The first time I had Mangochi Kadi was at an event at one of the hotels in my city. I absolutely loved it. For those who do not know, Kadhi is a yogurt based curry which is made in many parts of India and varies as per the region. For me I adore the one from Punjab, thick spicy and luscious.
The one I had at the hotel was celebrating food from Delhi and since the chef is from Uttar Pradesh, a northern state of India the food was heavily influenced by food from the state. I loved the spread and this particular dish stuck with me. Firstly the yogurt based gravy is tangy with a hint of spice and the soft spongy lentil fritters soak up all the goodness of the yogurt based gravy and it is a sheer delight to have this with some Basmati rice or a variant of rice of your choice.
Making Kadhi is easy but needs some amount of patience on the cook's part. Ever since I learnt this tip from celebrity chef Harpal Singh Sokhi's videos my Kadhi has never ever split again.
And then there is the small tip on how you can get the softest spongiest pakoda (lentil fritters)
It was only when I was soaking the pulse that I realized my grandmother makes a similar dish though not yogurt based where she soaks pulse and blends it but makes koftas out of them which are not deep fried but rather grilled on a tawa on the stove top and used in a curry changing the texture of the lentil dumplings.
I did not follow a particular recipe but did take tips from here and there. In fact I have been wanting to make this Kadhi for almost a month now but got around to doing so after Ruchi from Foodfellas4U posted her recipe but then again she made a tomato based gravy and since I find the tomatoes available during the summers and monsoons in India to be a bit bland I made Kadhi the yogurt based gravy.
For this recipe you do have to plan a bit ahead. You have to soak the pulse overnight or for a good 8 hours or so.
Serves 3 to 4
Cup used holds 210ml liquid
1 cup split moong pulse
2 green chili
1/4th tsp ginger paste
500ml to 600ml water
7 to 8 whole peppercorn
2 large dried red chili
Pinch of hing / asafoetida
Salt as per taste
1 large bay leaf
1 heaped tsp cumin powder
1 heaped tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chili powder
Mustard oil for frying the lentil fritters
1 tsp ghee
Pinch of turmeric
Finely chopped cilantro or coriander leaves for garnishing
Wash the pulse till the water runs clear. Now soak the pulse overnight or for 8 hours.
Drain the pulse and blend it with 2 green chilies , a pinch of salt and 1/4th tsp ginger paste till you get a fluffy smooth mixture. Do not add any water. This pulse mixture will be thinner than the pulse mixture made with soaked Urad pulse. Take this pulse mixture in a separate bowl. Do not wash the blender.
Blend 200gm yogurt in the same blender in which you have blend the pulse. The little bit of pulse mixture which is stuck to the blender when blend with the yogurt helps in thickening the Kadhi. Normally some gram flour is mixed with yogurt when making Kadhi but here that will not be required.
Now take the yogurt in a bowl. Add 500ml to 600ml water bit by bit and whisk it well. Add salt and turmeric and whisk well.
Heat oil and make little fritters from the pulse mixture. Kep a bowl filled with water near you. You have to keep adjusting the flame from medium to high to low. Ideally when you are putting the batter in the oil it should be hot and and then lower it to medium or low. It takes a bit of time and practice to master this technique. Once a batch is browned but not burnt. To prevent burning you need to keep adjusting the heat. So once the fritters are fried put them in the bowl of water. This way a lot of oil is soaked by the water so that your fritters are less oily in the end. I learnt this tip of soaking the fritters in water from Ruchi's blog.
Once all the fitters are fried pour excess oil in another bowl and reserve it to be used once again but make sure this oil is not used after the second time. Now take 1 tsp mustard oil and 1 tsp ghee and heat it and asafoetida, cloves, whole peppercorn, dried red chili and bay leaf and fry it for a few seconds. Make sure you do not char them and then add the yogurt mixture, cumin powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and a bit of extra turmeric . Now is where you need a bit of hard work. Keep stirring the pot constantly on medium to low heat till it comes to a bowl. It takes time and it can be a bit frustrating but this is the only way to ensure your Kadhi is velvety smooth.
Once it comes to a boil gently squeeze the fritters but ensuring that you do not break them and add it to the pot where the Kadhi is simmering and simmer for 7 minutes to 10 minutes and rest for 2 minutes. Garnish with finely chopped coriander /cilantro leaves. Serve with hot rice.
- When making the fritters you have to keep adjusting the heat from high to medium. When you add the batter to the oil it should be hot else the fritters become hard and then adjust heat to medium to prevent burning.
- It is extremely important to keep stirring the pot constantly after adding the yogurt mixture to ensure the Kadhi remains velvety smooth.