Methi Pakora Kadhi: Fenugreek Fritters in Yogurt Gravy

15 Sep

Fresh fenugreek and onion fritters dunked in a yogurt-based gravy [my mouth is watering as I type this!] – that’s methi pakora kadhi. For those of you new to Indian cooking – kadhi is a sour gravy traditionally made with lightly spiced yogurt. Different regions of India have distinct styles to making kadhi. In North India, kadhi is served with fritters (pakoras) in it. In Karnataka, a similar dish majjige huli is popular – this is a lighter version with boiled vegetables in place of pakoras. In Gujarat, kadhi is sweetened with jaggery. And you wouldn’t typically add onions to kadhi in Bihar – my mom certainly wouldn’t.

This recipe is closest to the style of Punjabi kadhi.

When pressed for time [which is on most days!] I skip the pakoras and make plain kadhi. The elaborate recipe come into play on the occasional weekend when I’m in the mood to deep-fry.

Methi Pakora Kadhi: Fenugreek Fritters in Yogurt Gravy

You Need:

For the methi pakoras:
  • Fresh fenugreek leaves (methi) – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Gram flour (besan) – 3/4 cup
  • Carom seeds (ajwain) – a pinch
  • Ginger – 1/2 teaspoon, grated
  • Green chili – 1, finely chopped
  • Salt – to taste
  • Yogurt – 2 tablespoons, or enough to bind the ingredients into thick batter
  • Oil – for frying
For the kadhi:
  • Yogurt – 2 cups
  • Gram flour (besan) – 1 tablespoon*
  • Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Ginger – 1 teaspoon, grated
  • Garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • Dry red chilies – 2
  • Black peppercorns – 5, coarsely crushed
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Salt – to taste
  • Coarsely powdered fenugreek seeds (methi kuria) – a pinch
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1/2 tablespoon

*Adjust the yogurt:gram flour ratio to your liking – more gram flour would make the kadhi thicker and less sour. I prefer kadhi with the yogurt taste dominant.

Methi Pakora Kadhi - Ingredients 1

[On the left] Pakora ingredients: gram flour, carom seeds, salt, chopped fenugreek leaves, grated ginger and green chilies, chopped onions.

[On the right] Kadhi ingredients: Yogurt with a sprinkling of gram flour, turmeric, salt.

How To:

1. Pre-cooking steps

Keep the yogurt outside the fridge, let it reach room temperature before you use it for cooking. This helps to prevent curdling.

For the methi pakoras: Put into a bowl 3/4 cup besan, carom seeds, salt, chopped fenugreek leaves, grated ginger and green chilies, chopped onions. Give it a stir, add enough yogurt to mix it well to for a thick batter.

For the kadhi: Whisk yogurt with a tablespoon of besan, a pinch of turmeric powder and salt. Make sure there are no lumps. Add a cup of water and continue to whisk till it has a uniform texture. Keep aside.

Methi Pakora Kadhi - Ingredients 2

In the picture above: Methi pakora batter and yogurt-gram flour blend for kadhi.

2. Frying methi pakoras

In a thick-bottomed kadhai or skillet, heat enough oil for deep-frying. When the oil is hot, lower the heat and carefully place a blob of pakora batter into the oil. If all is well, the batter blob will immediately begin to form holes, fluff up and turn a beautiful golden-brown color at the base.

Batter blob spread into the oil? The batter is likely too thin. Add more gram flour to the batter.

Batter blob did not rise? The oil is likely not hot enough. Let it heat up further before you start frying.

Batter blob turned blackish-brown? The oil is likely too hot. Turn off the heat for a minute, turn it on again on low and try again.

If you are new to frying, test with a tiny batter blob first and continue only after the test works as expected.

Once the pakoras have turned golden-brown at the base, turn them around and let the other side brown too.

Pakora, Frying

Each side should take about a minute. Pick the pakoras out using a perforated ladle and place them on absorbent paper to draw out excess oil.

I fried the pakoras in batches of 3 and got about 12 out of the batter.

Fried Methi Pakoras

3. Cooking the kadhi

Heat half a tablespoon of oil in a kadhai (skillet). When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, coarsely ground fenugreek seeds and let the cumin seeds splutter and turn color.Kadhi in Kadhai

Next add dry red chilies, grated ginger and garlic, coarsely ground peppercorns. When the garlic begins to turn color, add chopped onions.

Fry till onions turn golden-brown.

Switch off the heat, let the fried onions cool a bit and add the yogurt-gram flour mixture to it.

Kadhi in Kadhai Heat the kadhi mixture on low flame, stirring slowly in one direction only – all this to prevent the yogurt from curdling.

[If you use yogurt made of full cream milk, you don’t need to be this careful. For all its high-calorie content, full-cream yogurt proves to be more resilient when subjected to heat: it doesn’t curdle all that easily.]

Let the kadhi reach boiling point, bubble and cook for 5 minutes.  Dunk in the fried methi pakoras. Cook for another 5 minutes. Let the kadhi pakora rest covered for 15 minutes. The pakoras will absorb some of the gravy and become soft, and the kadhi will thicken.

Serve methi pakora kadhi with boiled white rice and salad.

Methi Pakora Kadhi: Fenugreek Fritters in Yogurt Gravy

Notes:

Add a pinch of baking soda to the pakora batter for rounder, fluffier, evenly shaped pakoras.

Soak the pakoras in milk after frying for a softer texture.

Looking for more fenugreek recipes? Try this sesame fenugreek chutney, or methi chhole, a chickpea preparation with fenugreek.

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4 Responses to “Methi Pakora Kadhi: Fenugreek Fritters in Yogurt Gravy”

  1. Tadka Pasta September 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM #

    Interesting that you haven’t used much turmeric in this lovely kadhi. The light colour lets the pakodas shine thru’. I do this when I make the South Indian type kadhi with lots of different veggies.

    • S September 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM #

      Yeah a lighter colored kadhi feels more appetizing to me :-)

  2. mustardseed September 17, 2012 at 9:28 PM #

    I love all different types of kadhi. This one looks delicious with the methi pakoda. It is comfort food for me.

    • S September 17, 2012 at 11:03 PM #

      Thank you @mustardseed – and it’s good to see you back in action!

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