Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

Punjabi Kadhi Pakora is one of the most popular North Indian dishes!

Deep fried fritters (pakora) are dunked in a yogurt based curry made with besan (gram flour) and spices!

I am sharing my absolute favorite way to make the best Punjabi Kadhi Pakora at home.

punjabi kadhi pakora served in a cast iron kadai with cilantro and broken red chilies scattered in the background

As far as I can remember, I have always been a kadhi fan.

I mean kadhi and chawal (rice) is the quintessential Delhi food. It’s hard to ignore it if your grew up around that area.

Kadhi for those who are not aware is a dish made with yogurt and besan (gram flour) typically.

It is made in different ways in different parts of the country, so there’s no one way to make it. They all use besan though, that’s one thing in common.

The punjabi version has fritters (pakora) and also has more besan, the Gujarati version is thinner, has less besan, no fritters and is also little sweet.

The sindhi kadhi uses lot of vegetables like cluster beans, okra, potatoes etc.

So, you see there’s no single way to enjoy kadhi. It depends which region of India you are from and which kind of kadhi you grew up eating.

Me and Sarvesh grew up eating Punjabi style Kadhi, so for us kadhi was supposed to have pakora and it was supposed to be flavorful and tangy.

I am sharing with you guys my favorite way to make Punjabhi Kadhi Pakora at home.

This Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

✔ tastes just like the one from your favorite dhaba.

✔ is spicy and so flavorful.

✔ has fritters made with onion and chilies.

✔ tastes even better the next day!

The base of this punjabi kadhi is made with 2 main ingredients and they are-

-yogurt (plain whole milk yogurt is what I prefer)

-besan (gram flour)

The batter made with yogurt and besan is tempered with spices and then cooked until it thickens and cooks completely. There should be no raw smell of besan once the kadhi is cooked and everything should just come together beautifully.

Kadhi also comes from the word “kaadhna” which means cooking on low heat for long time. So, longer you slow cook the kadhi, the better it tastes!

My mom always used methi seeds (fenugreek seeds) to temper her kadhi. Along with fenugreek, I also use cumin seeds.

Not a whole lot of ground spices are added to kadhi, the main flavor comes from the yogurt and besan cooked together.

punjabi kadhi pakora served with rice in a black bowl along with a spoon with another plate of sliced onion and bowl of rice kept on the side

Tips to Make Best Kadhi Pakora

I have been making kadhi for many years now and now I am sharing what I have learned along the way and the tips that will help you make absolutely lip-smacking kadhi at home!

1. Start with more water: the kadhi has to simmer for a long time in order for it to develop flavors and become thick and creamy and for that you need to start with a lot of water.

In this recipe, I added 1/2 cup besan, 1.5 cups yogurt and 6 cups (1.4 liter) water. That might seems a lot of water but you need it so that the kadhi cooks down to the consistency you are looking for.

In fact, I had to add some water later on, so I would have very well done with another 1/2 to 1 cups water.

2. Use sour yogurt if possible: usually, I prefer using old yogurt for my kadhi. The one that isn’t freshly made and is tasting little sour.

That works best with punjabi kadhi. A good kadhi in my opinion should have a little tang and the sour yogurt just does the trick!

3. Do not add salt in the beginning: I prefer adding the salt once the kadhi gets a boil. I have noticed that sometimes the kadhi splits when you add salt in the beginning. So, let the kadhi cook and add salt once it comes to a boil and has cooked slightly.

4. Use mustard oil to cook the kadhi: Okay, I know a lot of people do not use mustard oil that often. But in my house, my mom only cooked in this oil.

It adds so much flavor of it’s own. So try making kadhi with mustard oil and see the difference

5. Add lots of ginger and garlic to the kadhi: this is a personal preference but I love the flavor of ginger and garlic in my kadhi so I added around 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of garlic and ginger each to the tadka.

6. Add onions and cilantro to the pakora: when my mom used to make kadhi, she would make plain pakoras with just besan and salt.

But I highly recommend adding onion, green chili, cilantro and few spices to the pakora to make it more flavorful.

I also add some yogurt and baking soda to the batter which makes the pakora soft and airy.

7. Don’t forget the final tadka and use ghee for it: it adds to the flavor and really makes the dish pop, so do not skip it! I like using ghee for the final tadka, adds a lot of flavor and aroma.

And the kashmiri red chili powder gives it a beautiful color on top.

bowl of yellow kadhi with pakora in a iron kadai garnished with cilantro

How to Prevent Kadhi from Splitting?

If you face this problem of the kadhi splitting/separating when you cook it, here’s what you need to do-

use room temperature yogurt: take the yogurt out of the fridge and let it sit for some time at room temperature before you use it.

whisk the yogurt well before adding to the batter: I usually whisk the room temperature yogurt first and then add besan to it.

add the salt later: let the kadhi come to a boil and then let it cook on low heat for 15 minutes and then add the salt. Adding salt in the beginning might cause the kadhi to split.

stir the kadhi continuously until it comes to the first boil: once you add the batter to pan, whisk it continuously, until the kadhi comes to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, you can then lower the heat and let it cook. You don’t need to stir it all the time after that.

