Comfort food is a staple for anyone wanting a hearty meal with a little taste of home. There’s nothing like the pleasures of simple, delicious comfort food on the last 2014 weekend at home in London before I fly off to my next holiday mid nextweek. All I wanted is to have a warm fire and a plate of comfort food on a chilly windy cold Sunday while getting on with my packing and scheduling blogposts when I’ll be away (see, I care for you all so much!). Punjabi Kadhi Pakori served with Chawal (steamed rice) is one such comforting classic food to devour for lunch on weekends. Now, to me, eating Kadhi Chawal on Sunday is equivalent to eating your body weight in food but it’s ok because my usual diet starts on Monday…again.
This dish is a combination of onion pakoras(fritters) mixed in a cooked creamy, tangy, yoghurt sauce. Pakora Kadhi (pronounced ka-ree) is a typical Punjabi dish which is made regularly in North India. It’s rich, flavourful and filling. Whats better than to indulge yourself in hot Kadhi rice during winter days! Growing up in a Bengali household, I never had the chance to taste this ultimate comfort food until I was 17 and what I called then was being ”imprisoned” in boarding college in Delhi. So, my first introduction to Kadhi-chawal was at the Miranda House Hostel of University of Delhi and oh! I loved it, as if I had any choice! My food habit is a bit hotchpotch now – I spent the most precious years of my youth in Delhi, India, so the obsession for North Indian or traditional Mughlai food is taken for granted. Later when I moved from hostel to a private accommodation, I attempted to cook dishes that I had never eaten before while living with my parents and it was then I tried cooking Punjabi Kadhi Pakori while living in Delhi. My partner who was just then a budding boy friend and I started getting to know him more and more, was my guinea pig of all culinary discoveries. His living in a hostel too made him deprived of home cooked food. For him, every little opportinuty to eat home cooked food was welcome even if that means forced to eat my initial experiments. Kadhi was one of the first few dishes I learnt to cook as it is cheaper (back then it was a consideration for an undergraduate student living on Government stipend INR. 5000 p/m) and very easy to prepare too! He loved it then and now as well. As you know I drink juice in two meals a day and eat grilled veggies and fish/ chicken in dinner on weekedays, so naturally this Kadhi- Chawal lunch idea on a Sunday wasn’t entirely my own.
In easy 10 steps, cook and savour every mouthful of this rich, comforting Kadhi with yoghurt and gram flour gravy and deep fried potato and onion fritters known as Pakori dunked in it.
Let’s cook now
Cooking Time : 15 minutes + 30 minutes
What I used:
For the Pakora:-
1 cup gram flour
1 ½ medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 potato cut in small cubes
1 small green chilli, finely diced
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
½ cup water
2 cups oil for frying
For the Kadhi:-
500g natural yoghurt
6 tbsp gram flour
3 cups water
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp asafetida powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2/3 dried whole chilli
1 stem curry leaves
3 garlic cloves, paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garam masala
Handful of coriander, finely chopped
2/3 green chillies
How I cooked:
Step One: To the make the onion pakoras, in a bowl add together the gram flour, onion, green chilli, salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, and coriander powder
Step Two: Gradually add the water and mix well.
Step Three: To make the pakoras, heat the oil in a wok. Once hot, take small portions of the batter and drop it in the oil. You can use your fingers or a tablespoon if you prefer.
Step Four: Fry until golden brown.
Step Five: To make the Kadhi sauce, using the same bowl, I added the yoghurt, gram flour, salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder.
Step Six: Gradually add the water and mix using a whisk ensuring there are no lumps.
Step Seven: Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the asafetida, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, whole dried red chilli, curry leaves and green chillies. Mix and cook until the the curry leaves turn little pale.
Step Eight: Gradually add the gram flour and yoghurt mixture and bring it to a boil on high heat. Now reduced the heat to medium and add 1 cup of water whilst mixing with a whisk.
Step Nine: Now add the pakoras and gently mix. Add the garam masala, fresh coriander and curry leaves and cook on low for 10 minutes.
Step Ten: Serve the Punjabi kadhi pakori hot with basmati rice and garnish with coriander and curry leaves.
Number One- Adding potato to the kadhi and pakora is optional, if you don’t like potato you can skip it very well.
Number Two- Adjust water to your desired consistency, and also before set to boil make the kadhi little thin, so upon boiling it tend to thicken slightly.
Number Three- Instead of onion pakora you can also make spinach pakora, wash and chop spinach and mix it with besan (gram flour).