Monday, 17 June 2013

Dapka Kadhi : Moong dumplings in Yogurt gravy

I met a long lost friend last weekend and since then it’s that Teenage-y fever I am on. My heart getting all very nostalgic with all those College memories coming back… Hostels, crazy roomies, movies and then late night snacking. It was all so much fun, and past ! This friend of mine, we did a lot of those “first” activities together. Like first day in college, first class bunk, first night out with friends, first “trial fag” and first cough hysteria after that.. Err.. OK let’s not go there, but yes this friend does hold a very special place in my life. The best part with meeting an old friend is that you can talk endlessly on topics you never even knew existed. I feel the same with her, we kept on chatting till mid night and then suddenly remembered our mid-night snacks thing. And then had 2 packs of maggi and some Egg Rusks with Ginger-chai just to re-live those moments. We had a heavy dinner too, which altogether made our stomachs upset the next morning but that’s a separate topic of consideration.

Once we went together on a trip to Hrishikesh with a bunch of other mates, a total of 16 people we were. While we were at Garhwaal, we stayed in a guest house called Aangan. I am not sure if that place still exists, we only booked it since it was cheap and also since we couldn't get anything else at last minute. The owner of the guest house, Ranjan Kaka had a sort of personality I would never ever forget in my life. We stayed with him for 4 days and we all worshipped him and hung on his every word. He was the most mellow guy I've  ever met, fifty-ish or may be older, who’d done everything from attending Harvard to founding his own company and going bust, to sailing around the world and ending up on Garhwaal where he married a local girl. He would sit every night with us for a bonfire getting gently stoned ( I secretly believed it ! ) and telling people about the time he had lunch with Rajiv Gandhi and turned down his job offer to join his Party. He’d had so many adventures, and he was so wise. I even remember myself staring at him during one of those nights with amusement and him motivating me with some really amazing stuff, ( I can’t remember exactly what now, but it was amazing.... I think !)

But anyway, so all these stories crept up and we went all emotional and sniffy over the lost time. And to pacify our upset stomachs, we had this Dapka Kadhi the next day. Kadhi, since made up of Gram flour and yogurt, the two ingredients which balance out the warmth and cold taseer of each other is very good for upset stomach and headaches. And specially this Dapka Kadhi, since doesn’t involve any sort of frying unlike the Punjabi KadhiPakora is even more healthy and light on stomach.

I like the yogurt based gravies in my menu. Every now and then I do prepare something with yogurt as base, specially Guajarati or Rajasthani cuisine. It keeps the gravy light yet provides that richness and also balances out the pungent spices too. This Dapka Kadhi is one such dish which can be kept virtually fat free, like really without fat. If you don’t do any Tadka into it, it will be a zero-oil complete  meal in itself. It has Protein from Moong daal, Carbs from Gram flour and calcium and minerals from yogurt and other ingredients used. Initially I thought that the Dapkas, i.e. the steamed/boiled balls of Moong Daal would not taste that good since they are not fried, but food never stops surprising me. This was as wonderful as its fried friend Pakora Kadhi, rather better since steamed balls were melting in mouth. Try this as a variation to the usual Kadhi and  dal every day, it teams up very well with a  Simple potato side dish and  Lemon Rice or Lachha Paranthas. 

The preparation is really simple, and takes no time if you just soak and blend the Moong Daal 2-3 hours ago. The yogurt used should be sour to get the full flavours out, but if you don’t have it I use a really easy method to make it sour and that also squeezes out the best taste from the spices, keeping the oil usage at minimum. I beat the yogurt with all the spices, like coriander powder, salt, turmeric and red chili powder, along with ginger-garlic paste and heeng. And then leave it for 2-3 hours, and it gets sour good enough. Sometimes I also mix tomato Puree to this one, or even blended  onion. The options are infinite, and you can tweak them as per your choice and your extent of experimenting with flavours. 

What you need?

For Kadhi:
2 cups Yogurt
2 tbsp Gram flour – besan
5 cups Water
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (optional)
1 tsp each of Salt, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder each
A big pinch of Asafoetida ( heeng)

For Dapka:
1/3 cup Moong Daal – washed and soaked in enough water for 2-3 hours
2-3 green chillies
A small piece of ginger
½ tsp salt
3-4 seeds of Fenugreek – methi seeds
A pinch of Baking soda – optional and to be added after blending

For Tempering:
2-3 green chilies
1 tsp cumin seeds
5-6 curry leaves
½ tsp Mustard seeds

1 tsp Red chili powder (optional )

For garnish:
A sprig of Coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi (optional)
1 tsp Garam Masala ( optional, and totally depends on your taste ) 

 How to Make? 

Thoroughly wash dal and soak for 4 hours. Drain and keep aside.
Add rest of the ingrdients and grind to a fine but thick batter of dropping consistency. Add water only if required. Keep the batter aside for 20 minutes

In a pan, mix yogurt, gram flour and water. Whisk it to a smooth liquid. Add rest of the ingredients and keep on the flame.
On a low flame, stir the liquid continuously till it comes to a boil, take care no lumps should be formed. I usually give this liquid mixture a pulse in the food processor before keeping for boiling, so it remains smooth.
On a low flame, heat oil and ghee in a ladle for tempering. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. As they crackle, add asafoetida, curry leaves  and rest of the tempering ingrdients. Pour it to the boiling kadhi, mix well and stir.. Boil till the curry thickens slightly, keeping on the medium flame

After say around 10-12 minutes when the Kadhi gets thicker, drop the batter dumplings to it. Use your fingertips or a rounded spoon, make small dumplings from the batter. Add them directly to the simmering kadhi.
Cook for a few minutes till they start to float. This will take around 10-12 minutes

Stir gently, to avoid dabkas from sticking to the bottom of the pan, turn off..  Garnish with fresh cilantro and Kasuri Methi and serve hot.

My Notes:
  • For the tempering, you can use any oil but Ghee or Mustard oil are the two best things to use for the same in this Kadhi.
  • The dumplings can be deep fried separately in oil, that will bring an entirely different flavour. You can even steam them separately in  microwave, for 5-6 minutes or the usual idli steamer for 210 minutes. Add baking soda in this case, else the batter will split up.
  • Always add the dumplings straight  to the boiling kadhi and not when you have turned off the flame. If you are adding the dumplings a few hours later you have prepared the Kadhi, reheat it and bring it to the boiling point and then add the dumplings else they will remain uncooked from inside.
  • Here, I have used plain yellow Mung dal, you can also use green Moong for this preparation, soak it longer in warm water though to get the desired result.
  • Consistency of kadhi depends on individual liking, hence adjust the water accordingly. I like it very thick

This was the challenge for ICC this month - Indian Cooking Challenge started and hosted by Srivalli


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