I would wait for my Mother to make kadhi and khichadi or just kadhi, I loved sipping hot kadhi, in fact, if my Mother would allow it, I would make a meal of only that, like soup, warm, filling and oh-so-very-tasty!
Just when I thought there was no match for Kadhi, Lisa(my BFF) made a face and declared, "this is not kadhi", laying particular emphasis on the not. I was stunned into silence. I slowly put down my spoon, un-sipped and stared and stupidly said, " is too". She shook her head and looked mulish, as did I. Neither would budge. We both loved 'our' kadhi.
Then one day, when Lisa's elder sister was away, and so we decided to make the 'real kadhi' as she called it. I shrugged and stood by her side. She got our several items, all of which looked like they belonged to some really, really long and tedious recipe, not kadhi! After much persuasion, she agreed to adding besan (chickpea flour) to the yogurt. Something in common, I said to myself!
Then what happened, neither knows, but all sorts of things went into it, the color and odor (yes, yes, odor.. if you had seen what all went into that sauce pan, you'd say odor too) changed with the addition of every spice. Finally, with a shadow of a doubt in her voice, Lisa pulled out a packet of Sambar Masala and looked at it. She sniffed at it and almost triumphantly said, "this is the last ingredient". "North meets South Kadhi, Lisa?"
She arched her eyebrow and said, "Delhi mein aisa hi banta hai, Pallu" (That the way we make it in Delhi). I shrugged again.
The final outcome, neither ate that day. The taste was appalling and killed any desire of even ordering , as we would have otherwise done.
Years later I tasted the real thing. To this day, Lisa and I share a laugh over the 'kadhi' we made in her sister's kitchen. By the way, Lisa makes awesome kadhi now!
Over the years I have tasted several versions of kadhi, from different regions of India. Then one day, over a year ago, I tasted yet another version, without yogurt this time, which totally tickled my taste buds and left me craving for more!
My dear friend, Dipali, made this version and shared the recipe with me. It has taken a while to be featured on the blog only because I did not have a decent picture of it.
It was Kokum Kadhi. It was a Khandeshi preparation, she told me. I admit, I know nothing about this cuisine, despite the fact that it is in Maharashtra! So many things to learn!
Right around Diwali this year, I was lucky to have met 3 other bloggers, who live around the Dallas area. We met at Supriya's home, Richa, Jaya and I. It was a fun evening and of course good food!
Supriya gave us a goody bag and among other things was a Ziploc containing Kokam/ Amsool and as you can guess, I had to make Kokum Kadhi with it.
The Kokum Supriya gave me are SO good! If you soak them in warm water the color released is the true,'amsooli' color!
In an odd way, I was glad I had not blogged about this recipe earlier, maybe it was because I wanted to show you all the real color the kadhi should be!
Thank you Dipali and Supriya!
This kadhi pairs well with steaming hot white rice as well as with Moogachi khichadi.
Here's how you make it.
7-8 pieces of Kokum
1 tsp. Besan (chickpea flour)
1 Tbsp. Ghee
1 tsp each Mustard seed and Cumin seed
1 Green chili
dash of Asafetida
Few curry leaves
1 tsp ( or less, as per taste) Red chilies powder
Jaggery, a biggish lump ( you need to adjust the quantity to balance the sweet and sour taste)
Salt to taste
Cilantro, to garnish
Boil water and soak the Kokum in it, overnight.
The next day, using your fingers, squeeze the kokum and strain the water and discard the solids.
Add the chickpea flour to the kokum water and stir well, ensure there are no lumps.
Heat ghee in a sauce pan.
Add mustard seeds and after they pop, add the cumin seeds.
*Though Dipali has not mentioned it, I add a dash of asafetida (hing)
Add the green chili and the red chili powder and *curry leaves.
Add the kokum-besan mixture and add 1 cup water and mix.
Once it comes to a boil, add salt and jaggery to taste.
Let it boil for a minute or so.
Garnish with chopped Cilantro.
Serve ladled over piping hot white rice.