What Is Kadhi Pakora?
To simply put, it’s pakoras cooked in spicy yoghurt and gram flour-based sauce.
The pakora itself is just potato and onion fritters in spicy chickpea flour batter then deep-fried until golden and crispy.
Both the pakoras and the yoghurt sauce are pretty simple and easy to make. But it may take a bit of time and effort because you have to prepare two main things before you cook them together to make kadhi pakora.
This creamy and luscious savoury dish is popular among Indian and Pakistani foods.
Just like most traditional foods, there are numerous ways of cooking the dish. And the recipe I’m sharing with you here is based on the Pakistani way that my extended family passed the knowledge on to me.
The first time I tried the dish, I was confused. Because I was told that we were having a curry. So I was expecting meat or vegetables cooked in spices and tomatoes gravy type of food. Just like curry. Instead, I was having a bowl of pale looking creamy sauce with soft-ish dumplings sticking out of the gravy.
And when I tasted it, I thought it was delicious. It’s like having squishy dumplings with lots of comforting gravy. My sister in law said this is what they actually call “curry”, from the word “karhi”.
Some people call it “Pakora Karhi” or “Karhi Pakora”, others call it “Kadhi Pakora” or “Pakora Kadhi”. All refer to the same thing.
And the curries (the one with the spicy tomato-ey gravy) that I was thinking of are what they call “Salan”. At least, that’s how most Pakistanis address their food.
What Goes In Pakora Curry
Essentially, there are two key components in this curry dish. The first one is pakora – which is spicy potato and onion fritters.
And the second one is spiced yoghurt sauce.
So, potato, onion, gram flour, yoghurt and spices are the main ingredients for this Karhi Pakora.
As for the spices, you need cumin, coriander, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic, red chilli powder, dried-chilli flakes, black mustard seeds, carom seeds (Ajwain), black seeds (Nigella Sativa) and some dried-curry leaves.
A little note here. Traditionally, Kadhi Pakora doesn’t use black seeds (Kalonji). So this is optional. The reason I use it is that I love its smell and its health benefits. Feel free to omit it if you don’t have it or don’t want to use it.
How To Make Kadhi Pakora In Pakistani Style
Mix the yoghurt based sauce
Firstly, you want to prepare the base for the yoghurt sauce. Beat the yoghurt until it’s light and fluffy. Then add in the gram flour before you continue mixing until you get a smooth and thick yoghurt mixture.
After that, you add the ground spices such as ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, sugar and salt. Beat the mixture until it becomes smooth again. Then add the water as you keep stirring and mixing until it becomes a smooth batter with the consistency of double cream/ heavy cream. Set aside.
Make the pakoras
Secondly, you want to make pakoras. Peel and chop the onions. Wash and rinse the potato and chop it into smallish cubes. Put these veggies in a bowl together with the gram flour/ chickpea flour and the rest of the pakora ingredients. Stir well until all is blended and get your frying pan/ wok ready.
Heat the oil in your frying pan/wok at medium heat. Ensure you get the right temperature. The oil should be hot enough, but not too hot. Test it by frying a tiny drop of batter from your pakora mixture. It should fry steadily and not too fast. If it fries quickly, you can turn the heat down to lower the temperature.
Carefully slide a teaspoon of pakora mixture at a time and leave a gap between each spoon. Fry for about 3-4 minutes before you turn them and cook until the pakoras look golden in colour. Continue frying until all the pakoras mixture is finished. Set aside.
Cook the yoghurt and the pakoras in the sauce
Thirdly, you want to cook the pakoras and the yoghurt sauce base.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large cooking pot. And fry the whole spices such as black mustard seeds, whole cumin seeds, and black seeds/ Nigella Sativa in the oil until they are all sizzling. Then add the curry leaves and continue frying for a minute or two.
At the same time, get the yoghurt sauce base ready by giving it a good stir. Carefully pour the sauce into the sizzling spices and gently stir it. Put the lid on the pan/ pot, and cook the yoghurt at medium-low heat until it reaches boiling point.
Once the yoghurt sauce is boiling, leave it to simmer until it gets thickened, and yoghurt looks a bit shiny.
Then you add the pakoras to the yoghurt. Give it a good stir so that all the pakoras are covered with the sauce. Put the lid back and cook your Kadhi pakora at low heat. Let it simmer until all the pakoras become soft and fluffy for about 10-15 minutes before you turn the heat off.
Tips for the best Kadhi Pakora
Cut the potato to a similar size and not too thick.
Ensure the pakora batter is not too runny. You want a consistency that is thicker than double cream/ heavy cream. If it’s thinner, the pakoras may break when you cook them in yoghurt sauce.
Beat the yoghurt really well, smooth and fluffy. And make sure it’s at room temperature so it won’t break and curdle when you boil it.
Make sure you fry the whole spices until they’re crackling and smelling nice. So they will give a delicious fragrance to the yoghurt.
