Summer Squash Salad with Roasted Tomatillo Vinaigrette

squash-salad

After Ramadan (during which time I did not fast, but did eat pakoras for almost 30 days straight) and my sister’s wedding week (during which time I drank lots of wine and ate delicacies such as burgers and cheese fries – it was a classy wedding, I swear), my body was screaming at me to put something green in it. Anything.

So I made this enormous, gorgeous rainbow salad with sweet summer squash, pretty purple cabbage, crisp radishes, juicy tomatoes, creamy queso fresco, toasty pumpkin seeds, the ubiquitous avocado, and this awesome experiment of a roasted tomatillo vinaigrette that came out even better than I had hoped – nailed it! After weeks of crap this salad is a rainbow in my heart.

Summer Squash Salad with Roasted Tomatillo Vinaigrette

  • 2 small or 1 large summer squash, thinly sliced into half or quarter moons
  • 2 small or 1 large tomatillo, thinly sliced
  • olive oil and sea salt for roasting
  • 1 small head green leaf lettuce, thickly shredded
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded
  • 3 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into half moons
  • 5 oz queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • several sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp honey
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • sea salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Heat oven to 400° F.

Coat squash and tomatillos with a little olive oil and sea salt. Spread squash on one foil-lined baking sheet and tomatillos on another, making sure they are all in one layer. Roast approximately 15 minutes for the squash (until soft, no or little color) and 20 minutes for the tomatoes (until they are just getting starting to get caramelized).

For the vinaigrette: finely chop the roasted tomatillo and mix with garlic, cilantro, honey, lime juice and zest, and red wine vinegar, and season generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil while stirring.

Toss together lettuce, cabbage, radishes, tomatoes, queso fresco and pumpkin seeds. Slice or scoop in avocado right before you lightly dress the salad with the vinaigrette (you can serve extra on the side).

Aloo Gosht

aloo-gosht

I always jump the gun for soup and stew season because I love nothing more than a simmering pot, even on a hellish summer day. While I have no qualms about making inappropriate food if that’s what I want, we’ve had enough rainy, chilly days mixed in that aloo gosht has actually been perfect.

I usually make it with stew beef, but this last time made it with bone-in goat meat and it was delicious. This recipe from a Pakistani Cooking blog is solid, it’s now my go-to recipe. Side note, Pakistani cooking blogs written by non-Pakistanis amuse me, not in a bad way.

I am terrified of exploding pressure cookers, so for me this is a better lazy weekend dish where I can let the meat simmer slowly until it’s almost falling apart. The potatoes laced with brothy, spicy tomato gravy are perfect for sopping up with warm roti.

Aloo Gosht

Adjusted just slightly from Pakistani Cooking

  • One pound stew beef or goat or two pounds bone-in beef or goat
  • Several tbsp’s cooking oil, divided
  • 3 medium onions, finely sliced
  • whole spices: 1 stick cinnamon, 10 black peppercorns, 1 large cardamom pod, 8 cloves
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1.5 inch ginger, grated
  • 5 roma tomatoes, diced
  • powdered spices: 1 tbsp red chili, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp coriander powder, salt to taste (about 1 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 6 medium red potatoes, peeling optional, cut into large chunks just before cooking
  • 8 green chilies cut into one inch pieces
  • a good amount cilantro for garnish, roughly chopped

Heat a couple tbsp’s cooking oil. Brown meat (in batches if necessary) on both sides and remove to a plate. Add a couple more tbsp oil and the onions, cooking for a few minutes until translucent. Add whole spices and cook, stirring, until very golden, lowering heat if necessary to avoid burning.

Add garlic and ginger and fry for a few minutes, then the tomatoes and powdered spices. Cook, stirring, until the oil separates.

Add the ghee, and the meat back into the pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, covered, until meat is very tender (may be an hour and a half to two hours), stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary.

Add the potatoes (and a little more water if needed, and cook, covered, until very soft but not falling apart. You can dry up some of the water if you like it more stewy than brothy. Add the green chilles and cook for just a few more minutes, then garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati rice, roti, or naan.

