Kadhi Palak - Spinach in spiced yogurt curry

When I got married four years ago, I knew very little cooking. Had stepped in the kitchen at my parents' place only for making maggi and tea or when I wanted to make my mom extra special. Not that I made anything special, just that my helping out in kitchen was good enough. So naturally after marriage cooking was like an acid test. And with fear to fail, I tried to be stay in the sidelanes. And stepped in forefront only to cook my hubby's preference of dishes, which were not made by my mom-in-law like pasta, noodles, mushroom etc. And this used to ease my tension since it was eaten rarely by my in laws, while it helped me practice my cooking. Over time I started broadening my horizons and tried making almost all the dishes cooked at my in-laws house. Except for few of the signature dishes of my mom-in-law, and topping this list was "kadhi". It's such a favourite dish that I believe it's made at least once in 10 days. Yet I had been skeptical to even try it. And when I did I thought nothing can be simpler than this.

Kadhi is a very popular Indian curry made of spiced yogurt or buttermilk and gramflour (besan). The most popular version of this is the Punjabi kadhi pakoda, where deep fried dumpling/ pakodas of besan is added to the kadhi. But since my husband would not even touch that, other versions like "kadhi-palak" and "kadhi-boondi" are made at his home. I like this the best since spinach is my all time favourite. And it adds a healthy factor to the kadhi. 

Kadhi Palak Recipe
Serves 2

Buttermilk - 1 cup
Warm Water - 1 cup
Besan - 1 1/2 tbsp
Chopped spinach leaves - 1/3 cup
Asafoetida (Hing) - A pinch
Black mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek (methi) seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilly - 1-2
Salt - As per taste
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/3 tsp
Red Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1tbsp
Kasuri methi - 1/2 tsp

  • Mix buttermilk and water with gramflour, till no lumps remain

  • Heat oil in a deep pan/ kadahi. Add asafoetida, dry chilly and  1/3 of mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add methi seeds. Saute for a while till it changes color. Don't overcook else it will turn bitter

  • Add chopped spinach. Saute it for 2-3 mins with a pinch of salt. Spinach will quickly wilt away

  • Then add the buttermilk mixture slowly. If it gets too thick (it should be thin at this point, because it will thicken later), then slowly add little water

  • Bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Then put the flame on simmer and add salt, chilly powder and coriander powder

  • Crush kasuri methi with your fingertips and add to the kadhi. Keep stirring to ensure it doesn't stick to the base and cook on low heat for 5-7 mins

  • Heat ghee in a small tadka/ tempering bowl. Add remaining mustard seeds. When that splutters, add a pinch of red chilly powder. Immediately add this to the kadhi and cover the lid. This will intensify the flavours. 

  • Serve hot with rice

  • If using yogurt, in place of buttermilk, beat the yogurt well, else it will separate while cooking. Also I feel that buttermilk has that tang that fresh curd doesn't have

  • I used frozen spinach, so I had to thaw it before cooking

  • Many people like to add cumin & fennel also in the tempering. While others like to add minced ginger and tomatoes. I like to add kasuri methi and curry leaves. So you can add your variation to it

  • In the same way you can make kadhi with finely chopped carrot or just onions. Or you can make kadhi and then add boondi, with which you make boondi raita.

Sending this as my entry to Vegetable a month event being hosted by Rasoi, originally started by Priya.

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