Yogurt holds a place of pride in the Indian cuisine.
Growing up, homemade yogurt (or ‘curd’ as it is called in India) appeared at many of our meals, making a fitting accompaniment to the otherwise spicy fare at the table. On special occasions, I remember eagerly awaiting ‘Sev-Dahi‘, a unique and mouthwatering Parsi celebratory treat of warm roasted vermicelli ‘Sev’, topped with mom’s home-set sweetened cardamom-vanilla yogurt ‘Dahi’.
Today, we bring you an equally unique, super-healthful and flavorful Indian yogurt dish ‘kadhi’; made with yogurt, lentil flour and a tempering of Indian spices, it is traditionally served over steamed basmati rice.
There are many versions of ‘kadhi’, each hailing from different ethnic regions of the country. Outside India though, you’re most likely to have sampled a spiced north Indian ‘kadhi’ with a thick-consistency or a sweet-n-spicy, soupy version from west India, like ours below.
This easy-to-prepare vegetarian and gluten-free ‘kadhi’ yogurt soup is best served freshly prepared and steaming hot on a cold winter’s day (or just about any day, I say) with your choice of garnish like green peas or diced red bell peppers accompanied by basmati rice or your favorite bread for dipping.
‘Kadhi’ Yogurt Soup
2 cups yogurt (whole or low fat)
2 tablespoons lentil flour/chickpea flour/besan*
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon canola oil
½ inch ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 Thai green chili or 1/2 Serrano or jalapeño pepper, finely minced
3 teaspoons sugar or jaggery
1/2 teaspoon salt (based on sourness of yogurt)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon canola oil (use ghee/clarified butter for a more authentic flavor)
2-3 curry leaves**
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds**
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
Choice of Garnish
Handful of frozen green peas, thawed
Cooked Basmati rice, white or brown
Diced cooked potatoes
Finely-diced red bell peppers
Crusty baguette or bread of choice
* Chickpea or lentil flour is available at many natural grocery stores or sold as ‘besan’ in ethnic stores. It is made with dried chickpeas or yellow gram lentils, roasted and ground to a flour consistency.
**Fenugreek or methi seeds can be substituted with mustard seeds for this preparation. Curry leaves give an authentic flavor to this kadhi-soup, but can be left out if unavailable.
In a large bowl, whisk the lentil flour/chickpea flour/besan and ground turmeric along with yogurt and 2 cups of water.
In a deep saucepan, cook grated ginger & garlic as well as finely minced Thai chili/ Serrano/ jalapeño pepper in canola oil for 1-2 minutes.
Add the whisked yogurt mixture, sugar/jaggery and salt to the saucepan. Whisk the ‘kadhi’ intermittently till the yogurt comes to a boil (stay close to the stove at this stage since the yogurt can boil over.)
Turn down the heat and cover the soup, let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
To make the tempering, heat canola oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add fenugreek seeds and cook for a minute. Next toss in the curry leaves, cumin seeds and turn off the heat.
Immediately stir the hot tempering into the ‘kadhi’ yogurt soup. Add chopped cilantro, taste for salt and cook covered for another 5 minutes, so all the flavors can blend.
Serve piping hot ‘kadhi’ yogurt soup with your choice of garnish like green peas, diced red bell pepper along with cooked basmati rice or crusty baguette.