A Pakistani Karhi Recipe with big flavours made in less time! This Kadhi Pakora uses two time saving techniques to make sure your Karhi is ready in under an hour, but with that full slow cooked flavour!
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Kadhi Pakora Tested and Retested
Confession: I am not a Karhi person. Most Kadhi Pakora recipes taste to me like a whole lot of nothing. Harsh? Maybe a little.
I have tried every iteration of Karhi recipes. I've made the ones with ingredients that boiled for hours and then strained out, thick ones, runnier milder ones, and the ones that produced so much Karhi that I struggled to find a small army of people willing to eat it. I've even tested different quantities of yogurt, chickpea flour, and simmering time.
3 Reasons to make this Easy Kadhi Recipe
Point is it took some doing to get here, but we finally have it. This my friends is a Kadhi Pakora recipe that is
- ready in under an hour
- has well rounded flavour
- approved by some picky karhi critics
A Little Kadhi Pakora Backstory
Kadhi is originally thought to be from Rajasthan in India from where it made it's way to Gujarat, then Sindh and finally Punjab. Each area makes their Kadhi differently. Some use pakoras, some use veggies. Some make it with buttermilk, some with yoghurt. Some make a sweeter version and others a tangier one.
Which kind of Kadhi Pakora is this?
This Kadhi Pakora like a lot of Pakistani food is influenced by the North Indian Kadhi of UP (Uttar Pradesh) and that of Punjab which is a little thicker. It is made with a flavorful base, traditionally slow cooked (but not mine), with pakoras and a delicous baghaar or tarka.
The list of ingredients can seem long, but remember these are mostly combine and mix so don't let the spices intimidate you!
- Chickpea flour or Besan (can use chana daal besan as well)
- Yogurt - I use whole here, low fat versions tend to be saltier so for those hold back the salt a little to start.
- Curry Leaves
- Green Chilies
- Spices: Fenugreek Seeds, Salt, Chilli Powder, Turmeric, Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder, and Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
Now these are base ingredients - feel free to edit them to preference
- Besan - Chickpea/ Chana Daal Flour
- Spices: Salt, Chilli Powder, Cumin Seeds, Carom Seeds (Ajwain), Coriander Powder
- a small diced onion
- 2-3 minced green chilies
Now some people add sliced oniones to their Kadhi baghaar/tempering- you are absolutely welcome to. However, the thing is fried onions are lovely on top when you first eat the Karhi, but by the next day they mix into your Kadhi Pakora to give it a salan vibe. I think it's better to fry your onions and serve them on the side.
- Oil for frying
- Dried whole red chilies
- Curry leaves
- Cumin Seeds
Making the Pakistani Karhi Base
Okay so I am going to ask you to do something a little strange: heat the pot youll be using for kadhi and dry roast your besan.
This one step will save you a ton of time. I tested and retested without doing this and I am confident that this is a game changer.
Dry roasting your besan on medium high heat will take the rawness out of the besan. The colour won't change much, but the besan will smell positively toasty. Make sure you pull it off as soon as you see a colour change ie any browning.
Puree the besan and yogurt together - I use an immersion blender, but you can use a regular blender too. Add oil to the same pot you roasted your besan in and when it's hot then add your curry leaves, ajwain, and fenugreek seeds and let it cook for 30 seconds.
Then add your crushed garlic followed by the dry masalas. Sauteing the masalas at this step is another fantastic time saver. A quick saute later you add your besan mix and whisk well (it will thicken). Add water and green chilies and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring intermittently.
In a pinch you can cook it for 30, but I did find there was a flavor improvement between the 30 and 45 minute batch.
TIP: To keep your karhi from boiling over leave a spoon horizontally across the top when you bring it to a simmer. This is a tip that works in my Doodh Patti recipe and here as well.
Making Pakodas for Kadhi Pakoda
While the karhi is simmering away combine your pakora ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Drop small spoonfuls of the pakora mix into hot oil and fry for a few minutes on each side. You want to make small pakoras because they will expand when added to the karhi.
