjabi-style Kadhi is now ready to be served. This dish is best eaten with steaming hot rice. Just ask anyone in India!
By the way, this dish is also a hot favourite of our brand ambassador, Boman Irani. He talks enthusiastically about it in this short video which is all about his favourite food.
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