Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda
Comfort food… soul food… call it what you may. A bowl of this delicious Kadhi Pakoda with steamed rice is heart-warming!
It may come across as an effortless, quick recipe to make but making a good bowl of Kadhi Pakoda is not as simple as it seems. Perfectly made Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda is slightly tangy and has soft, melt-in-the-mouth pakodas. Achieving this feat may take a little patience, practice and maybe a few failed attempts too.
Kadhi Pakoda is one of the few traditional Indian recipes that has not evolved much (thankfully!) and is made without the use of the relatively recent tomatoes. Yes, traditional Kadhi Pakoda uses dahi or curd as a souring agent.
Punjabi style Kadhi Pakoda is best made with curd / dahi that is a couple of days old. Fresh curd will not lend that tangy flavour that Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda is known for.
If you’re short on time, use fresh curd / dahi by adding a little salt to it. Keep your salted fresh curd out at ambient temperature or in a warm place for 3-4 hours to develop a fermented sour tang. Now you’re all set to make Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda with fresh curd / dahi.
The trick to get soft, spongy pakodas in this recipe of Punjabi style Kadhi Pakoda is to ever-so-slightly undercook them while frying. Remove the pakodas from the frying pan when they’re a light golden, not completely fried to a golden brown like regular pakodas or bhajjiyas. This undercooking of the pakodas will let the kadhi seep right in to the middle and make the kadhi soaked pakodas juicy and melt-in-the-mouth.
If you like you could add a small pinch of baking soda to your pakoda batter. This will also let them soak in the kadhi better.
I recommend making this recipe an hour of so ahead of time to let the flavours meddle and give the pakodas enough time to soak in the kadhi and swell.
Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda is really an effortless recipe once you get the hang of it i.e. once the pakodas are soft and the kadhi is tangy. Simple, right?
If you like Indian Curries, you many want to try these recipes too!
Let’s get to the recipe of Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda now.
Time taken: 20 minutes
Ingredients to make Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda
For the pakoda batter
1½ cup gramflour / besan
2 medium onions
½ inch piece of ginger
A few sprigs of fresh coriander
2 green chillies
½ tsp carom seeds / ajwain
A pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Water, as required to form a thick batter
Cooking oil for frying
For the Kadhi
3 tbsp gramflour / besan
1½ cup curd / dahi
4-5 cups water
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds / methi dana (methre)
1 tbsp cumin seeds / jeera
2 sprigs of curry leaves
½ inch piece of ginger
¼ tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida / hing
For the tadka
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 dried Kashmiri red chillies
1 tsp red chilli powder
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
Method of making Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda
For the Pakodas
Finely chop the onions, green chillies and coriander. Grate the ginger. Place all of these chopped ingredients in a bowl. Add a little salt and carom seeds. Let this mix sit in the bowl for about 15 minutes allowing the onions to sweat and release excess water.
Add the gramflour to the bowl along with turmeric powder and more salt if required. Add baking soda too, if using. Mix everything well and add enough water to form a thick / sticky batter. If there’s more water in your pakoda batter, they won’t hold shape. In that case, add more besan to thicken the batter.
The pakoda batter for Kadhi Pakoda usually has more gramflour and lesser onions than the global favourite Indian street food; onion bhajjiyas. More gramflour in the pakoda means more liquid being soaked from the kadhi. The onions are added for crunch and texture in the Kadhi Pakoda recipe.
Heat oil on medium high heat in a kadhai or frying pan. The oil should be hot enough for the batter to hold shape immediately once dropped in the oil rather than spreading out, but not hot enough to brown the pakodas instantly, else the pakodas will be undercooked in the middle.
First, fry a teaspoon of the pakoda batter in the oil for a taste test. Adjust flavours to your liking and then go on to fry the pakodas for our Punjabi style Pakoda Kadhi.
Drain on a kitchen towel and keep aside.
While you’re getting the pakodas ready, you could multitask and get the Kadhi cooking on the side, to save time.
For the Kadhi
Mix the gramflour, curd, asafoetida, turmeric and red chilli powder. Add two cups or so of water to thin out this mix.
Next, heat cooking oil in a kadhai and add fenugreek seeds. Once the fenugreek seeds turn a couple of shades darker, add the cumin seeds, curry leaves and grated ginger. Once these splutter, reduce the heat to medium and carefully add the gramflour and curd mix.
Now the important thing is to constantly stir the gramflour curd mix once it’s in the kadhai till it reaches a boil, so that the curd does not split or curdle. We’re looking for a creamy texture to the kadhi.
Once the gramflour curd mix starts to boil, you can stop stirring and add two more cups of water. Leave it to boil for a couple of minutes. Add salt to taste.
Lower the heat and let the kadhi boil gently for another 8-10 minutes. This will cook the gramflour and thicken the kadhi.
The kadhi will have reduced by this time. Add the one remaining cup of water, bring it to a boil and add the fried pakodas.
Let the pakodas cook in the kadhi for 3-4 minutes, cover and take it off the heat.
The kadhi will once again thicken while it’s left to rest as the pakodas will soak in a fair bit of water from the kadhi.
I do recommend making this recipe an hour of so ahead of time to let the flavours meddle and to give the pakodas enough time to soak in the kadhi and swell.
When you’re ready to serve, heat the Kadhi Pakoda again on low heat without bringing it to a boil, as the pakodas will now be soft and may tend to break.
The tadka is optional, though it enhances the flavour of the Kadhi and I highly recommend it.
Heat cooking oil in a tadka pan. Add the dried Kashmiri red chillies. Once these are fried crisp, take the tadka pan off the heat. Add red chilli powder and immediately add the tadka to the hot Kadhi Pakoda. Garnish with fresh coriander and your Punjabi style Kadhi Pakoda is ready to serve!
Tip: Red chilli powder or any other spice for that matter, burns quickly when added to hot oil and will go from red to black in a couple of seconds. So, remember to always add red chilli powder to your tadka once the tadka pan is off the heat.
Serve this Punjabi style Kadhi Pakoda with ghee-laden chapatis or steamed rice. Pakoda Kadhi tastes equally good (or better!) with a jowari roti or a mixed flour Thalipeeth. And sirke wale pyaz ofcourse!
Do read the introductory notes of my recipes for small tips and tricks which I may not always repeat in the cooking method.
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