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Authentic Kadhi Pakora on a speckled plate with tadka made of cumin seeds, red chili, and cilantro on top

Kadhi Pakora (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

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This is a classic Punjabi-style Kadhi Pakora recipe with Instant Pot and Stovetop instructions. This recipe uses accessible ingredients and has a shortened cook time but remains true to the flavors of traditional Pakistani and North Indian Kadhi. The recipe as-is makes a large batch (8-10 servings), or enough for a crowd. Adjust servings to 4 to halve the recipe.
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Diet Gluten Free, Halal, Vegetarian
Keyword Instant Pot Kadhi
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Servings 8 servings
Calories 565

Equipment

  • Instant Pot
  • Small Saucepan for Tarka

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 ¼ cups chickpea flour (gram flour/besan)
  • 6-7 cups water depending on how thick or thin you prefer it
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3 1/4 tsp sea salt or table salt will need more if using kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado
  • 1 small to medium onion finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 heaped tbsp crushed ginger

Pakora

  • 1 small yellow onion quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 small russet potato peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Serrano or Thai chili peppers slit, seeds removed (if desired for less heat) and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp lemon juice plus more to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup gram flour (besan)
  • up to 2/3 cup water or as needed
  • oil, as needed for frying

After Cooking

  • 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice* (see Note 1)
  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 7-8 whole red chili peppers any kind (I've used button chili peppers)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the yogurt and chickpea flour and whisk until no large lumps remain. Add water and whisk again. Set aside.
  • Combine the spices and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Stovetop Method

  • Heat a non-stick dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and chopped onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns golden, about 8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 2 tbsp of water.
  • Once the water dries up, add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes, until the raw smell disappears. Add the spices and sauté for 15-20 seconds, then add the yogurt mixture. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring infrequently.
  • Once the mixture starts to reach a boil (this will take around 12 minutes), lower the heat to medium-low so that the mixture simmers. Keep the lid uncovered, and allow it to simmer for 1 hours and 35 minutes to 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Then lower the heat to the lowest setting for 5-10 minutes to allow it to settle.

Instant Pot Method

  • Select the Sauté - More setting on the Instant Pot. Once hot, add the oil and chopped onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns golden, about 8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 2 tbsp of water.
  • Once the water dries up, add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes, until the raw smell disappears. Add the spices and sauté for 15-20 seconds, then add the yogurt mixture. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring infrequently.
  • Once the mixture reaches a boil (this will take 8-10 minutes), press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting and set it to low pressure. Set the cooking time for 30 minutes.

To Prepare Pakoras

  • Meanwhile, prepare the pakora mixture. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients listed under pakora (except water and oil) in the order they're listed. Add water, bit by bit, until the mixture is coated but not runny. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes to give the ingredients time to release their own juices.
  • Meanwhile, heat a small, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by 2-3 inches. Once the oil is hot, adjust heat level as needed to maintain medium heat (around 320°F/160°C).
  • Add the pakora mixture a heaped tablespoon at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pan (I do 4-5 at a time). (See Note 2) Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to place on a plate topped with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat until all pakoras are cooked, adding oil as needed.

After Cooking

  • Allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, manually release pressure by moving the Pressure Release to Venting.
  • Stir, and taste and adjust salt. I usually sprinkle in more salt. (If you feel that it's missing something, it probably needs salt.) Stir in vinegar or lemon juice. Add cooked pakoras to the mix and stir gently. Remove from the Instant Pot and place in a serving bowl.

Tarka (Tempering) - Optional, but recommend

  • Heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ghee or oil, cumin seeds, and red whole chili. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, until the cumin seeds have lightly toasted and the red chili peppers begin to darken. Remove from heat and then gently pour the oil over the kadhi. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with white basmati rice, roti, naan, or other bread.

Notes

Note 1: The addition of lemon is to create sourness in kadhi. Pakistani & Indian yogurt is typically more sour than American yogurt. If your yogurt is sour to begin with, you may not need to add any vinegar or lemon juice.
Note 2 - After frying one, taste and adjust the batter for salt and seasoning.

Nutrition

Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 1629mg | Potassium: 1181mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1031IU | Vitamin C: 87mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 5mg