This is optional, but if you are really concerned about the yogurt splitting, you may add a bit or cornstarch to the batter. The cornstarch binds the yogurt and prevents it from splitting. I don’t do it though and kadhi remains just fine.

I hope these tips help you to make Punjabi Kadhi Pakora at home like a pro!

Method

Make the kadhi

1- To a large bowl, add 1/2 cup besan (55 grams) and 1.5 cups (360 grams) yogurt. Make sure the yogurt is at room temperature.

2- Whisk until besan and yogurt are well combined.

3- Add 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon coriander powder and whisk until you have a lump free mixture.

4- Add 6 cups water (around 1.4 liters of water) and mix until it’s all mixed together. Set aside.

step by step picture collage of making punjabi kadhi pakora

5- In a large and deep pan, add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil on medium-high heat. You can use any oil but mustard oil gives it a nice flavor.

6- Once the oil is hot (make sure oil is heated through else mustard oil gives a raw taste), add the methi seeds and cumin seeds. Let them splutter and then add hing.

Add the sliced onion along with chopped green chili and cook for 2 minutes.

7- Then add the chopped ginger and garlic and cook for another 1 minute or so until the ginger and garlic start changing color.

8- Add the prepared besan-yogurt mixture into the pan. Now with heat on medium-high, stir continuously until the kadhi comes to a boil.

step by step picture collage of making punjabi kadhi pakora

9- Stir continuously until the kadhi comes to a boil, then lower the heat to low-medium and let it cook for around 30 minutes. Keep stirring it in between.

10- Add salt after the kadhi has been cooking for 15 minutes or so. While the kadhi is cooking, make the pakora.

Make the pakora

11- To a large bowl, add 1 cup besan (110 grams), along with 1 cup sliced onion, 1 chopped green chili, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/8 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1/4 teaspoon ajwain and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

12- Add 2 tablespoons yogurt and mix.

step by step picture collage of making punjabi kadhi pakora

13- Start adding water, little by little to form a thick batter. It should not be very runny but not super thick either. I added around 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons water.

14- Add 2 pinch of baking soda and mix the batter for a minute using your hands. This will make the pakoras nice and soft.

Meanwhile heat oil (around 2 cups) in a kadai on medium heat to fry the pakoras.

15- Once the oil is hot, mix the batter again for a minute using your hands and then start dropping the batter into the hot oil.

I take handful of batter using my thumb and four fingers and drop is straight into hot oil, you may use a spoon.

16- Let it cook and turn golden brown from one side and then flip and cook the other side. Make sure to cook on medium-low heat so that the pakoras cook nicely from inside too.

Cook until pakoras are golden brown from both sides. Drain on a paper towel.

step by step picture collage of making punjabi kadhi pakora

17- After 30 minutes or so, kadhi would have considerably thickened and completely cooked. Add cilantro. You can little extra water here if kadhi looks too thick to you.

18- Add the pakora and transfer kadhi into a serving pan.

Make the tadka

19- Heat ghee in a small pan on medium heat. Once ghee is hot, add 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds and generous pinch of ajwain. Add 2-3 dried red chilies (you can break them for extra heat).

20- Once seeds crackle, add 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder and turn off the heat immediately.

step by step picture collage of making punjabi kadhi pakora

Pour tadka over kadhi, garnish with more cilantro and serve punjabi kadhi pakora with rice!

punjabi kadhi pakora served in a cast iron kadai with cilantro and broken red chilies scattered in the background

If you’ve tried Punjabi Kadhi Pakora Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

punjabi kadhi pakora served in a cast iron kadai with cilantro and broken red chilies scattered in the background
Manali
Tangy and flavorful Punjabi Kadhi Pakora has deep fried pakoras (fritters) dunked in a tangy yogurt based curry! Best enjoyed with steamed white rice!
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 460 kcal

Ingredients
  

For Kadhi

  • 1/2 cup besan 55 grams, also known as gram flour
  • 1.5 cups plain yogurt 360 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 6 cups water 1.4 liters water
  • 2 tablespoons oil I used and recommend mustard oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon methi seeds fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon hing also known as asafoetida
  • 1 small red onion sliced thin
  • 1 green chili chopped
  • 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1.25-1.5 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

For the pakora

  • 1 cup besan 110 grams
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion from 1 large red onion
  • 1 green chili chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ajwain
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup+ 1-2 tablespoons water as needed
  • 2 pinch baking soda
  • oil for frying

For Tadka

  • 1.5 tablespoons ghee or use oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ajwain generous pinch
  • 2-3 whole dried red chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder for the bright red color (not spicy)

