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Punjabi Kadhi Chawal – The story of Mrs. Anu Chhabra

A conversation with Anu Aunty will leave you wondering if enterprising is her middle name. She is a lady who wears many hats effortlessly. The beautiful quaint bungalow in which she lives with her family is the seat of her personal and professional explorations. The house has three divisions, the ground floor is for her business, a boutique that she runs, the second floor for living and the terrace houses her passion for gardening. Needless to say, we were already looking forward to exploring her terrace garden along with the promised Punjabi Style Kadhi Chawal.

The stories around Kadhi started to surface in our conversation. It is not just a universal Punjabi dish, it is a dish that is intimately connected to her family and childhood. She regaled the story of her aunt who had to be informed two weeks prior if they wanted to visit her place for kadhi-chawal. The process of making the kadhi is connected with how long the curd is left to sour determining how khatti(sour/tangy) the kadhi will be. She was sharing the stories while she was preparing for the dish. Before our arrival, she had meticulously done the preparation, starting from sorting out the spices in an orderly manner, peeling the onions and keeping the raw materials ready. We never ask the people whom we are shooting a video with, to do any advance preparation but are always a little awed by the ones who care to do it. It is nice to be reminded that there is someone who shares our enthusiasm for exploring food stories. 

Anu Anuty’s house is a classic example of self sustenance as her kitchen waste is recycled as manure for her terrace garden. So everything that is usually thrown out- egg shells, vegetable waste and other kitchen waste is stored in large containers in the terrace where it is left to decompose and then added to plants as manure. In her terrace garden, she gave a crash course on gardening and we nodded as eager students. She also gave us a quick quiz on guess the plant in which we both scored painfully low marks showing us our knowledge related to gardening is below beginner’s level. Thank god, we are sticking to food stories and eating them because by now our appetite had been piqued enough to dig into the kadhi chawal that was prepared and waiting. 

Here is the step by step recipe of the beautiful, home made Kadhi, prepared by Mrs. Anu Chaabra. This recipe will help you make KADHI which would be sufficient for 4 people. The ingredients that you will need for it:

  1. Curd- 1 Cup/240gms
  2. Gram Flour/Besan- 2 Cups- 480 gms
  3. Dried spices: Cloves, peppercorn, bay leaves, mustard seeds
  4. 2 dried red chilli, 1 green chilli, ginger and garlic paste.
  5. Hing or asafetida (Optional)
  6. Onions – 2 Large
  7.  Methi- Handful
  8. Tumeric (haldi), Ajwain (carton seeds), Baking soda
  9. Oil
  10.  Kasoori Methi or Coriander for garnish.

METHOD:

1. Keep the curd in a warm place for 2-3 days to allow fermentation.

2. Mix gram flour or besan with water

3. Add the gram flour mixture to the curd and stir

3. Dried spices: Cloves, peppercorn, bay leaves, mustard seeds

4. Heat oil and add the spices

5. Once they start to release fragrance add- Onion, 2 dried red chilli, 1 green chilli, ginger and garlic paste

6. Add hing or asofetida ( optional)

7. Fry till the onion turns translucent

8. Add the besan and curd mixture to the pot

9. Initially the colour will be light yellow, keep stirring and the colour turns darker

10. The besan has to be continuously stirred else it will settle at the bottom. Making of Pakoda

11. In a bowl add freshly chopped onions+ methi leaves ( freshly grown tender ones are preferable to market bought ones)

12. Add tumeric (haldi), ajwain (carton seeds), chilli, baking soda

13. Add besan to the mix

14. Add water to bring it together

15. Leave the mixture for two minutes to rest

16. Heat oil till smoking point so the Pakoda added to the oil floats above it

17. If the pakodas sink in the oil, the oil needs to be further heated up

18. Pakoda should be less salty to strike a balance with the kadi gravy Bringing it together

19. Once the pakodas have been fried, they can be added to the kadi gravy

20. Ideally the pakodas are added immediately before eating so they remain crunchy

21. The gravy should be thick to let it boil for 10-15 mins after adding Pakoda or til it reaches desired consistency

22. Add kasoori methi or fresh coriander leaves to garnish.

Enjoy with piping hot rice and relish with family and friends!

NOTE: Kadhi Chawal is a classic and traditional Indian dish which has many versions in different homes. This is the version from a particular home that we have captured and shared with you all.

 

 

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