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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.
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 4 servings
Calories 329

Equipment

Ingredients

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

Pakora

  • 1/2 small yellow onion quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small russet potato peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 1 Serrano or Thai chili pepper slit, seeds removed (if desired for less heat) and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder sub Kashmiri chili powder for less heat
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp gram flour (besan)
  • up to 1/3 cup water
  • oil, as needed for frying the pakoras

After Cooking

  • 1/2 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 oil in a non-stick dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until it 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 pour in the yogurt mixture. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring often.
  • Once the mixture starts to reach a boil (this will take around 6 minutes), lower the heat to medium-low so that it simmers. Partially cover with the lid, and allow it to simmer for 1 hours and 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scrape the sides of the pot as needed. If the mixture thickens too much, stir in 1/4-1/2 cup (preferably boiling) water.
  • Once the oil rises to the top and the mixture no longer has any raw taste, lower the heat to the lowest setting for about 5 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 6 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 pour in the yogurt mixture. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring often.
  • Once the mixture reaches a boil (this will take around 6 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.
  • Allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes. Manually release pressure by moving the Pressure Release to Venting. Stir to mix. If you'd like it thicker, select Saute - Normal and reduce down to desired consistency.

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.
  • Heat a small frying pan or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add oil so that it’s at least 3/4”/1.9 cm deep. Once the oil is hot, adjust heat level as needed to maintain medium-high heat (around 320°F/160°C).
  • Gently lower in the pakora mixture a 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 remove and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat until all pakoras are cooked, adding oil if needed.

After Cooking

  • Stir, and taste and adjust salt. (If you feel that it's missing something, it probably needs salt.) Turn off the heat and 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 ghee or oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and whole red 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 basmati rice, naan, roti 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 (example: European yogurt), you may not need to add any vinegar or lemon juice.
Note 2 - Taste test tip: After frying one, taste and adjust the batter for salt and seasoning.

Nutrition

Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 393mg | Potassium: 595mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 980IU | Vitamin C: 118mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 2mg