Updated: Jul 15, 2022
Kadhi is a comfort food for a lot of Indian people, including me. Growing up, it was one of those foods that would just perk me up when I was in a blah mood studying for one exam or another while in high school in India. Ingredients that may seem SO intense and laborious are spices that hang out in every Indian kitchen so it was never too much of a stretch to cheer me up pizza and my mom ALWAYS knew when to do that.
I look back on those days fondly and I love to allow myself to explore those throwback experiential memories when I cook this dish. Making the request for the dish early evening and the anticipation of knowing that I would get a nibble on one of the pakoras before it went into the yogurt sauce. The anticipation was two part, just to clarify. The pakoras were one. The second was the tasting of yogurt curry as it was being made. Such fun times!
What I did not know when I was growing up was that there are different versions of kadhi based on regional influences just as there are different versions pizza based on where you go. The kadhi's made in Northern India in places like are tangy and include onion fritters. The kadhi from Maharashtra and Gujarat are sweet and tangy. They usually do not include the onion fritters. Just the yogurt curry.
Since I moved to the United States, my mood uplifts through kadhi became a thing of the past. For some reason, very few "mainstream" Indian restaurants have it on their menu. I'm just not sure why. It's the perfect gluten free, vegetarian food.
More recently however, the tides have turned in my favor, with smaller ma and pa Indian restaurants. Kadhi has been showing up on the menu in places when I least expect it, alongside freeway dhabas, perking me up just like it did in the past. I've felt very grateful to have that as a road trip food option, a long way away from only having fast food options like McDonald's, IHOP, and so on if you can relate to what I mean.
I loved kadhi any way; with rice or roti (Indian puffed bread) and still do.
If you would like to try this dish but not have to bother with buying individual spices, reach out for a Custom Spice Kit at firstname.lastname@example.org
INGREDIENTS: FOR THE PAKORA/FRITTERS
2 onions (any kind) sliced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger or ginger paste
1 tsp kasuri methi
1/2 turmeric powder
1 tsp chopped (Thai or Serrano) chilli; to taste or optional
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro or mint or both
Ajwain (carom) seeds or Jeera (cumin) seeds; optional but definitely adds flavor
1 cup chic pea flour
2 tablespoon yogurt (Greek, European - sour is good :)
Vegetable oil for frying.
INGREDIENTS: FOR THE YOGURT CURRY
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
5 tbs besan
1 tsp salt
4 cups water
1/2 tsp methi seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 cup sliced onions
2 Thai chili
INGREDIENTS: FOR TEMPERING
1 tbs ghee
1 tsp cumin
1 dry red chili
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 pinch asofoetida
Make the onion pakoras or fritters.
Add all the ingredients for the yogurt curry (above the dotted line) in a quart sized bowl. mix and set aside.
Gather whole spices for the wok (below) the dotted line; methi, cumin and coriander seeds. Grind the spices coarsely either by using a mortar and pestle or by putting them in a ziplock bag and using something heavy like a ceramic cup to pound the spices.
Use the same wok that the fritters were fried in; remove excess oil except 2 tablespoons and get wok ready for the yogurt curry.
Heat the wok and oil on medium; add the coarse ground whole spices and cook for 30-40 seconds.
Add the sliced onions and Thai chili; brown for 2-3 minutes on medium high.
Pour the yogurt curry base in, turn heat to high, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium once the curry start boiling . Let cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes.
Get the tempering spices ready.
Once the kadhi has cooked for about 7 minutes, it should have the consistency of half and half.
Gather tempering spices. In a small frying pan, add ghee and heat on high and add tempering spices till they sputter; 20-30 seconds. Immediately add tempering spices to the yogurt curry.
Add the pakoras or fritters. Mix in.
Cover and let the sit for 15 minutes for the pakoras to settle in.
Kadhi is ready to serve with rice or roti (Indian puffed bread).
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