Cornmeal Cake with Blackberry Glaze

corn-cake-blackberry-glaze

I saw Nigella, kitchen goddess, make this elegant and unfussy polenta cake on her show. The blackberry glaze idea came from the photo of these donuts – gorgeous!

Note: although purple and lovely, my cake was a little dry since my blackberry glaze just sits on top, so next time I will try half her lemon glaze and let that seep into the cake, then top with the blackberry glaze.

Cornmeal Cake with Blackberry Glaze

Variation on Nigella’s Lemon Polenta Cake

  • 200 grams ground almonds
  • 100 grams cornmeal
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • blackberries and powdered sugar for glazing

Heat oven to 350° F and grease a 9 inch spring form pan.

Whisk together almonds, cornmeal and baking powder. Cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs one by one and combine. Stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined, then spread into springform pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Glaze with a mixture of mashed and strained blackberries and powdered sugar (start with just a few tbsps of juice, add more if needed). Garnish with blackberries.

Sweet Corn and Blackberry Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

blackberry-sweetcorn-salad

This hardly needs a recipe, other than the directive: throw yummy things in a bowl. This does check all the summer salad boxes though: something fruity, something crunchy, homemade dressing (the only kind), ubiquitous pickled shallot.

Sweet Corn and Blackberry Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp finely chopped basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, maple syrup, basil, salt and pepper. Thinly slice shallot and stir into vinegar mixture and allow to pickle for half an hour minimum, ideally more. Right before serving, add olive oil in a stream while stirring.

For the salad

  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • Several handfuls baby greens
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • dressing (above)
  • sliced almonds

Boil corn in salted water for 2 minutes (turning), drain, cool, and cut off the cob. Toss together with greens and blackberries, and lightly dress with the liquid from the dressing. Spoon shallots on top and sprinkle with almonds.

Chilled Blackberry Soup with Sweet Corn, Mozzerella and Ricotta

blackberry-soup

I wanted some ideas for blackberry soup, so I Googled and found several, but they were all sweet! The one savory one I found was a Russian version (Makvlis Supi) which combines blackberries with herbs and cucumbers for a chilled summer soup. “I am intrigued,” I said to myself, so I used it as inspiration for my soup. I am also intrigued by this burrata thing I keep seeing popping up, which I mean to try soon but in the meantime whipped up a mixture of mozzarella and ricotta which I imagine is similar.

Chilled Blackberry Soup with Sweet Corn, Mozzerella and Ricotta

  • 1 lb blackberries
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 large cucumber
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 packed tbsp basil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella

Combine blackberries, garlic, cucumber, thyme, basil, maple syrup, salt and pepper in blender and blend until smooth. Blend on a lower setting and drizzle olive oil. Chill for at least an hour.

In food processor, combine corn, ricotta and mozzarella with a pinch of salt and pepper.

To serve, pour soup in bowls and top with a dollop of the corn/ricotta/mozzarella mixture and a sprinkle of basil.

Green Masala Chicken Biryani

chicken-biryani

I will be making this again this weekend…can almost taste it!

Eid is almost here, and I asked my mother-in-law what I should make. She had two words: chicken biryani.

Of course. I don’t even know why I asked.

Quick biryani lesson: the dish came by way of Persia (thanks Wikipedia) and is basically a rice dish where the rice is partially cooked, then layered with the other ingredients to steam the rest of the way (as opposed to cooking everything together as in a pulao). There are countless variations, which on one hand means there is room for innovation and creativity but on the other hand means everyone says everyone else is doing it wrong.

Pukka Paki’s My Tamarind Kitchen’s Green Masala Chicken Biryani is my favorite recipe that I’ve tried, because it is fresh and bright thanks to the handfuls of fresh herbs, and the whole garam masalas lightly spice the dish without weighing it down.

