Kadhi Pakoras is a perfect dish for vegetarians. This delicious Punjabi recipe combines crunchy pakoras (fritters) with a mildly spicy creamy yogurt sauce. The unique combination of various tastes and textures is my favorite part of this lovely dish.
KADHI PAKORAS (Crispy Fritters in Spicy Yogurt Sauce)
1 cup besan (Bengal gram or chickpea flour), sifted
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 small Thai green chilies split in half lengthwise
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
¼ cup of finely chopped cilantro leaves
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp red chili powder
1 tsp salt
water as needed
oil for deep frying (vegetable or peanut)
1½ cups besan (Bengal gram or chickpea flour)
2 cups good quality plain yogurt
2-3 dried red chilies
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi), crushed
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
pinch of asafetida (hing)
4-6 fresh curry leaves
3 cups water
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
To make the Pakoras
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Add water slowly as needed to form a very thick and sticky batter. Heat the oil in a deep cast iron skillet or wok. When the oil is hot, using a spoon (a tablespoon works well), carefully drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. If you coat the spoon with a little oil or nonstick cooking spray, it will be easier to drop the pakoras into the hot oil. Fry on medium heat, turning the pakoras once until they golden brown on all sides. Be careful as not to overcrowd the pan as it lowers the temperature of the oil. Remove and drain well. Set aside until needed.
To make the Yogurt Sauce
In a saucepan on low heat, whisk together the flour and yogurt until smooth. Add the salt and turmeric. Add the water and whisk to combine all the ingredients. Cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.
In a small skillet on medium high, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. After the splattering subsides, add the cumin and fenugreek seeds. After 30 seconds, add the asafetida, curry leaves and dried red chilies. After 30 seconds, remove from the heat and pour over the yogurt sauce.
Add the pakoras just before serving and let them warm through (about 4-5 minutes). Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately with hot rotis and fragrant Basmati rice.