KADHI WITH BOONDI AND BUTTERMILK
Taking a spin on the traditional Kadhi Pakora recipe today. Kadhi is a very popular Pakistani and Indian dish and I’m sharing a slightly easier version. The curry is spiced, savory, tangy sauce made with buttermilk and gram flour. Instead of traditional pakoras I used premade snack boondi which are made from fried gram flour. I have made this recipe a few times already and it has come out so delicious.
WHY IS THIS VERSION AMAZING?
I am just so excited to share this recipe with you all. I had a few things in mind when I came up with this recipe.
- I didn’t have yogurt on hand, but had a lot of buttermilk that needed to be used up. Buttermilk is fermented milk that is thicker, lumpy and has an acidic tangy flavor and smell.
- I also did not want to fry up Pakoras because that is an extra step when making Kadhi. That extra step kind of keeps me from making one of my favorite dishes often. So using Boondi which is made from gram flour was the perfect idea. The flavor is very similar to Pakoras and you can find plain or masala seasoned boondi.
- Lastly I wanted this to be a smaller batch, because usually Kadhi is made in a big batch and you have a lot of leftovers.
The recipe is pretty straightforward but like always I am going to cover some details that will help you when making this dish. To make your cooking experience go smoothly, have everything ready before you start cooking.
- You will start off by making the masala base with the aromatics. Adding tomatoes and powder spices that will cook down to a nice thick masala.
- Then you will add the gram flour and buttermilk mixture. This gravy will cook for about an hour on low to medium flame. It should have a thicker consistency that coats the back of the spoon.
- Then you will add boondi. Keeping in mind the boondi will absorb liquid, so the gravy will continue to thicken as it sits.
- Lastly you will add a tempering tarka made with oil, cumin seeds, curry leaves and some dry fenugreek leaves. Once it’s done garnish with some fresh cilantro.
- OIL– I used a neutral oil that has no flavor. You don’t want too much oil because the tempering tarka will also be with oil.
- FENUGREEK SEEDS- This is a must for the distinct flavor and aroma for kadhi, called methi seeds. I rinse the seeds in a small sieve then add to the hot oil to bring out the flavor.
- ONION/GARLIC- The choice of aromatics in South Asian cuisine.
- GREEN CHILI- I just added one. If you like more spicy add more.
- TOMATO- I used 1 small tomato because I don’t want the gravy to get very thick.
- POWDERED SPICES- Red chili powder, turmeric, cumin powder and salt.
- GRAM FLOUR/BESAN- If you can sift the gram flour to get rid of lumps and make sure it’s not expired.
- BUTTERMILK- This will give us the same flavor as using yogurt in my experience. I used full fat. If the buttermilk has passed a few days expiration date it is still ok to use. Use room temperature buttermilk. Keep in mind that buttermilk has more sodium than regular yogurt. So I would start by adding 1 teaspoon of salt and adjust accordingly.
- BOONDI- You can find plain or masala spiced boondi. I have used masala boondi. It gives the kadhi extra flavor. Keep in mind Boondi like Pakoras soak up liquid. This will alter the consistency of the kadhi. You can soak the boondi in water for a bit, once it has doubled in size, squeeze the water from the boondi then add to the kadhi.
There are different variations of ingredients to use for this technique. For this recipe I used:
- CUMIN SEEDS
- CURRY LEAVES- Use fresh or dry
- DRY FENUGREEK LEAVES
COMMON MISTAKES WHEN MAKING KADHI
- Adding too much gram flour. As you cook this thickens the kadhi early on which may seem like it’s done.
- Not adding enough water. Adding enough water with the long cooking time will ensure it’s cooked properly.
- Kadhi splitting. The change in temperature is one of the main reasons why kadhi splits. Make sure you are using room temperature buttermilk. Add warm water to the gram flour and buttermilk mixture. Turn the heat down when adding this mixture to the masala.
- Not cooking it long enough. Kadhi is one of those dishes that has a long cooking time. If it’s not cooked long enough there will be a raw taste to the Kadhi.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH KADHI
Keep in mind this dish tastes even better as leftovers. It will start to thicken as it sits and especially after refrigeration. I actually love Kadhi served with roti, naan or rice.
KADHI WITH BOONDI AND BUTTERMILK
- 1/4 cup gram flour (sifted to get rid of any lumps)
- 2 cups full fat buttermilk (room temperature )
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1/3 cup neutral cooking oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 green chili, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt (taste and adjust later)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/2-1 cup boondi (start from adding 1/2 cup)
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- 4 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- few fresh or dry curry leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves sukhi methi
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together gram flour and buttermilk. Batter should be smooth without any lumps. Add 1 cup of lukewarm water, mix and set aside.
- Rinse the fenugreek seeds using a sieve and set aside. In a medium size pot heat the oil on medium. Once oil is hot carefully add the fenugreek seeds. Cover with lid until crackling stops. Add onion and green chili and cook for about 6 minutes till light golden brown. Add garlic and just cook out the rawness, about 20 seconds.
- Add tomato and powder spices, saute until tomato has cooked down and this masala is thick. You may have to add few tablespoons of water if this mixture is sticking to pot. Turn heat low and slowly add the gram flour and buttermilk mixture, continuously mixing so mixture does not split. Add 2 cups lukewarm water, once it's all mixed turn the flame back up and let it come to a boil. Now turn flame to a medium simmer. Cook this mixture for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often. Keep close eye because this mixture does overflow. End of cooking time the gravy should be bubbly and thick enough to coat back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the salt.
- Add in the boondi. Start by adding just a 1/2 cup. The boondi will absorb excess water and Kadhi will become thicker. Add more as needed upto 1 cup.
- In a small saucepan or frying pan heat oil. Once hot add cumin seeds and let these crackle and brown. Add the curry leaves, these will also crackle if fresh. Add dry fenugreek leaves. Turn heat off and right away slowly pour over the Kadhi. Top with some fresh cilantro.