Yummy Kadi Chawal Thali

By Neena Badhwar

At times one feels what to eat today. No not that. Not that even. No don’t feel like when people in the family suggest something. For a housewife this dilemma is always there. What to cook today. For the members of the family it is not a problem but the one who cooks is always in a fix what food to put on the table. The inspiration to cook always comes from within. A desire to cook something special. I have many a times talk to friends as we discuss dishes, what’s at home, what we cooked yesterday and what we have planned for the day. We even discuss what is there in the fridge. And the talk invariably turns to yoghurt. Yes, home made dahi. It is an ingredient so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. Yet it is so handy and an Indian equivalent of a probiotic. When fresh just have it as is or with honey. In summers make lassi – some like it sweet others salty and then many others would even make mango lassi in summer season. I personally like salty lassi, frothy with salt, fresh ground pepper and few twigs of mint and run it in the nutri bullet with some ice cubes.

And dahi comes in handy when the tomatoes are expensive as a souring agent. It will make the gravy a bit creamy and thick as well.

Coming to the thali above, again stale dahi which has gone a bit sour or even a dahi few days old will do. Punjabi Kadi is my favorite. It was my aunt who I observed in my young years that it is such an easy dish to make. The word ‘Curry’ originated from ‘Kadi’ which is actually made with besan (black gram flour) mixed in the yoghurt and turmeric, salt, garam masala and chilli powder thrown in and mixed well. Keep aside and then heat oil in a pan and add some fenugreek, mustard seeds. As they fritter add the dahi mixture into the pan. Add water and let it boil. Word Kadi originated from ‘boil’ or ‘simmer’ the reason being that since the besan flour is raw one must cook it on slow fire for a long time to make sure that it is cooked and does not taste raw. So after leaving it on the fire for good 30-40 minutes, stirring regularly in between so that the besan flour does not stick to the bottom.

For flavours I have seen people adding chopped onions, finely chopped ginger, or even crushed garlic into the Kadi broth. You can even add spinach, sarson (mustard leaves), curry leaves and chopped coriander. People even add dried red chillies. Once the Kadi is ready you have to on the side fry pakoras to add to the kadi at the end. And it is ready one of the tastiest dish to go with jeera rice. That day I had made lobhia curry and then felt like making Kadi. Suddenly the faces lighted up at home as they relished the thali that was served to them.

For 1 kilo Dahi add 4-5 table spoons of besan. Rest is all the way described above and taste as you go with your ingredients. Some like it hot and others mild. First day it is rice and Kadi for me and on the second day it is parontha and kadi for the breakfast. Can only describe it in one word. Heavenly !

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