Putting it Together
Once the karhi is ready add the pakoras, bring it to a simmer and turn the stove off. Taste and adjust seasoning - if your yogurt doesn't have a sourness to it you may need to add a squeeze of lemon here. Prepare your baghaar/tarka/tempering mix and pour over that delicious karhi. Dig in with some steaming hot rice!
Genius tip from a friend: If you have a Pakora mix prepped and in your pantry you can use that to make the pakoras for your Karhi! Thanks Z!
What do I serve with Karhi Pakora?
Kadhi can be a stand alone, serve with plain rice dish, but if you want ideas for a more full menu they are right here!
Thank you for being here! If you've made this recipe then please do leave a comment and rating below! I also love to see your recreations on Instagram where you can tag me @flourandspiceblog 🙂
Kadhi Pakora or Karhi Recipe - Pakistani
Karhi/ Kadhi Ingredients
- ½ cup besan (chickpea or chana daal flour)
- 1 ½ cup yogurt (I use full fat, but 2% works)
- 3 tbsp neutral oil
- one sprig curry leaves
- ½ tsp methi dana or fenugreek seeds
- ¼ tsp ajwain seeds or carom seeds
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1 level tsp garlic paste)
- ¾ tsp red chilli powder or cayenne
- ¾ tsp cumin powder or zeera powder
- ¾ tsp coriander powder or dhania powder
- ¾ tsp turmeric powder
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 3 green chilies (whole)
- 5 cups water (add more according to taste, see notes)
- oil for deep frying
- 1.5 cup besan or chickpea/chana daal flour
- ¾-1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ⅓ tsp carom seeds or ajwain
- 1 diced onion (optional)
- 2 diced green chilies
- ¾ tsp baking powder
Baghaar/ Tadka/ Tarka
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4-5 whole red chillies
- Heat your pot then add the besan to it and dry roast on medium heat until it smells aromatic. If the colour starts to change then pull it off the heat immediately.
- Puree the besan and yogurt together - you can use a blender. I use an immersion blender because then I can measure the yogurt in, add the besan and blitz.
- Now add a little oil in the same pot and your curry leaves, methi dana (fenugreek seeds), and ajwain (carom) seeds and saute until fragrant.
- Immediately add your garlic and dry spices, keep a little water handy in case you need to add a splash to prevent the spices from burning. When it comes together you're good to go.
- Add your besan and mix well, it will start to clump up, but don't worry and just whisk the water in.
- Now add the green chilies and bring it to a boil then down to a simmer for 45 minutes., stirring intermittently and scraping the bottom.TIP: keep a heat proof kitchen utensil across the top of the pot to contain boiling over.
- Once the time is up you can pull out the chilies and curry leaves or leave them there. Taste and adjust seasoning. Also the Karhi will thicken as it cools so you want it runnier here.
- Start on these while the karhi is simmering.
- Combine the pakora ingredients and start drizzling in the ¾ cup water mixing well. Stop at around the half cup mark and see if you have a thick cake batter consistency. If not drizzle the remaining in and keep mixing. If you add it all at once it's harder to mix.
- Heat oil for deep frying (you can pan fry as well, but then they don't puff up as much)
- Fry a test pakora and taste. Adjust according to preferences.
- Drop the mixture by small teaspoonfuls into the hot oil making sure not to overcrowd. The pakoras will expand as they fry but they will also expand when added to the karhi. Fry for 3 minutes on each side or until deeply golden.
- When the karhi is ready add your pakoras, bring it to a boil and turn off. They will simmer in the residual heat.
- Heat your oil in a frying pan and add the baghaar ingredients, when they are sizzly and aromatic then pour the baghaar over your karhi.
- The flavour of yoghurt changes the flavour of the karhi. If your yogurt isn't naturally a little "khatta" or sour then you can add a little lemon juice.
- Kadhi thickens as it sits so if you eat it the next day then you will need to thin it out with some water.
- Fried onions are lovely with kadhi and you can fry some in ghee and serve them on the side, but add them to the baghaar and while they'll be lovely right away they will alter the taste/colour of the karhi by the next day.