Ways To Enjoy
In my extended family, we eat this Karhi Pakora/ Kadhi Pakora with roti/ chapatis. But many people enjoy it with plain Basmati rice. And I tried it recently and found myself enjoying it very much.
More recipes for Pakistani snacks
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you are now interested in trying this kadhi pakora recipe. When you try this recipe, it will be great if you can share what you think about it in the comments below (leave a reply box).
Last but not least, don’t forget to check out my other recipes for Pakistani snacks that you may love.
- Pakistani Dahi Baray – lentil dumplings in spiced yoghurt sauce.
- Khaman Dhokla – steamed savoury cake with spicy and lemony drizzle.
- Keema Paratha – flatbread with minced meat stuffing.
- Halwa Puri – fried flatbread with semolina pudding.
- Vegetable Pakoras.
- Potato Pakoras.
Thank you and all the best.
- Mixing bowls.
- Wooden spoon
- Kitchen knife
- Chopping board
- Frying pan
- Slotted spoon
- Cooking pan with lid.
To make the yogurt sauce:
- 1 cup natural yoghurt.
- 3 tablespoons gram flour/ besan flour/ chickpea flour.
- 4 cups water.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander.
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
- 1 – inch ginger mince to paste.
- 4 cloves of garlic minced to paste.
- ½ -1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or according to taste.
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt.
- 1 teaspoon sugar.
- 2 tablespoons Cooking oil.
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds.
- ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds.
- ¼ teaspoon black cumin seeds/ Nigella Sativa/ Kalonji optional.
- 15 pieces curry leaves.
- 4 cups water.
To make the pakora:
- 2 small onions.
- 1 large potato.
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin.
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander.
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes.
- ¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds.
- ½ teaspoon carom seeds/ Ajwain.
- ¼ teaspoon black seeds/ Nigella Sativa/ Kalonji.
- 1 ½ cup chickpea flour/ gram flour
- ¾ cup water.
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda.
- ¾ teaspoon salt or according to taste.
- 2 big handfuls of cilantro/ coriander leaves.
- Cooking oil for frying.
Prepare the yoghurt sauce:
- Place the yogurt in a mixing bowl. Using a spatula, beat the yoghurt until it’s light and smooth.
- Add the chickpea flour/ gram flour in the yogurt and beat again. Ensure all the flour is mixed well without any lumps left in the mixture.
- Put the ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, salt and sugar in the yoghurt mixture. Again, stir and beat the mixture until all is blended and smooth.
- Carefully pour in the water to the mixture as you stir it. You can use a hand whisk if you prefer. Keep mixing until you get a thick and smooth blend. Set aside.
Prepare the pakora:
- Peel and chop the onions. Place them in a mixing bowl.
- Wash and rinse the potato. Then cut it in small cubes approximately 7-9 mm/ 0.27-0.35 inch and give them a rinse again to get rid of the potato sap/ juice. Note, I don’t peel potatoes anymore. But if you prefer, you can do so and then cut them in small cubes/ pieces. Put the chopped potato together with the onion.
- Add the gram flour, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, whole cumin seeds, carom/ ajwain seeds, black seeds/ Nigella Sativa, baking soda and salt in the onion and potato mixture. Chop the coriander if using and add it to the potato mix. Stir well and pour the water in as you keep mixing.
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or a wok at medium-high heat. Take care not to let it overheat. Test it by frying a tiny drop of the batter. It should fry slow and steady. If it fries and rises very fast, turn the heat down to let the oil cool down a bit. Once the oil is ready, carefully slide about a teaspoon of potato mixture in the oil one at a time leaving space between one another. Turn the pakoras and fry them until they look crispy and golden in colour. Pick them up with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with a kitchen towel. Set aside.
Making the kadhi pakora/ karhi pakora:
- Heat oil in a cooking pan/ pot. Fry the black mustard seeds, whole cumin seeds, chilli flakes, black seeds/ Nigella Sativa, and curry leaves until all the spices sizzling and fragrant.
- Quickly stir the yogurt mixture before adding it into the whole spices in the pan/ pot. Give it a good stir until the yoghurt mix is blended well with the oil and the spices. Put the lid on and let it cook at medium heat. Once it reaches boiling point, turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Take care and keep checking to ensure the yoghurt doesn’t get burned at the bottom of the pan.
- Then carefully place all the pakoras in the yogurt sauce. Gently stir and put the lid back on. Leave it to cook further for about 10 minutes until the pakoras look softer and fluffy. And the sauce looks shiny with oil slightly separated from the edges. Your kadhi pakora is ready.
- You can use cayenne pepper or red chilli pepper powder if you don’t have Kashmiri red chili powder.
- The sourness of the yoghurt is the key to the sauce flavour. The tangier it is, the better. If your yoghurt is quite fresh and has a very mild flavour, you can improve its flavour by leaving it overnight outside the fridge/ refrigerator in the room temperature, the night before you make your kadhi pakora.
- Beat the yoghurt really well until it’s really light and smooth.
Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.