Methi Pakoda Kadhi is the Hindi name for this dish. I think that sounds better than Fried Chickpea Flour Balls in Yogurt Sauce, which is what it literally means. Methi Pakoda Kadhi certainly rolls off the tongue better. This recipe comes from a weekly newsletter sent out by TarlaDalal.com, an Indian cooking site. I have translated some of the differences in names of items from Indian English to American English, and have adapted it a little bit after making it three times in three weeks. It originally called for methi (fenugreek) leaves, and as I have only ever seen them frozen in the U.S., I have changed them to cilantro leaves. Well, also, having eaten methi greens after purchasing them the only time I have seen them in the U.S. was part of the reason I changed it, too. They tasted like grass clippings.
The last time I made this recipe, I left the pakodas the same, and doubled all of the kadhi ingredients except for the seasonings (on which I went 1.5 times the written quantity) and added a can of Muir Glen tomato paste, 1 T. of sugar, and a handful of chopped cilantro leaves at the end, to make a Tamatar Pakoda Kadhi. It was good.
For the pakodas:
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt, beaten
3/4 cup besan (chickpea flour, available in bulk at many Whole Foods or bagged at your local Indian or Pakistani grocery)
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
For the kadhi:
1 cup fresh yogurt, beaten
2 tablespoons besan (chickpea flour)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
a pinch asafoetida
5 curry leaves
1/3 cup onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon oil
salt & pepper to taste
oil for deep frying
For the pakodas, combine all the ingredients and mix into a thick batter, using a little water. Deep fry spoonfuls of the batter in hot oil, till they are golden brown in colour. Drain on absorbent paper. (Okay, I know those ingredients leave a lot out. Use 1-2 T. water. Mix well. Make the balls about 1/2 tsp. Use two spoons to do it – don’t try to get your hands in this batter. It’s sticky and recalcitrant. The pakoda will puff up in the oil & will end up bigger. Cook 6-8 of them at a time. Flip them when they are brown on one side, and fry until they are a russet color. A deep small pan is fine – no need to have a deep fryer for this amount of batter.)
For the kadhi, mix the yogurt and gram flour in a bowl, add 1 cup of water and whisk well till no lumps remain. Keep aside. Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, onions and garlic and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are well softened. Add the curds and gram flour mixture, turmeric powder and salt and bring to a boil over a slow flame. Reduce to a simmer, toss in the pakodas, and let them soften for a few minutes off the heat. Serve over basmati rice.