Punjabi Kadhi (Onion Fritters In A Yogurt Based Gravy)

I love the Punjabi kadhi. The gravy has a creamy texture. And the deep-fried fritters that are added to the gravy makes a delicacy when served with rice. I was very concerned when I adopted a WFPB diet some years ago – wondering how I was ever going to taste this kadhi again. I need not have worried. Hari mastered the art of making the fritters with no oil at all.
My father was very traditional in his food habits, preferring South Indian to any other cuisine. The one exception that he made, whenever he visited me, was this kadhi. The fritters are made with onion. But since my father did not consume onion, Hari was foxed (not for long) on how to make the fritters – till he came up with a variation. He used grated bottle gourd or carrots. The result was an outstanding success!
The recipe presented here is the traditional version. Many states in the country have their variations, each equally tasty. I hope to present these too at some stage.

For The Pakora (Fritters)
1/4 cup chickpea flour (Bengal gram, besan, kadalai mavu)
A pinch of baking soda
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 green chilli, chopped fine
1/4″ ginger, grated or ground to a paste
Salt to taste
3 tbsp water
For The Kadhi (Gravy)
3/4 cup plain, sour vegan yogurt
1 tbsp chickpea flour
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1/8 tsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania, kothamalli varai)
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dhana, venthiyam)
1 dried red chilli
A pinch of asafoetida
For The Seasoning
1/2 – 1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
Making The Pakora
Mix the chickpea flour, onion, baking soda, green chilli, ginger and salt in a bowl
Add water and make a thick (not runny) batter
Drop spoonfuls of this batter in a steamer
Steam for 10-12 minutes
Transfer to an air fryer
“Fry” till the pakoras are golden brown (turn them over once so that all sides are equally browned)
Set aside
Making The Kadhi
Mix chickpea flour, salt, yogurt and turmeric powder in a bowl
Add a little water at a time and make a batter (not thick)
Ensure there are no lumps (use a whisk if necessary)
Set aside
Heat a wok and add cumin seeds
When they start to splutter, add coriander and fenugreek seeds, asafoetida
Roast for a few seconds
Add red chilli
Add this to the yogurt-chickpea flour batter
Put the batter on flame and simmer
After a while, the batter will start to thicken
Add the pakora and simmer for 5-7 minutes so that the flavours are soaked up
If the consistency is too thick, add water to achieve the desired consistency
Remove from flame and garnish with red chilli powder and garam masala
Serve hot with red or brown rice

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