Winters are all about enjoying hot lunches and dinners. It is so cold here in Toronto that I can dive into any given pool of spicy warm curry. But for now, I will stick to one of my all-time favorites, and that is Kadhi Chawal. Something is comforting about this particular Spicy Yogurt-based Indian Curry. Kadhi Chawal is a beloved pair that North Indians love to relish. Perfect for those days when you want to keep it light on your stomach, it is gluten-free and filling. The sour curd used in this recipe was traditionally used to make kadhi when homemade yogurts turned overly sour, which made it hard to consume in its usual way. You can also check out my yogurt-based Pineapple Curry recipe for more tang.
Even today, in many Indian kitchens, people make this dish only when yogurt turns extremely sour. Interestingly, this makes the recipe very nutritious because we get even more benefits of good bacteria from sour curd. But prolong cooking can destroy most of the good bacteria, so I highly recommend not to overcook the kadhi and make sure you get desired consistency by adding an appropriate amount of water. One can also use kefir instead of sour curd to make the recipe more probiotic-rich.
How to make kadhi chawal if you don’t have sour curd?
Well, there is a solution to that too. Just use your regular yogurt in the recipe, and in the very end, squeeze in lemon juice. You can make it as sour as you can by adding more or less of lemon juice. Just make sure to add it when you have turned off the stove.
Also, in most of the kadhis, fried fritters or pakoras enhance the taste of the dish. I am not against frying foods because I believe everything in moderation is alright, and it’s good to consume them during winters. It can help you avoid dryness of skin, and also it lubricates our joints and muscles. But some people are incredibly conscious of consuming fried foods because of health reasons, and that’s why I suggest baked fritters or pakoras in this recipe.
So go ahead and cook this dish, whether it’s winters or not. Because it’s healthy, easy to make, and, most importantly, tastes merely fantastic.
- 3 tbsp/1.5 cup Sour Curd
- 2/3 cup Gram Flour
- 1 Tomatoes
- 1 White Onion
- 1 Ginger Pod
- 1 Garlic Pod
- 2 tsp Coconut Oil
- 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- as per taste salt
- 4 cups/1 litre water
- 1 tbsp Kasoori Methi
- approx. 2 handfuls Spinach leaves
- SOUR CURD AND GRAM FLOUR MIXTURE:
- In an empty bowl, add sour curd and grams flour. Whisk thoroughly and make sure there are no lumps.
- In a mixing jar, blend tomato with onion, garlic, and ginger. You can also add a green or a red chili with this. (I didn't add any chilies because my child doesn't like spicy food.)
- In a hot wok or a pan, add coconut oil. Once the oil heats up a bit, then add cumin seeds along with black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Toast the spices till you get sputtering sound, and then pour in freshly blended onion-tomato and ginger-garlic paste. Keep stirring the contents in the hot pan.
- Then start adding spices like red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and salt. Stir again gently mixing all the spices and then add the sour curd-gram flour lump-free mixture.
- Give a quick stir and then pour water turning the gravy into a much thinner consistency. Now add kasoori methi and cover to cook for at least 25-30 minutes. You can cook it more if you prefer a thicker consistency for kadhi.
- BAKED SPINACH FRITTER (PAKORA):
- In an empty bowl, mix a tablespoon of gram flour along with a pinch of salt, half teaspoon red chili powder, and a tablespoon water.
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and then add spinach leaves. Break down the leaves with your hands itself, and make sure to coat all the leaves in the marinade.
- Now place the equal quantities of marinaded spinach leaves in a greased muffin tray or a baking dish. Bake this for about 20-25 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.
- Once the Curry cooks and spinach leaves baked, add them to a bowl of boiled rice. Enjoy this lovely comforting bowl of kadhi and chawal with baked spinach pakora.
- Don't mix all spinach pakoras or fritters to the entire batch of kadhi because it will become too soggy. Just dip them in the kadhi at the time of serving or consuming.
- If you like fried fritters, then fry the marinaded spinach leaves in a wok of hot vegetable oil or ghee. But to make it a bit healthier and to cut short the physical labor, I prefer baking fritters into an oven