Instructions
 

Make the kadhi

  • To a large bowl, add 1/2 cup besan (55 grams) and 1.5 cups (360 grams) yogurt. Make sure the yogurt is at room temperature.
    Whisk until besan and yogurt are well combined.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon coriander powder and whisk until you have a lump free mixture.
  • Add 6 cups water (around 1.4 liters of water) and mix until it's all mixed together. Set aside.
  • In a large and deep pan, add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil on medium-high heat. You can use any oil but mustard oil gives it a nice flavor.
  • Once the oil is hot (make sure oil is heated through else mustard oil gives a raw taste), add the methi seeds and cumin seeds. Let them splutter and then add hing.
  • Add the sliced onion along with chopped green chili and cook for 2 minutes.
    Then add the chopped ginger and garlic and cook for another 1 minute or so until the ginger and garlic start changing color.
  • Add the prepared besan-yogurt mixture into the pan. Now with heat on medium-high, stir continuously until the kadhi comes to a boil.
    Stir continuously until the kadhi comes to a boil, then lower the heat to low-medium and let it cook for around 30 minutes. Keep stirring it in between.
  • Add salt after the kadhi has been cooking for 15 minutes or so. While the kadhi is cooking, make the pakora.

Make the pakora

  • To a large bowl, add 1 cup besan (110 grams), along with 1 cup sliced onion, 1 chopped green chili, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/8 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1/4 teaspoon ajwain and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
    Add 2 tablespoons yogurt and mix.
  • t should not be very runny but not super thick either. I added around 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons water.
  • Add 2 pinch of baking soda and mix the batter for a minute using your hands. This will make the pakoras nice and soft. 
    Meanwhile heat oil (around 2 cups) in a kadai on medium heat to fry the pakoras.
  • Once the oil is hot, mix the batter again for a minute using your hands and then start dropping the batter into the hot oil.
    I take handful of batter using my thumb and four fingers and drop is straight into hot oil, you may use a spoon.
  • Let it cook and turn golden brown from one side and then flip and cook the other side. Make sure to cook on medium-low heat so that the pakoras cook nicely from inside too.
    Cook until pakoras are golden brown from both sides. Drain on a paper towel.
  • After 30 minutes or so, kadhi would have considerably thickened and completely cooked. Add cilantro. You can little extra water here if kadhi looks too thick to you. 
    Add the pakora and transfer kadhi into a serving pan.

Make the tadka

  • Heat ghee in a small pan on medium heat. Once ghee is hot, add 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds and generous pinch of ajwain. Add 2-3 dried red chilies (you can break them for extra heat).
    Once seeds crackle, add 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder and turn off the heat immediately.
  • Pour tadka over kadhi, garnish with more cilantro and serve punjabi kadhi pakora with rice!

Notes

  1. The kadhi thickens as it cools down. So while re-heating you may need to add little water.
  2. Add the pakoras to the kadhi 10 to 15 minutes before serving it.
  3. Please read all my tips in the post if you are making punjabi kadhi for the first time, it will help!

Nutrition

Calories: 460kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 15gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 1340mgPotassium: 666mgFiber: 7gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 471IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 179mgIron: 3mg
Keyword kadhi pakora, punjabi kadhi, punjabi kadhi pakora
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

22 thoughts on “Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

  1. 5 stars
    Have tried out 4 recipes during the ongoing times in India. Trust me each dish has comeout top notch in terms of taste and flavours.

    For an amateur cook like me, your step by step guidance is a blessing. Thanks a lot.

    P.S – Courtesy of your recipe, a marwari husband was able to make Punjabi kadhi pakora for his punjabi wife. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday and came out delicious! Thanks for the tips to start the gravy with 6 cups of water and reduce it gradually by stirring it. It was worth the 30 minutes. The taste it imparted was lip-smacking. Thanks Manali!

  3. 5 stars
    Your recipes are so easy to follow and the best ones out there.
    Thank you so much for all the effort you’ve put in, its certainly helping a lot of people with no cooking experience make delicious dishes!
    Your book is my favourite too, I always try to garnish my dishes to match the ones in the photos, which I must say are as beautiful as the dishes 🙂
    You are a star! ☆☆☆

  4. I was just wondering if I could replace the yoghurt with coconutmilk. I know, I can’t believe I am suggesting this blasphemy, but my husband and I are both lactose-intolerant. (and soy yoghurt is not tasty)

    1. hmm you can but then it will be a spiced coconut milk stew and not kadhi. Besan and yogurt are the two key ingredients for kadhi. The yogurt gives the kadhi it’s sour and tangy taste. Why not try with almond milk yogurt? or search the web for a vegan kadhi recipe, that might help.

  5. 5 stars
    The kadi turned out perfect. The 6 cup water tip and adding the salt at what stage tip were superb . Thank you ❤

  6. I love good kadhi and somehow it’s very difficult to get the same tangy taste every time – too tangy sometimes, not so tangy on other times. Any tips?
    Will try this recipe out and hopefully, I never have to look for another sol kadhi recipe!

    1. Tanginess depends on the yogurt. Taste your yogurt before you make it. If it’s too tangy obviously your kadhi will be very tangy as well. Good tempering also make a difference, so give this recipe a try and see!

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