A special Sunday Lunch – Pakoron Waali Kadhi (Onion Bhaji’s in Yogurt Gravy)

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.

IMG_1912And 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.

IMG_1909I 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.

IMG_1910There 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.

IMG_1911The 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

Method:

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

2 Cloves

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)

Method:

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.

Tadka (tempering)

1 tablespoon Ghee or Vegetable Oil

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

7 – 8 Curry leaves

Method:

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.

 

 

 

The sick person’s comfort food – Simple Mung Dal with Ghee

I have been a bit under the weather of late. Not sure what ails me but a strange sense of melancholy seems to have gotten hold of my mind and I can’t seem to shake it off. Plus a very bad back pain doesn’t help do anything to the mood either. I have had to slow down and almost confine myself to the bed, so I can get better.

And we all know who we miss and long for when we are sick, yes our mother. I really have been missing her more than I do because of how I am feeling right now. So the best thing I can do to feel that she is around me is to cook something she used to make for me whenever I used to be sick.

So I have been making a lot of plain “Mung dal” and drowning myself in a bowl full of it. Typically the dal is just boiled with some Salt and Turmeric and served on some hot rice with a big dollop of Ghee on it. However even as a child I used to love my flavors so I used to never eat the plain dal and beg my mom to add some spices and Tomatoes.  And to please me my mom used to do the same and even give it a tempering with Garlic and Ghee.

Also those were the having a bit of an extra Ghee and putting on weight was not a big issue. So she would put another dollop of Ghee of my dal and rice and boy it always managed to cheer me up. It is so simple and plain but is very nutritious and very comforting. And that is what I have been craving for, so I made it for myself and felt instant gratification.

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Here is the recipe (cooking time 30 minutes, serve 4 – 5)

1 1/2 cup yellow mung dal.

1 large Tomato finally chopped

2 – 3 green chillies slit into 2

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp Ghee (Do not substitute it with anything else)

Salt to taste

1 tsp Asafoetida

3 cloves of Garlic sliced thinly

1) Wash the Dal and put it in a pressure cooker with Tomatoes, Green chillies, Salt and Turmeric.  Add 3  cups of water and  pressure cook it for 3 whistles.

2) Turn the heat off and let all the pressure release.

3) In a small pan heat the Ghee once it is hot add the cumin seeds, Garlic and Asafoetida, once the Garlic starts to turn brown add the tempering straight into the pressure cooker on the cooked Dal.

Serve it hot with some Rice and maybe, just maybe if you are feeling a little greedy add another dollop of Ghee.