Every region of India has it's own variation of this dish. Kadi as is it commonly known is a comforting dish made with sour yogurt and it is thickened with chickpea flour to prevent curdling when yogurt is cooked. It is a great way of using up yogurt that has gone sour. There are many variations of this dish based on the region you belong to. In north India, typically deep fried chickpea fritters are added to it and it is very thick and spicy. In western India, it is typically very light, sometimes slightly sweet and less spicy. In south India, they add vegetables, spices and coconut also.
In Andhra, it is called Majjiga pulusu. It is a spicy, thick soup with lots of vegetables like opo squash/ bottle gourd, carrots, beans, ash gourd/ winter melon, drumsticks and tomatoes to name a few. It is spiced with ginger, green chillies, black pepper and coriander seeds. Ghee is tempered with curry leaves, asafetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. It is a wonderful, spicy aromatic preparation.
Some combinations were just meant to be. The pairings of traditional dishes has always amazed me. I don't always follow the rules, because I am impulsive and not well planned, but on the days I do, I see the brilliance of my ancestors. This dish is paired with a simple roasted and cooked toor dal. It is called 'veyinchina pappu', which translates to roasted dal and that's exactly what it is. Dry lentils are slow roasted till aromatic and then cooked. After they are cooked, they are mashed and salt is added as per taste. As simple as that. This dal pairs wonderfully with majjiga pulusu and steaming hot rice.
Ash gourd / winter melon - 1 cup diced along with the skin
Opo squash (bottle gourd / lauki) - 1 cup peeled and diced
Carrots - 1/2 cup peeled and diced
Green beans - 1/2 cup cut into 1 inch pieces
Tomato - 1 medium diced
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - one spring (4-5 leaves)
Salt to taste
For the blender:
Ginger - 1 tsp (a small chunk)
Green chillies - 2 (as per taste)
Besan (chickpea flour) - 2 tbsp.
Plain yogurt (not fat free, whole milk or low fat is preferable) - 2 cups
Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Coconut (fresh or frozen) - 2 tbsp.
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Asafetida (hing) - a few pinches
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4tsp.
Dry red chillies - 1-2 as per taste
Curry leaves - 1 sprig (4 to 5)
Ghee - 1 tbsp.
Place opo squash in a big pot and add enough water to fully submerge them.
Start boiling the opo squash, once the water starts boiling, add ash gourd, green beans and carrots and continue cooking.
If the water level is less, add a little more water till the veggies are just about submerged.
Once the opo squash starts looking a little translucent, add tomatoes and continue cooking till they are thoroughly cooked.
You could also cook the veggies in a pressure cooker, it will be faster.
I start cooking opo squash first because it takes the longest to cook.
In a blender, add all the ingredients in for the blender and pulse a few times. It does not have to be a smooth liquid. Do not over mix it. Fat will start separating from the yogurt and we do not want that.
In a sauce pan, add the liquid in the blender and start cooking it.
Add curry leaves and turmeric and stir continuously.
Keep cooking and stirring at regular intervals so that the mixture does not curdle.
Once it comes to a boil, add the veggies along with the cooking liquid.
Continue cooking till it reaches another boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add salt to taste, mix well and stop cooking.
In a small pan, heat the tbsp. of ghee, add the rest of the ingredients in for seasoning and fry till they are sizzling, once the mustard seeds start spluttering and fenugreek seeds start browning, add this mix to the pot of kadi and cover immediately with a lid so that the flavors don't escape.
Enjoy with steaming hot rice and plain dry roasted and cooked toor dal.
Dry Roasted toor dal:
Toor dal is slow roasted till aromatic and a few of the lentils look a light toasty brown. Do not over roast. They will taste bitter. They toast best in an iron pan or a heavy bottom pan. Once they are roasted, wash and cook like you would normally cook dal. Toor dal is best cooked in a pressure cooker. If using one cup of dry dal, use two cups of water and cook in pressure cooker. The number of whistles will depend on the type of cooker used. Once the pressure cooker cools down and the steam is released, open the lid and season with salt to taste. Done. It's that simple!
You don't have to use the same vegetables that I have used. Typically opo squash (lauki) , drumsticks and tomatoes are added,but most veggies taste great. An unexpected veggie that goes well in this dish is green pepper (capsicum). My mom's friend would add it and it tastes great.