This curry or kadhi as it is called in Hindi and Punjabi is a delightful yellow in color. The color being fabulous besides, it tastes great too. It is much sought after in Punjabi food restaurants and is made a lot in Punjabi homes. I’ve eaten it very often in my North Indian friends’ homes when we were in the Air Force.
I can’t help but think, that those times in the Air Force were so different. We lived in Air Force camps, all of us united as one family, no difference whether we were Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians or Jews. We never gave a thought to our neighbour’s religion. We shared our food, books, games, school, our feelings and our friendships. Our mothers were our backbones while our dads were out flying. Our parents were our strength and taught us never to discriminate. I’ve kept alive many friendships from those days, some forty years later. These are sad times when people fight over the most petty of matters and violence is the rule of the day. I hope my blog serves as a path to love and peace through cooking and food.
This recipe is inspired by one from Nita Mehta’s Vegetarian Curries, a small book which packs a delightful punch of vegetarian curries and other vegetarian recipes. It’s also reasonably priced. So you can get it from your favorite bookstore or online.
If you have elderly people in your home you can make the pakoras with grated onions and potatoes instead of finely chopped ones. The pakoras will literally melt in the mouth.
Punjabi Pakora Kadhi
Make this mouthwatering Punjabi style curry for your loved ones.
3/4 cup gram flour
2 cups sour curd or yoghurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
chilly powder to taste
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3-4 dry red chillies
4-5 curry leaves
For Pakoras or Dumplings
1 big onion, finely chopped
1 big potato, finely chopped
1/2 piece ginger, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
A pinch of soda bicarbonate
Salt to taste
1 cup gram flour
1/3 cup water
Oil for frying
For Tempering or Tadka
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
Mix curd, gram flour, salt, turmeric, red chilly powder and 5 1/2 cups water. Beat well till smooth and no lumps remain.
In a heavy bottomed pan heat the oil and put in the cumin and fenugreek seeds.
When the cumin seeds begin to turn brownish, add the dry red chillies and curry leaves. Fry for one minute.
Add curd-water mixture and stir till it begins to boil. Then lower the flame and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring in between. Keep aside.
Now to prepare the pakoras, mix the gram flour with water to make a paste like consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients for the pakoras except the oil which you must keep for frying them. Mix well.
Heat the oil for frying and drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry, gently turning the pakoras around, till they’re golden brown all over.
Add pakoras to the curry a few minutes before serving.
To temper the curry, heat the oil in a small pan, reduce the flame and add cumin seeds, when they turn golden brown, add the red chilly powder and quickly remove the pan from the fire and overturn it onto the hot curry. Serve hot.
If you don’t have a love for chillies, like my dad, then add just the green chillies and no chilly powder anywhere else, like I have done.
Taste the curry when it is cooking and adjust for seasoning.
You may also sprinkle some finely chopped fresh coriander leaves as garnish before laying the curry on the table.
Just like Julie Andrews sings These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things in the 1965 musical Sound of Music and goes on to tell us some of her favorite things in the song, if I sang this song, which I love, I would mention Saboodana Khichdi made by mom.
The recipe for this savory tapioca pearls snack, usually eaten for breakfast, at tea time, or during periods of fasting, because it doesn’t contain garlic, onions or even asafoetida, is an heirloom family recipe. And you must try it to believe how tasty the dish turns out.
I’d rate it as a slightly difficult dish to make because the saboodana or tapioca pearls must be bought fresh, not powdery in the packing, but whole rounds. They must be soaked in just the right quantity of water- just enough to soak them overnight, but not completely drowned in water. When you soak them in water like this they will swell up by the next morning. And you can move ahead with the recipe.
Eat this tasty snack for breakfast or teatime, hot and fresh.
200 gms saboodana or tapioca pearls
6 tbsps ghee or clarified butter
1 tspn cumin seeds
10-12 curry leaves
2 medium sized potatoes, chopped into small cubes
1 cup roasted, peeled and roughly ground peanuts
Some finely chopped coriander
2 to 3 finely chopped green chillies
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 lemon cut into 4 slices
Take a medium sized, flat, broad based vessel. Put in the saboodana and soak in water about 1/4 inch above the level of the saboodana. Don’t let the saboodana drown in too much water. Let soak overnight. In the morning, the saboodana should have soaked in all the water, swollen up and if you press one, it should not have a hard centre.
Put the ghee in a thick bottomed pan and heat on medium flame. When hot put in the cumin seeds and curry leaves and fry till a nice aroma emanates, about one minute. Ensure that the cumin seeds do not burn and turn black.
Now put in the chopped potatoes into the ghee and add just enough salt for only the potatoes. Cover the pan with a thali, put some water on top of the thali and let the potatoes cook on a slow flame.
Meanwhile, lightly toss the soaked saboodana in its vessel. Add the green chillies, finely chopped coriander, sugar, roughly ground peanuts and just enough salt for the saboodana. Remember, you’ve already added some salt to the potatoes.
Now, bring down the cooked potato pan from the flame and put the saboodana into the pan, quickly and gently tossing and mixing.
Put back the pan on the flame and cook on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Your saboodana khichdi is ready. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve hot.
The soaked saboodana should not be soggy and should not have a hard centre when pressed. It should have swollen when soaked overnight and the water should have been absorbed.
When tossing the saboodana before adding the peanuts, green chillies, chopped coriander leaves and salt, toss gently to separate the pearls so that they don’t stick to each other, so that when you add this saboodana mix to the pan of cooked potatoes, they do not stick and form lumps but are beautiful, separate, pearls.