A North Indian delicacy, “Kadhi”, is traditionally made with chickpea flour, deep fried fritters, and dairy yogurt, served with rice or flatbreads. After becoming vegan for the last 5 years, I had completely given up on the idea of ever eating kadhi again.
Driven by my longing to enjoy this favorite dish of mine, I recently embarked on a mission to create a dairy-free version. Using almonds for creaminess, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar for sourness, chickpea flour as thickener, and protein-packed lentil crepes, I was able to create a vegan kadhi that tastes just like the original!
Kadhi can be enjoyed with fresh whole wheat flatbreads or over brown rice with pickled onions. A drizzle of chili oil adds just the right touch of spice and color while chopped cilantro adds freshness. Plant-based ingredients like almonds, chickpea flour and lentils provide great calcium and protein, while lemon and apple cider vinegar promote gut health.
I really get a kick seeing the reaction of my friends and family when I tell them this kadhi is dairy-free! Try this savory North Indian delight and it will soon become your favorite as well!
1/2 cup almonds (soaked overnight)
1/4 cup chickpea flour (called besan in India)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Pinch of asafetida (called hing in India)
1 cinnamon stick
1 dry red chili
7-8 fresh curry leaves(called karipata in India)
3 tbsp apple cider
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon sea salt
6 cups water
Lentil Crepe (called Dal Chilla in India):
1/2 cup yellow moong lentils
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (degi mirch)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 inch ginger piece
1 green chilies chopped (optional)
Sea salt to taste
Soak 1/2 cup almonds overnight and peel all the almonds the next day.
Place all the peeled almonds in a blender (Vitamix preferred) with 1/2 cup warm water to make a paste. Blend it well making sure it’s smooth and creamy.
Add 4 cups of water in the blender along with chickpea flour, tumeric, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Blend everything well. Keep it aside.
Heat a stainless steel pot. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil in it.
Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let the mustard seeds pop, making sure the spices don't burn (my rule of thumb is to let the mustard seeds get hot in oil and while they are popping, I take them away from stove). Add cloves, cinamon stick, dry red chill, asafoetida and curry leaves.
Pour the blended almond-chickpea mixture in the pan. Add 2 more cups of water. Keep stirring on medium heat until it boils. Stiring is critical in this step as the mixture can separate.
Once the mixture starts boiling, let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat.
In the meantime, prepare the lentil crepes.
Soak the yellow moong lentils for 30 minutes in water.
Drain the lentils. Add them to the blender with 1/4 cup water along with a 1/2 inch piece of ginger. Blend well until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the mixture in a bowl. Add the red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin, garam masala, asafoetida and salt to it. Give it a mix.
Heat a non stick pan. The trick to good lentil crepes is making sure the pan is nice and hot. To check the heat, sprinkle a little water on it. When the water drops sizzle, it means pan is ready.
Pour a laddle of lentil mixture on the pan. Try to smooth it out from all sides with the back of a spoon.
Add a bit of oil around the sides and on top. Once the bottom crepe gets brown, flip it and cook on the other side.
Prepare all the crepes until the batter is finished. Keep it aside.
Once the crepes are cool, break them up into mini pieces and add them to the kadhi.
Let the kadhi cook for another 15-20 minutes with the crepe pieces on low heat. If the kadhi is too thick, you can add little water to it.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder (degi mirch). Mix it well and switch off the stove.
When ready to service, put the kadhi in a bowl, drizzle some chili oil on top and garnish it with chopped cilantro.
Enjoy the kadhi with rice or freshly made whole wheat rotis!