Pakora Kadhi (GF, Vegetarian)

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Another fantastic mom recipe!

This is another comforting meal that mom makes that I absolutely love! There are actually two kinds of kadhi, vegetable kadhi and pakora kadhi. Both are vegetarian, but the pakora one is a much richer comfort food style kadhi. And that is the one I love!

Kadhi is essentially a thick soup or stew made out of yogurt and besan (chickpea flour). The base soup is deliciously tangy and creamy all at once. You can add whatever you like to this soup, but the traditional way is to add crispy fried pakoras (fritters) to the soup. You have to make sure to only add the pakoras right before serving so they don’t get soggy and fall apart in the soup. The end result is this spongy crispy pakora that soaks up all the tangy goodness fo the kadhi!

Crispy Pakora Secrets

The secret to getting a crispy pakora is to let the batter rest about 10 minutes before cooking it. Adding some corn flour to the batter also helps to get the pakora to crisp and turn golden brown. Right before cooking the pakoras adding a bit of baking soda to the pakora batter will help the pakoras get light and fluffy on the inside while they cook.

Pakora Kadhi

A tangy creamy yogurt based soup with crispy onion pakoras. Desi comfort food at its finest.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: pakistani
Keyword: gluten free, Vegetarian
Servings: 4


For the Kadhi

  • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cup buttermilk, room temperature (or 1.5 cup yogurt mixed with 1.5 cups water)
  • 3 cups water (more as needed)
  • lemon juice (optional, for serving)

For the Pakoras

  • oil for frying (I use canola oil)
  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds) optional
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • water, as needed
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the Tardka

  • 1/4 cup oil (save some from frying the pakoras)
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2-3 whole dried red chilli
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic


For the Kadhi

  • In a large pot on medium heat, add the 1/2 cup besan, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp salt. Dry roast this mixture for 3-5 minutes until it starts to get fragrant and turn golden brown.
  • VERY SLOWLY pour in the 3 cups of room temperature buttermilk (or yogurt) and 3 cups water while stirring constantly. Stir to combine. It will be a bit lumpy at first, but don't worry the lumps will eventually disappear as it cooks. (If you add the buttermilk too quickly, or if it is too cold when it hits the hold pan, it will split and the milk solids will separate – so don't rush this part! See notes for what to do if your curry splits!)
  • Allow to simmer for 20 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally. As it boils the flavours in the kadhi will start to develop and the chickpea flour mixture will combine with the liquid and turn in to a thick golden soup. If you feel it is getting too thick, add a splash more water. You want a thick soupy consistency.

For the Pakoras

  • While the kadhi cooks, in a separate frying pan or wok, heat enough oil to fry the pakoras on medium heat. You want to have about 1-2 inches of oil in the pan so the pakoras can float while cooking.
  • While the oil heats, make your pakora mixture: in a medium bowl, mix together all the pakora ingredients except the baking soda and water.
  • Slowly add a few tbsp of water at a time into the pakora ingredients to make a thick pancake like batter. You will need about 1/2 cup water. If you find it is too thin, add more besan, if it is too thick, add a splash more water. Mix well to combine. Set aside while your oil heats up.
  • Just before you are ready to cook the pakoras, add 1/2 tsp baking soda and mix well.
  • Drop about 1/4 cup of the mixture a time into the hot oil. The pakora should float to the surface of the oil and bubble up on the edges. Make sure they are not touching. Cook 2-3 minutes on one side, carefully flip and cook 3 more minutes until golden brown all over.
  • Remove onto a paper towel lined plate. Taste a pakora and adjust the batter seasoning or salt and cook the remaining pakoras. Set aside.

Finish the Kadhi

  • Now you are ready to assemble the kadhi!
  • The kadhi mixture should be cooked now, if it is too thick, add a splash of water. Give it a taste and adjust for salt. If you want the kadhi to have a bit more tang, add a splash of lemon juice. Turn off the heat.
  • In a separate pan, heat 1/4 cup of oil on medium heat. Add the tardka ingredients and cook until the garlic turns golden and fragrant. Pour the tardka over the kadhi and stir to combine.
  • Keep the pakoras separate from the kadhi until you are ready to serve. Pour the kadhi over the pakoras and serve immediately.


The kadhi will thicken the longer it sits or if you refrigerate it. Just add a splash of water to thin it out and bring to a boil before serving and it will be perfect.Β 
***If your kadhi splits (milk solids separate from the liquid) when you add the buttermilk or yogurt to the hot pan, you may still be able to salvage it. If you catch it early enough, turn off the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding in the rest of the buttermilk. Otherwise pour the entire mixture into the blender and give it a blend to make it smooth again. It is not ideal if your buttermilk or yogurt splits, but the it doesn’t really affect the flavour, it is just a texture difference.***

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