Indian food is in a phase of transition!The question that bothers me often and warrants a serious introspection is that in our pursuit of food that caters to our nutritional requirements and that fits into the bracket of what we know as ‘balanced diet’, are we unintentionally making choices of expensive and non-local ingredients over easily available and inexpensive local ingredients, preferring international cuisines over our heirloom recipes. Well, it’s a topic for debate in the circles of those who are associated with food industry, food bloggers, nutritionists, Chefs and many others and the debate has been on for quite some years now.
A cursory glance at our Thalis reveals that, irrespective of the region/state of their origin, these Thalis are one of the most balanced diet that one can have according to the climatic conditions in which he/ she resides.
We have myriad variety of lentils, legumes, pulses, vegetables, grains, cereals, paired up with complete proteins and essential fatty acids from meat, seafood and dairy products that constitute our meals! In many parts of India, predominantly where vegetarianism is the way of lives, plant proteins are the major source of proteins, along with the inclusion of animal protein in the form of milk & milk products. Milk – a simple protein that has all the essential 9 Amino acids is termed as a “Complete Protein”. Recollect those countless chases while growing up, in which our Mommies or grannies would chase us with a glass full of milk! Another dairy product with which we have shared love/hate relationship is Curd. It’s a dairy product obtained by coagulating milk in a process known as curdling (source wiki). It’s rich in protein, calcium & phosphorous, and very friendly to human digestive tract! While as Indians we vouch on our Lassi, every Naivedyam at any religious ceremonies is incomplete without a dollop of curd on molded dal- rice!
The comfort food for me is something that shares a deep emotional connect with my remembered childhood memories, and one of the curd based dish that features on this list is “Kadhi“! While some of you dear readers, are drooling at the mere mention of Kadhi, allow me a moment to gather myself, as I find myself at the brink of tears reminiscing my late Grandmother (Nani).
These memories are still crystal clear in my mind! My mother is an excellent cook but my Nani was an expert in dealing with ingredients! It seems she must have had some magical powers in her fingers that would invariably turn even simple food into a lip smacking delicacy! May be the love & affection in her soul! Each day, before I would come back from school, she would greet me with a plate full of food in her hands, ready to feed the excited me. The restless child inside me allured by the cacophony of noises emanating from the playground, too excited to jump on the bandwagon of my play mates, ready to skip the meal. Anticipating this every day ritual granny would cajole, scare and admonish me and sometimes force feed me. Her menu would boast of Besanache Dhirde (Besan Chila), pohe chivda, methi ladoos, chapati Upma keeping in mind my likings and disliking’s! She was an expert in pairing the dishes to suit my palate, Kadhi was always accompanied with Valache Birde and Pithle was always paired with Bharli Vangi
In our Konkani homes, primarily two variants of Kadhi are made- A simpler variety in which the curd is thinned down near to buttermilk consistency and then tempered with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder and spiced up with coarsely crushed ginger- garlic- green chilies in mortar & pestle. This version of Kadhi is finally finished with chopped fresh coriander roots. A hint of sugar is optional as per the taste in this Kadhi. It is usually served on rice or as a coolant that accompanies a spicy meal. One has to be very cautious while making this way as there is no usage of besan, and hence care has to be taken not to boil it, instead simmer it just to ensure flavors are blended!
The other variety that I am going to discuss here is the mixing curd with besan, salt, sugar , turmeric , chopped fresh coriander and a thick paste of ginger- green chilies- garlic, then slow cooked till Kadhi thickens and raw flavor of besan goes off. Kadhi is finished with the tempering of red chili, mustard seeds & cumin seeds. This slow cooked version of Kadhi turns very creamy and flavorful and tastes delicious with hot steamed rice, sprouted Bhaji of Val/ kala Chana/ white peas and not to forget roasted Papad or fried masala chili!
Make this Kadhi when you absolutely don’t have any plans on weekend. This is perfect comfort food for lazy afternoon, when you decide to stuff yourself with Kadhi-Bhat, snuggle into your warm quilt and finally doze off.
Find more Konkani recipes
- 400 grams curd
- 4 tbsp. (30 grams) Besan (Gram Flour)
- 1 tsp. Sugar
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. chopped Coriander Leaves
- 8-10 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 inch Ginger root
- 3 Green Chilies
- ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 2 tbsp. Cooking Oil
- 1 tsp. Mustard Seeds
- ¼th tsp Asafoetida Powder
- 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds
- 8-10 Curry Leaves
- 3 Dried Red Chilies
- Grind Ginger, Garlic and Green Chilies into a fine paste. We have used 2-3 tbsp. water while grinding.
- In a large bowl, put Curd. Add Besan and whisk well. Ensure there are no lumps. Add Green Chili Paste, Sugar, Salt, Turmeric powder and Coriander Leaves. Mix well.
- Now gradually add 2-3 cups of water and mix well.When we boil the Kadhi, its consistency would thicken.
- Transfer Kadhi in a large pan. Allow it to boil on a medium heat. Kadhi starts simmering in about 5 mins. Reduce the heat and cook. Stir intermittently. Never cook Kadhi on high heat
- After Kadhi has been cooking for about 20 mins, Raw taste of green masala and besan has been removed. We will simmer for another 5 mins on low heat.
- Kadhi gets cooked in total about 20-25 minutes. Take it off the heat.
- For Tadka, heat 2 tbsp. Oil. Add Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Asafoetida Powder, Dried Red Chilies. Add Curry Leaves. Pour this tadka on Kadhi.
- Keep Kadhi covered until serving
- Kadhi and Jeera Rice is a perfect comfort food
Click here to watch recipe video