I’ve made it several times and have made just a few small adjustments – first, the masala is awesome as is, but it doesn’t hurt to throw in a couple extra Thai chilies. Second, this makes a LOT of curry – which is normally a good thing because you don’t want to be stingy on the curry, but where she lists 2.5 cups of rice I have gradually upped this to 3.5, and 4 would probably be ok. Last, before baking she says to stick lemon wedges here and there, but I forgo this because the first time I made it, it was overpoweringly lemony. I guess I could just stick less/thinner wedges, but I err on the side of caution and just serve with lemon wedges for a fresh spritz before eating.

A few helpful tips and musings:

  • The list of ingredients and steps is dauntingly long, but if you break it down into components its seems more manageable (Onions + yogurt, chicken + spices, tomatoes + green masala, mix mix finish and layer with rice).
  • I don’t have a good heavy-bottomed pot, but have found a nonstick wok is fantastic – you can crank up the heat and not worry too much about it sticking, so it works well for the onion and curry components.
  • Once you get your onions started, you will have plenty of time to prep your other ingredients (I’m usually a  “furiously multitask” type, not a “serenely mise” type, but I can be the latter in this situation because I am doing something productive on the side).
  • You may be scandalized by the amount of oil/ghee used. Just breathe into a bag for a minute or perhaps take a long walk or soothing bubble bath and then get on with it.
  • Lots of Pakistani recipes give you the instruction to “cook until the oil rises to the top” – including this recipe, several times. What does that even mean? I used to stare wistfully into my pot, wondering if I’d know the moment it happened. Now I realize that this is not that ambiguous. If you don’t see it, keep cooking. You’ll know.
  • I rarely have saffron on hand but I always have safflowers (from the Arabic market. Just as yellow, way less expensive), so I use these instead. You are going for several colors running through the rice, and this will achieve the pretty yellow part of that. The flavor is different, but as this is not a delicately-spiced bouillabaisse I don’t think it matters much. Some people actually use food coloring (bleh no thanks).
  • Lots of recipes have you finish the dish on the stove, but I like the oven versions such as this because you don’t have to worry about stuff burning to the bottom – plus although she has you put it in a serving dish, I think that’s unnecessary because the baking dish presentation is lovely.

Green Masala Chicken Biryani

Recipe from My Tamarind Kitchen

For the onion yogurt mixture

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 4-6 medium red onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cups yogurt

Heat oil and ghee in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot and deep-fry onions until very brown (this will take awhile so in the meantime you can prep the rest of the ingredients). Stir occasionally and be careful not to burn. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Whip yogurt, then add onions and mix.

For the half done rice

  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamom pods (bruised)
  • salt
  • 3 1/2 cups basmati rice

Rinse rice thoroughly and soak for 30 minutes before cooking. Boil a large pot of lightly salted water with the cinnamon and green cardamom pods. Add rice, rapidly boil until al dente (approximately 4 minutes). Drain and set aside.

For the green masala

  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup mint, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups cilantro, chopped
  • 3-4 Thai chilies (a couple extra if you like more spice)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder

Grind all to a paste.

For the biryani

  • 1/2 cup oil (divided)
  • 5 tbsp ghee (divided)
  • 1 medium whole skinless chicken cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces by butcher
  • Whole garam masala: 10 cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 6 green cardamom pods (bruised), 15 peppercorns, 2 star anise
  • 3-4 medium chopped tomatoes
  • salt
  • green masala (above)
  • yogurt mixture (above)
  • half done rice (above)
  • 2 pinches of safflower or saffron (crumbled and soaked in hot milk for 15 minutes minimum to release color/fragrance)
  • 1 tbsp rosewater
  • lemon wedges, coriander leaves, yogurt or cucumber raita for serving

For the curry, heat 1/2 cup oil and 2 tbsp ghee in a large saucepan or wok. Brown chicken and remove. Add another 1/2 cup oil and 2 tbsp ghee, along with the whole garam masala, and heat until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and a good sprinkle of salt, and cook, stirring, until the oil rises to the top. Add the green masala, cook until the oil rises to the top, then add the browned chicken and the onion-yogurt mix, cook until the oil rises to the top.

