Friday, June 10, 2016

Kadhi




What do you cook for someone with an upset stomach? If you have grown up in Bombay, it could be kadhi. It is on the menu for dinner. Then again, when I'm in a rush and there is no time to cook lentils, kadhi comes together in a jiffy. It begins with a few easy steps. Besan or chickpea flour blended into yogurt does double duty. It gives the kadhi a thickening base and importantly, stops the yogurt from curdling. My mum would then start with a mix of oil and ghee. I use oil for many reasons, but then mine never tastes like hers. In go a few whole spices...sticks of cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns. A few seconds later, a smattering of cumin and mustard seeds. Followed by slivered garlic and ginger. Curry leaves and turmeric add company. These spices hang out for a minute or so and then are joined by the yogurt. A little salt and sugar and the sauce simmers. Just in time for Nikita's returning appetite.


KADHI
Serves 2-4


1 cup Yogurt (I prefer low fat regular but you could use Greek as well)
1 heaping tablespoon Besan or Chickpea Flour
2 cups Water
1 tablespoon Canola Oil 
2 small sticks Cinnamon 
4 Cloves
4 Peppercorns 
2 dried Red Chiles
1/4 teaspoon Cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon Mustard seeds 
2 Garlic cloves, slivered
3 Ginger thin coins
6-7 Curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
A few sprigs of Cilantro 


Mix yogurt and besan till smooth. 

Add water and whisk well so you have a homogeneous batter.

Heat oil in a deep saucepan.

When shimmering, add cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. Let them sizzle for a few seconds.

Then drop red chiles, cumin and mustard seeds. Let them splutter and brown for 20 seconds.

Add garlic and ginger. Let garlic color slightly.

Drop curry leaves and turmeric. Curry leaves with crackle and crisp up. 

Carefully pour yogurt mix into oil. Stir as you pour.

Season with salt and sugar.

Bring kadhi to a boil. Watch carefully as kadhi is like milk. It will spill over if you don't keep an eye on it. One way to ensure it doesn't spill over is to plonk a wooden spoon in the pot. Lower flame to medium and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Add fresh chopped cilantro and serve kadhi with rice or khichdi.




Geets and I fondly remember our grandmas and mums versions of this sickroom favorite. Though I should reiterate that this Gujarati staple graces the table at all occasions. We dole out soupy kadhi to Nikita. Papad adds crunch. This is the stuff that conquers a stomach bug and soothes the Indian soul. It seems to be the panacea for many ailments, including homesickness!