Punjabi Kadhi Chawal ( Yogurt and Gram Flour Curry and Rice)


I see your curry and raise you Punjabi Kadhi…

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Everyone has their own definition of comfort food. A big bowl of pasta, a big juicy burger, a tub of chocolate icecream, an extra cheesy pizza and if you are like me a big bowl of curry and rice!

Initially upon moving to Australia, I was always perplexed why they called all Indian food ‘Curry’. Now I am convinced the reason why westerners call all Indian food curry stems from today’s dish, Kadhi (sounds like Curry)! Bad joke, I know!!!

Kadhi is made in almost every part of India, depending on which Indian community you come from the Kadhi will vary accordingly. Punjabi Kadhi is thick and creamy, often served with pakodas and fondly called Kadhi pakoda. Sindhi Kadhi is thin and light, tempered with drumsticks and an onion and tomato paste. Rajasthani Kadhi also called Gatta Kadhi is served with gramflour flour (besan in hindi) dumplings.

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Kadhi is definitely a family favourite for us! Beeji and Dad love it with ghee, Maa and Massi like curry leaves in theirs and my brother likes his Kadhi, just like his women…HOT!

As a child I didn’t like Kadhi at all, actually I detested it! On days we had Kadhi for dinner in the house, I would go on a Gandhian style ‘Civil Disobedience Movement’, disobeying to eat dinner!

Funny how times change, I love Kadhi now! I am sharing the recipe with you, which is a confluence of my Beeji, Maa and Massi’s recipe. One requirement for a great Kadhi is tart yoghurt. The more tart the yoghurt the better the Kadhi. Now you know what to do with that yoghurt that may have been gracing your fridge for a few days.

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Ingredients: 17     Cooking time: 60 minutes
Serves: 6
  • Seven tablespoons of plain Yoghurt or Dahi (I used natural Greek yoghurt)
  • Five tablespoons of gramflour
  • Two tablespoon of coriander powder
  • Two tablespoon of dried mango powder (optional)
  • One tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • One teaspoon turmeric powder
  • One teaspoon red chilli powder
  • One teaspoon garam masala powder
  • One black cardamom
  • Two bay leaves
  • Five to six cloves
  • Eight to ten curry leaves
  • One onion chopped
  • Four to five green chillies
  • One tablespoon of freshly minched ginger
  • Three tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

In a bowl add yoghurt, followed by the spices, one tablespoon of coriander powder and one teaspoon each of turmeric, red chilli and garam masala powder. If your yoghurt isn’t tart enough add two tablespoons dried mango powder.

Mix the yoghurt well, then add five tablespoons of gramflour or besan, followed by eight cups of water. Mix the batter until there are no lumps.

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In a deep saucepan add mustard oil and let it heat. Mustard oil is key to this dish as it would not taste the same without it. Now add the fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, bay leaves, cloves and black cardamom. Let the herbs and spices temper. Then add the chopped onions, minced ginger and green chillies. Cook the onion mix on a medium heat for 15 minutes. Now add one tablespoon of coriander powder and let the onions cook on a medium heat for another two to three minutes.

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Once the onions are nicely browned add the yoghurt and gram flour mix to the pan, give it a good stir and cover the sauce pan with a lid. Let the beautiful yellow concoction bubble away for the next 30 to 40 minutes on medium heat. By this time the aromas of Kadhi will be permeating through your house. Remove the lid and check the consistency of the Kadhi, which should be  reasonably thick and creamy.

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Your Kadhi is ready to serve! It is best eaten with plain steamed white rice or jeera (cumin) rice. I hope your family enjoys my family favourite!!

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