Heat the oven to 320° F. In a large baking dish, spread the curry on the bottom and layer the half cooked rice on the top. Sprinkle the safflower milk, a tbsp of ghee, and the rosewater over the top. Tightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes to an hour (this has always taken me an hour) until the rice is perfectly cooked through.

To serve, stir the rice and curry gently to mix, being careful not to break the rice. Serve with lemon wedges, chopped cilantro, and yogurt or cucumber raita.

It was a full month after my mother-in-law came before I made it for her because I was so nervous, but when I finally made this for her she ate plateful after plateful, and all but licked plate.


final-eid-eats

Flour and Spice and Chocolate and Chilis, two gorgeous cooking blogs I’ve been perusing lately for more recipes to try, are hosting a virtual Eid party, so of course I want to play :) Here’s my contribution to the potluck, looking forward to seeing what the other participates are cooking up!


Dahi Baray

dahi-baray

We are smack in the middle of Ramadan, and dahi barays – I know, I know, grammatically incorrect – are one of our favorite iftaari dishes. They are basically fried dumplings made out of besan (chickpea/gram flour) in a thin yogurt sauce. You can also make them with lentils but Shan has made it clear he doesn’t like those, and although I haven’t tried them they sound too heavy whereas these puff up into light, fluffy clouds.

A few little tricks

  • After frying and draining, dunk the barays in water for about a minute then gently squeeze them out before transferring to the yogurt mixture. Some people skip this step but it makes sure they are nice and soft. From what I’ve gathered, the Pakistani food circuit is brutal; you don’t want people gossiping about your crunchy barays.
  • Also, thin the yogurt with almost more water than you are comfortable with – the barays will soak up quite a bit so you need to overcompensate so it doesn’t dry up.
  • Make sure the oil is hot enough before you start dropping the batter. These are not hard to make, and they have come out perfectly for me every time except once. I had just gotten off an angry phone call and was storming around the kitchen, flailing and ranting while I threw this together, and distractedly dropped them too early in the still-heating oil. We ended up with sad little lumps in watery yogurt. And sad little lumps is what happens when I cook angry, so I have since resolved to take a few cleansing breathes and calm the eff down instead of messing up my food.
  • I usually just sprinkle these with chaat masala, but I’ve seen them drizzled with imli (tamarind) chutney too, which looks so pretty. I’m going to do that for our upcoming iftaar party, because presentation is everything.

Dahi Baray

Adapted from Dahi Baray by Chef Zakir

For the yogurt mixture

  • One heaping cup yogurt
  • 2 tsp (or to taste) red chili
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp chaat masala (more for garnish)
  • Salt to taste
  • tamarind chutney (optional)

For the barays

  • 1/2 cups besan
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Salt and red chili to taste (about a tsp of each)
  • Oil for frying (an inch in a pan is fine)

In a large bowl, whip yogurt together with red chili, sugar, chaat masala and salt. Add water to make a very thin sauce. If you aren’t trying to impress anyone you can serve from this bowl, or you can pour two thirds into a large shallow dish and set the rest aside to pour over at the end.

Combine besan, baking soda, salt and red chili, stirring well so there are no lumps. Add enough water to make a thick batter. Have a paper towel-lined plate and a large bowl of water ready.

Heat oil. Fry in batches by dropping spoons of batter into the oil – they should immediately puff up. They only take a minute or so on each side to fry, so once you finish dropping the first round of batter you can go back around and flip them (I use two spoons or a spoon and a fork to flip). Remove to the paper towel-lined plate for a minute or so, dunk in water for a minute, then gently squeeze them out and transfer to the yogurt mixture (either in the bowl or the shallow dish).

Continue frying in batches until all the batter is used up. To serve, pour the rest of the yogurt on top (if applicable), sprinkle with chaat masala and drizzle with tamarind chutney.

