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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sindhi Kadhi - A Delicious Stew

This is a recipe that my aunt gave me recently and asked me to try it out. It is called Sindhi Kadhi. It is a delicious stew or curry prepared with chickpea flour (besan) and vegetables. However, it does not conform to my traditional view of what “kadhi” should be. All the different versions of kadhi that I have made or eaten so far have always had yogurt and besan/chickpea flour as the main ingredients. The main difference in all these versions was the seasoning that I used, however the main ingredients always stayed the same i.e. yogurt and besan. I had never made or tasted Sindhi Kadhi prior to this attempt, and I am glad I finally did. It has definitely changed my perception of what kadhi can be. This particular version of the kadhi does make use of the besan flour, however it differs in the fact that, instead of using yogurt, tamarind water is used to give it a sour taste. Also, this recipe has a lot of vegetables. And while I made it with the vegetables that my aunt listed, I am sure you can change the combination of the vegetables based on what is available. The end result is a hearty, healthy and delicious stew. We enjoyed the preparation and I will definitely be making it again.

1 tbsp oil
1/8 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup okra/bhindi/ladies fingers ( diced)
3 tsps besan/chickpea flour
1 cup potatoes (1 large or 2 small potatoes), diced into big pieces
1 cup banana squash/red pumpkin/laal kaddu/ laal bhopla,
1 cup cluster beans /gavar /gowar, diced
1 drumstick, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
chilli powder to taste
5-6 curry leaves
1 tsp tamarind paste or 1 inch ball of tamarind
salt to taste

If using tamarind paste, dissolve it in about 2 cups of water and keep aside. If using regular tamarind,  soak it in warm water and then remove the pulp and dissolve it in 2 cups of water and keep aside.

Heat the oil. To this add the cumin seeds. Once they being to crackle, add the hing/asafoetida, and the okra pieces. Stir fry the okra till well cooked and a little browned. Then add the besan flour and cook the besan flour till you get the fragrant roasted smell for the besan. Then add the cluster beans, drumstick pieces, potato and pumpkin. Stir it and add the turmeric powder and chilli powder and cook it all for a minute.  Then add the tamarind water, stirring continuously while adding the water, so that no lumps formed. Add the curry leaves. Add more water if needed. All the vegetables should be covered with the water. Then cook till the curry till it starts to boil and thicken. Add the salt. Taste and add a little more of tamarind paste if you want a more sour taste. Check to see if the vegetables are cooked. The curry shouldn’t be too watery or too thick. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot with white rice.

Steam cook or pressure cook (1 whistle) the guvar/cluster beans and the drumsticks so that they are semi cooked and softened.  This will reduce the overall cooking time. Do not precook the potato and pumpkin, since they do not need a long cooking time and will get cooked through as the curry boils. If precooked, they will turn to mush. Fry the besan and the okra well. The okra needs to be crispy and the besan needs to be a brown color which will impart a brown color to the curry.
If you decide to change the vegetables, use hearty vegetables which will not become mushy when the kadhi is being boiled. You can also add in some tomatoes in this recipe. They should be added along with the potato and other vegetables. 


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