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Punjabi Kadhi Pakora - “Good with the Bad”!

Khadi is a vegetarian Indian dish that is another one of my favorites! I know I know I say that a lot and its probably because I’m 80% vegetarian and I love Indian food (obviously!!). You give me a vegetarian meal and I'm in heaven! I grew up in a household that was 60/40 where only the men ate meat (yes we out numbered them!). My mom, the incredible woman that she was, would cook the meat dishes and they were always delicious but I could never figure out how she did it when she herself had never tasted meat.

Now back to my hunger cravings!! Khadi is an Indian dish that is a thick gravy made from besan (gram/chickpea flour) and dahi (yogurt) and contains vegetable fritters called pakoras. It is often eaten with rice (chawal) or roti (flat bread).

Would I say khadi is healthy…very till you add the pakoras (fritters) which are deep fried! I call it my “good with the bad” food that is delicious! Kadhi without the pakoras is very healthy…it’s rich in magnesium and helps improve nutrient absorption. Have it as a soup (I do at times) or with rice and/or roti. It is a combination of sour, spice and creaminess - all in one dish!

Recipe seem like a lot of work but it's not (if I can do it anyone can). Once you organize the ingredients it’s a piece of cake!



Recipe based on 4 servings

  • ½ cup of besan (gram/chickpea flour).

  • 1.5 cup of dahi (yogurt at room temperature)

  • 6 cups of water (may require more)

  • 2 tbsp mustard oil (can use any oil)

  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced

  • 2 green chili finely chopped (optional)

  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

  • ½ chili flakes

  • ½ tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • ½ tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)

  • ½ cumin seeds

  • ¼ tsp hing (asafoetida)

  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic

  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger

  • 1 to 2 tsp salt (less is better as you can always adjust accordingly)

  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Pakoras (fritters)

Pakoras come in many forms but the ingredients remain the same. They also make great appetizers with chutney (best served hot - yummy). I’ve chosen onion pakoras but please feel free to substitute onions with potatoes and/or vegetables (all finely chopped).

  • 1 cup besan (gram/chickpea flour)

  • 2 tbsp dahi (yogurt)

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 1 medium to large onion thinly sliced (cut onion in quarters then thinly slice).

  • 1 green/red chili finely chopped (optional)

  • ½ cup cilantro finely chopped

  • ½ tsp chopped garlic

  • ½ tsp chopped ginger

  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder

  • ¼ tsp coriander/cumin powder

  • ¼ tsp garam masala

  • ½ tsp coriander seeds

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional but pakoras need to have a bit of a kick…so substitute with black pepper if you can)

  • ½ tsp ajwain (bishop’s weed…no not the weed you’re thinking or hoping but…)😊 substitute with oregano/thyme if you cant find ajwain.

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Oil for frying - i have the best deep convenient for my small place..


  • Tadka is a garnish used in indian cuisine. Spices are roasted and then mixed in the dish.

  • 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter) or oil.

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

  • ½ tsp ajwain

  • 2-3 dried red chilies (whole or halved)

  • ½ tsp spoked paprika

Cooking instructions


1. In a large bowl – add besan and yogurt – whisk to remove any lumps.

2. Add chili, coriander, cumin seeds and turmeric powder.

3. Add water slowly as you whisk

4. Set aside

5. In a large deep pan on medium high heat (pan should be hot before you add oil) add 2 tbsp of the oil.

6. Once the oil is hot, add methi, cumin seeds – mix well but do not burn!

7. Add onions, chopped ginger/ garlic, hing and chopped chili – sautefor about 3-4 minutes.

8. Add all the other spices.

9. Mix well and saute for 1 min

10. Add the besan-dahi mixture

11. Mix well by stirring continuously till the kadhi boils then lower the heat to low-medium for about 45 minutes. Occasionally stirring and adding water if needed. Check the consistency…add water if too thick.

12. Add cilantro

13. Add the pakora’s in the last 15 minutes of cooking then the tadka!


In a large bowl

1. Heat the oil (use deep fryer if you have it)

2. Mix besan, and all the spices – mix well

3. Add onions (or the ingredient of choice) – mix well using your hands

4. Add yogurt - mix - the mixture shouldn’t be runny but also not super thick.

5. Add water if needed for consistency for the batter.

6. Once the oil is hot, mix the batter with your hands again and then start dropping the batter into the oil (I use my thumb and three fingers to drop batter in oil but you may want to use a spoon). BeCareful..oil will be very hot!

7. Let it cook till its golden brown and then flip to let other side fry. We want the pakoras to thoroughly cooked inside too.

8. Drain on a paper towel.


1. In a small pot – once the pot is hot – add ghee (or oil)

2. Add cumin seeds and ajwain. Mix

3. Add the dry chillies .

4. Add the paprika once the seeds crackle (don’t add before as it may burn).

5. Remove from head and immediately pour over kadhi and garnish with more cilantro – mix well

6. Serve with rice or roti


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