Devilish Eggs

devilish-eggs

devilish-eggs

Despite all the Pakistani food around here, I’m still a Southern girl…of course I have a deviled egg plate.

For deviled eggs, most use a sprinkle of paprika or aleppo pepper as a garnish, but the hedonistic and excessive use it by the tablespoonful. Since the flavors are otherwise subtle, the aleppo pepper shines – or smolders.

A couple gathered tips: Virginia Willis’s deviled eggs in Bon Appetit, Y’all contain her French secret ingredient: butter. I never miss an opportunity to hide butter in things, and it really does take these to the next level (of hell! muhahaha). Also, for easy-to-peel eggs, use eggs that have been in the fridge a week or so. Much recommended – mine were super fresh since we go through eggs like chickens were going extinct, so they were annoying hard to peel.

Devilish Eggs

(recipe can be doubled)

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp aleppo pepper (or an equal amount using 3 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne)
  • generous pinch or two cayenne
  • scant 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • coase salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • green onions, chives, or other herbs for garnish

Hard boil eggs, cool and peel. Slice in half and remove yolks to a medium bowl. Smash yolks as smooth as you can get them.

In a dry pan, lightly toast spices to wake them up a bit. Add to yolks, plus mayonnaise, butter and salt and pepper to taste. Combine thoroughly.

Spoon mixture back into eggs (piping is lame), garnish with greenery.

Fish Fragrant Eggplant

eggplant

eggplant

Yesterday afternoon I could be found in my cube, listening to back episodes of Spilled Milk – specifically the eggplant episode, silently shaking with laughter to the point of tears about heirloom eggplant names.

On a related note, I’ve decided to name my next cat “Little Spooky.”

The recipe that followed, Fuchsia Dunlop’s Fish Fragrant Eggplant sounded so delicious I had to make it immediately. Like seriously, I left work early to buy eggplants.

A couple of substitutions (per usual) for weeknight convenience of not having to run out of my way to the Asian market: although I had Chinese black vinegar on hand, I didn’t have the Sichuan chili paste (Google said sambal oelek was comparable so I used that – but since it is straight chili and lacks the fermented beans there was definitely an umamious element missing), and also I used corn starch instead of potato starch which is a more acceptable swap.

This turned out completely silky spicy delicious, I don’t even know if I should make it with the right chili paste because it might blow my mind.

Fish Fragrant Eggplant

Found in Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

1 1/4 lbs eggplant (about 2 large or 3 medium eggplants)
salt
oil for deep frying (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 tbsp Sichuan chili bean paste (sambal oelek in a pinch, but I will absolutely get the right stuff next time)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp grated garlic
2/3 cup chicken stock
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp potato flour (or corn starch) mixed with one tbsp cold water
2 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
4 tbsp finely sliced spring onions (green part)

Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 3 thick slices, then into evenly sized batons. Toss them with a good sprinkle of salt and leave in a colander for 30 minutes to drain.

Heat oil in a wok, and fry the eggplant in batches (3-4 minutes until golden). Remove to a paper towel.

Pour off the oil from the wok and add back 3 tbsp. Heat on medium and add the chili paste and stir-fry until the oil is red and fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a few minutes (do not burn).

Add stock and sugar and mix. Add the fried eggplant and let simmer gently for a few minutes. Stir starch mixtures, then pour over eggplant and stir gently to thicken the sauce. Season with salt if necessary, but it’s probably salty enough already. Add vinegar and spring onions, stir in and serve with rice.

No fish were harmed in the creation of this fish fragrant dish.

Punjabi Kadhi

kadhi

kadhi

These pakoras look a little sad – I was running out of besan so they didn’t get quite the batter they needed. Yummy nonetheless.

I was feeling very smug during our last trip to Pakistan as my husband told my mother-in-law that I had been cooking a lot of Pakistani food at home…much less smug after the very first thing she asked me was if I had made was kadhi. Which I had not.

Immediately upon our return I made an attempt to close the gaping hole in my repertoire. The concept of “yogurt stew” was unfamiliar, so more than usual with my homemade Pakistani food experiments I was chasing poor Shan around the house with spoonfuls, demanding “I think this tastes good, but is it authentic?”

