Kadhi Pakora is one of my favorite dishes when it comes to Pakistani food. I find this dish to be so interesting in preparation and flavor compared to other Pakistani curries. This dish has two main components, the kadhi and the pakoras. The kadhi which is a thick gravy base that’s made with yogurt and gram flour (chickpea flour) with some basic aromatics and powder spices. Than you have the pakoras which are similar to fritters also made from gram flour and few other ingredients that I will go over . The flavor and texture is creamy with a tang from the yogurt. Both of these components are finished off with a tempering (tarka) of oil that has been infused with cumin seeds, dry fenugreek and red dry chilies. It’s often eaten with plain rice or chapati.
Keep in mind that this dish has many variations across the region and each household.
I have always made this with regular full fat yogurt.
Make sure gram flour(besan) is not expired.
Make sure you are not using a small pot because as the curry cooks it can overflow.
Serve with cumin rice
This recipe can serve anywhere from 6-8 people.
- FOR KADHI (CREAMY CURRY BASE)
- ½ cup gram flour
- 2½ cups full fat yogurt
- ¼ cup neutral oil (light olive oil, canola oil)
- 1 small tomato, pureed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tsp. fresh garlic/ginger, grated
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- ½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 2½ tsp. cumin powder
- 2½ tsp. red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1½ tsp. salt (adjust to taste)
- 7 cups water
- 2 cups gram flour
- ½ small onion, diced
- 2 tbsp. dry pomegranate seeds rinsed (optional)
- ¼ tsp. cumin seeds & coriander seeds (crushed in mortar pestle)
- 2 tsp. red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 1-1½ tsp. salt (adjust to taste)
- ¼ tsp. turmeric powder for golden color
- ¼ tsp. baking soda (for puffy pakoras)
- few tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 cup water
- oil for deep frying
- TEMPERING (TARKA)
- 6 tbsp. oil
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp. dry fenugreek leaves (not the seeds)
- few dry red chilies
- (for the tempering work with what you have. You can just use cumin seeds or even use fresh slit green chilies)
- KADHI (CREAMY CURRY BASE)
- measure and prepare all ingredients for this before starting to cook.
- In medium bowl mix together gram flour and yogurt. Add 1 cup warm water to mix well til all lumps disappear. Strain this mixture thru a sieve to get rid of any extra lumps. Set aside.
- In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil on medium heat. Put fenugreek seeds in a small sieve and run under water just to get wet. Than carefully add the fenugreek seeds to the hot oil and cover quickly. The oil will splatter because you are adding some water to the hot oil, so be very careful. Give that 5-10 seconds they will get brown in color and you will smell the aroma. Than add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for another 5-10 seconds.
- Add diced onions, saute til light golden brown (about 3 minutes) than add garlic/ginger, and cook out the rawness (about 15 seconds) Than add tomatoes and powder spices. Saute this for few minutes, the oil will start to separate from the tomato/onion mixture. If mixture is sticking just add few tbsp. water.
- Add the gram flour/yogurt mixture and mix well. Add 7 cups of water and mix again. Let this come to a boil. Than turn down the heat low and let this cook for 1 hour. Heat should be low enough that it still has a slow rolling boil. Set a timer and keep stirring occasionally.
- After 1 hr most of water should be evaporated, the consistency should be thick that it's coating the spoon. If it's still very thin or you want it thicker continue cooking on low for longer about 20 minutes or til desired consistency. If you taste it now it should have a tangy flavor. Adjust the salt now if needed. Keep in mind the consistency continues to thicken as it sits and after refrigeration.
- PAKORAS (FRIED FRITTERS)
- keep plate with paper towel to drain the pakoras.
- In a small bowl mix all pakora ingredients together with 1 cup of water. Batter should not be thin.
- In a heavy bottom frying pot heat the oil on medium heat. Drop a small amount of batter and fry than taste to adjust salt/chili powder.
- Drop 1-2 tbsp. of batter into the hot oil, don't over crowd the pan. Give 6-8 minutes total to make sure they are cooked inside. Keep moving them so they don't over brown.
- Take out and drain on plate with paper towel.
- Keep the kadhi on warm and add the pakoras to the kadhi, Completely submerge and let them soak in the creamy curry sauce. You may have some extra pakoras to have on the side.
- TEMPERING (TARKA)
- This will add another delicious layer of flavor to this dish.
- In a small pan heat 6 tbsp. oil with 1 tsp. cumin seeds. Let it sizzle they will start to change color, add ¼ tsp. dry fenugreek in the oil and few dry red chili.
- Drizzle this over the curry
- Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.