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Punjabi Kadhi- when you miss it , make it

Indian sub contienent is the veritable feast of food for vegetarians. Most of the major ethnicities of India have theit own recipe of Kadhi, essentially a mix of besan (chickpea flour in west) and dahi (natural yogurt). The sourness of the yogurt is the unique characteristic of almost all the kadhis. Punjabi kadhi is little thicker, though without jaggery, and pakora (fritters) of onion or potatoes or both are dipped in the sauce. One of the most imprtant aspect is the tempering of spices and red chili which makes the mouth water at the mere sight. It is generally served with boiled rice and pickle.

I was missing the sour taste of yogurt. My wife makes very good Bengali style kadhi. This version is little different in a way that pakodas are made with besan (chickpea flour in the west), not with moong lentil paste as in our region. Nevertheless, all the versions taste great. All you have to do it, is to make it and share with everyone. 

Prep Time: Depends upon you, generally 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30-35 mins



1 ½ cups homemade natural yogurt (sotre bough version must be natural and unsweetened)

1/3 cup besan (chickpea flours in west)

½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)

1 generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)

Salt as required

3-4 cups water, or add as required

Onion pakoras

1 cup besan (chickpea flour)

1 green chili, seeded and chopped

½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)

pinch garam masala powder

¼ teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)

3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro for west)

2 medium red onion, peeled and sliced thinly

Salt to taste

water or add as required

mustard oil or sunflower oil for deep frying


2 tablespoons mustard oil

1 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)

8-10 nos methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)

a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)

8 to 10 curry leaves

2 red chillies, broken

2 green chillies, chopped

1 small red onion, peeled and chopped

½ inch piece of adrak (ginger), scraped and chopped

2-3 cloves lahsun (garlic), peeled and chopped

Coriander leaves for garnish


For the kadhi mix

1. Whisk yogurt in bowl until smooth. Add chickpea flour, turmeric powder and mix well.

2. Add 3 cups water and whisk again until of puring consistency. Make sure to remove all the lumps. Keep ready.

For the pakoda

1. In a bowl mix together chickpea (besan) flour, chopped green chili, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, ajwain and salt. Mix well with a spoon

2. Add sliced onions and stor to mix well. Keep aside for 30 minutes to help develop the flavor. The onion will also leave some water during the rest period. For the thick mixture add water accordingly.

3. Heat oil in a shallow pan, shape the pakora mix into a rough round using your hand, drop one by one into the hot oil. Fry until light golden, turning them over after 2 minutes. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until light golden.

4. Drin them onto the paper towel. Fry the rest of the pakora in batches. If you have added too many at the same time, the temperature of the oil will drop making the pakoras soggy and heavy. Keep them aside until required.

For finishing the kadhi

1. Heat mustard oil in a lareg pan. Add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and hing. Allow the cumin to crackle. The heat should be medium low at this point of time

2. Next add curry leaves and both the chilies. Stir onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until aromatic. Next add ginger and garlic, cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Pour the yogurt mix and stir gently for 8-10 minutes until kadhi start to boil and thicken. Reduce the heat to simmer. If the kadhi become too thick, add hot water to keep it to pouring consistency. Remember adding the pakora will also thicken the kadhi.

4. Add the pakora, stir gently to mix well in the kadhi. Simmer for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with fresh corinder leaves and serve hot with boiled rice and mango pickle.

Optional- few people add the ghee on top just before serving, this is the personal choice as kadhi already have a distinct flavor.