Now I make it pretty frequently, and it’s come to taste just as comforting and homey as everyone claims it does. I tried a few different recipes (including my sister-in-law’s), but our household favorite and the one that I follow almost exactly is the Kadhi from Veg Recipes of India (a site I cook from fairly often – the recipe is very detailed with pics of each step).

A few things I learned or found helpful:

  1. This is Punjabi kadhi. Gujarati kadhi is thinner and I am not making that because no one will be impressed.
  2. From my vast internet research, there seem to be different variations, for example with tomatoes or other vegetables, or without pakoras or eaten as a soup without rice. However, hubs said the only way his family ever ate it was with the pakoras and rice.
  3. Curry leaves look like bay leaves but they are not. I had actually never used them before this, because although I had seen them in recipes I’d wanted to try, I didn’t know where to find them (my regular desi market only has dried spices). Then I trekked to an Indian grocer with a fresh produce section, where I found them with the refrigerated greens, veggies and herbs. Curry leaves have a distinct, lovely fragrance, and now I love using them.
  4. My sister-in-law instructs letting the kadhi simmer for at least 5 hours to make it sufficiently sour. I don’t often have 5 hours to babysit a simmering pot, so the sourness is much more easily achieved by leaving your yogurt out in the morning to sour a bit before you cook it in the evening (ideal) or cheating with a little amchoor powder (less ideal, but not beneath me). Then you only have to simmer 15 minutes.
  5. All the recipes I saw instruct you to mix the besan with a little water and make sure you get out all the lumps before you mix it with the yogurt. My original and ingenious technique is to instead sift the besan over the yogurt then whip it in with a whisk.
  6. This recipe calls for yogurt from a half liter of milk (which she elsewhere says is equal to a large bowl…?). So translation for us lazy grocery store yogurt procurers: 1.5 to 2 cups
  7. She also calls for 4 red onions for the pakoras, but I must have atomic onions because two was plenty.
  8. Kadhi tastes better the next day, so get ready for happy desk lunches.

Kadhi

Recipe from Veg Recipes of India with just couple adjustments

For the onion pakoras
2 cups besan
1 cup water
2 medium sized red onions, sliced
1 tsp ajwain seeds
1 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
a pinch of asafoetida

Mix besan in a bowl with carom seeds, red chili powder, garam masala powder and salt.
Add sliced onions to the bowl and pour a little water. Don’t add too much water as the onions will release water later.
Mix well and set aside for 0-30 minutes.

The onions will release enough water to make the batter liquidy. If the batter still feels dry, add some water to it. check the seasoning. Heat oil for deep or shallow frying. Fry on both sides until crisp and brown, drain and set aside.

For the kadhi
curd made from half a litre of milk (1.5 – 2 cups)
1 cup besan
4 cups water
2 tsp red chili powder
1 and half teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste

In a big bowl, whip the yogurt until it is smooth. Using a strainer or flour sift, sift besan over the yogurt and add turmeric, red chili, garam masala and salt. Whip until very smooth, make sure there are no lumps. Add water and mix well.

For the tempering
A couple tablespoons mustard oil
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped (optional – I skipped this time)
1 and half tbsp garlic ginger paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp methi/fenugreek seeds
2 small sprigs curry leaves
2 green chili
1 or 2 dry red chilies (optional, but recommended as are very pretty floating in the yellow kadhi)
3 tbsp mustard oil or ghee or any vegetable oil
a pinch or two of asafoetida
 

Heat mustard oil on high until smoking (to remove the raw taste). Cool a bit, then add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add garlic ginger paste and green chili, cook for a few minutes, then add curry leaves and dry red chilies.

To finish:
Poor the yogurt mixture over the tempering, bring to a boil then simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add the pakoras (that will fit, there will be more on the side) to the top of the kadhi, cover and close the pan so they can soak in for a few minutes.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati rice.