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kadhi pakora in a bowl

Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

Punjabi kadhi pakora is the perfect vegetarian comfort food from North India. Chickpea flour fritters (pakoras) are dipped in a thick and tangy yogurt sauce (kadhi), and the kadhi is served with white Basmati rice for a complete meal called kadhi chawal (rice).
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword karhi pakora, punjabi kadhi
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 392kcal


  • Medium-sized Pyrex bowl
  • Wire whisk or fork
  • Frypan or wok for frying the pakoras
  • Large saucepan or Instant Pot
  • Small frypan for tempering


Fritters or pakoras

  • 1 cup chickpea flour besan
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup red onion chopped or sliced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • water as needed
  • vegetable oil as needed for frying


  • 1 ½ cups chickpea flour besan
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 6 cups water
  • ¼ cup mustard oil smoked
  • 2 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste


  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 dried red chillies


Fry the pakoras

  • Take the chickpea flour in a large bowl and add chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, sea salt and baking powder. Add a few of tablespoons water gradually and whisk to form a thick batter.
  • Divide this batter into two bowls. Add the chopped onions to one part and cauliflower florets to the other. Make sure the vegetables are well coated with the batter.
  • Heat oil in a skillet or karahi (Indian wok) and drop teaspoonfuls of batter in the oil. Fry over a medium heat until golden. Remove from the hot oil and set aside.

Make the sauce

  • Tip in the chickpea flour, ground spices (chilli powder, turmeric, coriander) and salt in a bowl. Add the yogurt and mix with a wire whisk to make a smooth paste. Add the water and whisk again slightly.

Cook the sauce to make the kadhi

  • Heat the mustard oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and add the ginger garlic paste. Add ¼ cup water and fry the paste until cooked (3 minutes).
  • Add the yogurt mixture you prepared earlier and increase the heat to high. Cook until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir continuously in a circular motion with a wooden spoon.
  • Lower the heat and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir frequently to make sure the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom. When the liquid thickens and becomes a smooth sauce, the kadhi is cooked.

Add the pakoras to the kadhi

  • Add the pakoras or fritters to the kadhi and cook for a couple of minutes on low heat so that the fritters absorb some of the sauce. Pour the kadhi in a deep serving dish.

Add the tempering (tadka)

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a small frypan and add the mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds start popping, add the dried red chillies. Pour this spice-infused oil carefully over the kadhi and serve hot with steamed rice.

Instant pot method

  • Make the pakoras exactly as explained in the stovetop recipe.
  • Make the sauce exactly as explained in the stovetop recipe.
  • Select the sauté function (normal) on your instant pot and add the mustard oil to the steel insert. Once the oil heats up, add the ginger and garlic paste. Add ¼ cup water and stir for 3 minutes until the paste is cooked. Cancel sauté.
  • Add the sauce you prepared earlier and mix everything with a large spoon. Secure the lid and make sure the steam release vent is sealed. Press the pressure cook button (high) and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer beeps, do a natural release (approximately another 15 minutes). Open the pot, and if you feel that the kadhi is thicker than you want, add some water to thin it out. Cook through for a couple of minutes on sauté again.
  • Add the pakoras to the kadhi. They will soften and absorb the sauce pretty quickly.
  • Finally, prepare the tempering exactly as explained in the stovetop recipe, and you're done. Serve the kadhi with some freshly cooked Basmati rice.


  1. The batter for making the pakoras should be thick so that the pakoras turn out round and plump. 
  2. Fry the pakoras in medium-hot oil to cook them well from inside.
  3. See the subheading 'Variations' in the body of the post if you want to make plain besan pakoras without any vegetables. 
  4. Use plain yogurt for making kadhi. Do NOT use flavored or sweetened yogurt.  
  5. Ideally, the yogurt should be slightly sour. 
  6. Stir the sauce constantly while cooking it on the stovetop.
  7. Leftover kadhi can become quite thick when kept in the fridge. While reheating, simply add a little water and cook for a few minutes. It will become smooth again.


Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 718mg | Potassium: 689mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 3mg