Kadhi Chawal, a yogurt-based curry we all love and enjoy. My love affair with Kadhi Chawal started when I was six months old (my parents are fond of telling this story). I have been a picky eater since I started eating solids. My parents tried to feed me with countless things. My parents tell me that I used to spit out almost everything. One day things were about to change. My mum had made Kadhi Chawal. While the family was eating the Kadhi Chawal, they put a little amount in my tiny mouth. To their absolute amazement, instead of spitting it, I ingested it. And I stuck out my teeny-tiny tongue for more. That moment was a defining moment for my parents as they discovered my fondness for this humble dish. The love affair continues to this day. It is one of my all-time favorite meals.
In India, there’s Sindhi Kadhi, Rajasthani kadhi, Gujarati Kadhi (Which is sweet), Maharashtrian Kadhi. Garhwali Kadhi etc. I think it should be declared as India’s national dish as every state in India has its variation of the popular dish. But of course, my mum makes the best one. Her recipes are simple, but she uses her special ingredient- love. Even the pakodis (Black gram flour balls) she makes are basic besan (Black gram flour) ones. I follow her recipe when I create this delectable dish.
A lot of people tend to overdo it with onions, corn, spinach, amaranth leaves, and tomatoes. Kadhi ends up losing its distinct aromatic flavor. I prefer mine slightly tangy, its original taste intact.
In many north Indian households, it is considered an auspicious food. It is rich in iron and protein, which makes it an excellent remedy for people suffering from Anemia. Kadhi helps in maintaining gut flora and improves the absorption of nutrients, which further aids in digestion. The magnesium in the dish relaxes muscles and regulated blood pressure. Additionally, it is perfect for diabetic patients because it has a low glycemic index.
One of the ingredients in Kadhi is Black gram flour. Black gram flour has anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts the formation of collagen, which helps in reducing dark spots and gives the skin a radiant glow.
Making the Kadhi –
To prepare it, I whisk together one and a half tablespoon black Gram flour, 2 cups yogurt (should be on the sour side), and four cups water to make a smooth paste. I add 1/2 tsp of grounded fenugreek seeds, one chopped green chili, 1 tsp crushed ginger, 3-4 cloves, 1 tbsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt to the paste. I use a heavy-base kadhai (pan) and heat 1 tsp of desi ghee. When the desi ghee heats up, I add a pinch of asafoetida to the ghee. Later, I pour the gram flour paste in the heavy-base kadhai and cook it on low-medium heat. I make it a point to stir the mixture intermittently while it is boiling. After it reaches the boiling point, I reduce the heat to low and cook it until it attains a slightly thick consistency.
Separately, I mix half a cup of gram flour with 3 tbsp water and add salt and red chili and mix it into a thick batter. I scoop out approximately 1/2 tablespoon batter to create balls and deep fry it in oil until golden brown. I can make around 9-10 pakoras from this batter. I add these to the mixture that is simmering at low flame. Although it tastes heavenly with or without Pakoras, pakoras do elevate the taste of the dish.
After it is ready, the Kadhi can be eaten as a soup or with rice or chapatis. I prefer eating it with steamed basmati rice. Eating rice other than basmati rice with it is perpetually a crime in my eyes. The long grain aromatic rice amplifies the taste. Although a lot of my friends and family enjoy it with a day old paranthas, I prefer mine with steamed rice and a generous serving of Desi ghee (clarified butter on the top).