30 January 2007

Kadhi Pakoras (Chickpea Dumplings in Yogurt Sauce)

I have a compulsive inability to let food go to waste. I scrape up anything leftover in a dish, no matter how small, and tuck it away in the refrigerator. Consequently, our fridge is often littered with little tiny bits of cheese, a lone half apple, victims of my parsimony. I scheme creative ways to combine them all into a meal, unable to simply let that cheese rind go.

So that little bit of chickpea flour leftover from a botched attempt at some sort of dosi? I couldn't just let it go to waste, no, it called to me from the back of the cabinet, crumpled and shoved behind the more popular flours. 'Find a way to use me,' it pleaded.

And so the quest began, because I couldn't just use the chickpea flour, I had to find some interesting-unfamiliar-hopefully tasty- but really who knows- recipe. As I browsed recipes for boondi raita and parathas and pakoras, I realized I was way out of my league. Asofetida? Methi? What have I gotten myself into.

Finally, I picked a recipe for kadhi pakoras (chickpea fritters in yogurt sauce) that seemed pretty straight-forward. But even then, could I leave well enough alone and just follow the directions? Of course not. The dumplings were supposed to be fried but I decided they would be lighter and friendlier if boiled. And I added a bit of cooked chickpeas which were also in the begging-to-be-finished-off leftovers arena, figuring that chickpeas go with, well chickpeas.

If you are by now seriously doubting the efficacy of the recipe- well, have a little faith people! It actually came out quite nicely, and the dumplings had a fluffy texture reminscent of matzo balls, bathed in a creamy yogurt sauce. If I did them again I might up the spice mixture a bit, or add some greens to the dumplings, but all in all it was perfect for a simple weeknight meal, and for cleaning the cabinets.


Kadhi Pakoras (Chickpea Dumplings in Yogurt Sauce)
This recipe is very much a work in progress, it needs to be tested a few more times to work the kinks out. So if you try it, be forewarned it might not be perfect, but I'd love to hear your feedback!

for pakoras (dumplings):
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbl chopped onion
1/3 cup cooked chickpeas, plus more for serving
1 tsp cumin
pinch salt

for kadhi (yogurt sauce):
1 generous cup plain yogurt
2 tbl flour
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp good quality curry powder

for serving:
chopped spinach or parsley

- Heat a pot of water so that it is just simmering. Sift together the chickpea flour and baking powder. In a food processor, pulse the remaining ingredients (chickpeas, onions, cumin and salt) until pureed. Add 1/2 cup water to the chickpea flour, stir to combine, then stir in the chickpea puree. Beat the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon, trying to encorporate as much air as possible. Form the batter into balls with a spoon, they don't have to be perfect. Drop the balls into the simmering water as you form them, put only ~4 in the pot at a time to prevent over crowding. Cook the dumplings until they float and are puffy and cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a towel. Continue until all the dough is used up.

- In a saucepan off the heat, combine the yogurt, flour, garlic, turmeric, mustard and curry powder and stir vigorously until the mixture is very smooth and shiny. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for only a few minutes until the yogurt is warm and thick. Do not let it boil or it will curdle! It is very important to keep stirring it in a circular motion to prevent curdling. Remove from the heat and add the dumplings. Serve with chopped greens and extra chickpeas sprinkled over the top.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I just tried making these...and it was, shall we say, something less than a success. My sauce wasn't anywhere as creamy as yours in the pictures, and my dumplings were much paler. They pretty much started out floating; about how long did you leave them in the water to cook?