The memories our parents weave for us when we are young are the ones that last with us forever. And one of my most vivid memories is of Sunday lunches made by my mother for us. Since she was a working woman and we had school Sunday lunches were always special because everyone was home and even though they were usually repetitive they somehow were more exciting than any other meals we had.
And anyone who has grown up in a North Indian household would agree how “Rajma” or “Kadhi” have been the staple comfort food for centuries. Infact North Indians are associated with these 2 dishes.
I have several Kadhi recipes on my blog except the one that I ate almost every Sunday for many years. Which is the famed “Pakoron Waali kadhi” Pakore is basically your Onion Bhaji’s (fritters) which are fried separately and then added in silky smooth yogurt based gravy. My mother would make extra Pakore for us and give them to us to nibble on while she made lunch and me and my brother would literally loiter around the kitchen waiting for the plate of yummy pakore to be handed to us.
There are different types of Pakore that can be made for the Kadhi but the ones made in our house were always the Onion ones, although sometimes my mother added Spinach as well to give it an extra lift. The smell of the Pakore’s being deep fried in the kitchen and the kadhi being cooked used to be the highlight of most Sunday’s for us and it still reminds me of home.
The kadhi has a soupy consistency and I can actually finish unhealthy quantities of bowlful of this comforting soulful. I mean who would have thought that one deep fried Onion fritters would taste so good with a yogurt based gravy. The kadhi is usually served with plain boiled rice and the only way to eat it is with your fingers, breaking the crunchy fritters and licking your fingers clean.
Ingredients: (serves 4- 5 cooking time 40 minutes)
For the pakoras
2 big Onions, finely sliced (not chopped)
8 tablespoons Besan or chickpea flour
1 teaspoon of ajwain (carom seeds)
1 green chilli finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp Baking Soda, the baking Soda will make the Pakoras soft and fluffy
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon garlic paste, use fresh Garlic only.
2 Cups Vegetable oil to deep fry
Mix everything except the Oil together in a bowl. Sprinkle a handful of water and using your fingers mix everything together. The onion will release water as well, so I have not added too much water. You want the mixture to be thick, so it easy to fry. You can add a bit more water if you wish to.
Heat the Oil in a pan or a wok and then take small helpings of the mixture and release them in the hot oil, deep frying till Golden brown.
Drain the Pakoras on a kitchen towel and let them sit till you get the Kadhi ready.
For the Kadhi:
2 cups plain yogurt, traditionally the Kadhi is made of sour yogurt.
1 1/2 tablespoons Besan
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
3 dry Red Chillies
1 Cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon Asafoetida
1 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
1 large Onion
1 tsp freshly grated Ginger
Salt to taste
2 tsp Vegetable Oil (I used the oil from the Pakoras)
In a large bowl mix the Yogurt, Besan, Sugar and Turmeric ensuring there are no lumps formed.
Add 3 cups of water to this mixture mixing well. The Kadhi has a soupy consistency. Leave it aside till you get the tempering ready.
Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan, once hot add the Dry red chillies, Fenugreek seeks, Cumin Seed, Cloves, Cinnamon, Mustard Seeds and Asafoetida. Add the chopped Onions and let them sauté till almost golden in colour.
Lower the heat and gently add the Yogurt base to it and let it cook on a slow flame for 10 – 15 minutes.
Now add the Pakoras and Salt to this mixture and cook for another 10 minutes on a low flame.
1 tablespoon Ghee or Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
7 – 8 Curry leaves
Just before you are ready to serve the Kadhi heat the Ghee or the Oil in a small pan, add the red chilli powder and curry leaves and when they start to splutter pour this tempering on the hot Kadhi.
You can skip the tempering if you wish to or add the curry leaves and the red chilli powder when you are making the Kadhi. Keep in mind that since the Kadhi has Besan in it, it may become thick if kept for long. In that case, you can add half a cup of hot water to it to loosen the kadhi.
Serve it on a bed of hot steamed Rice. Sunday lunches cannot be better than this.