Punjabi Kadhi Chawal is a tangy yogurt and chickpea-flour based curry served with steamed basmati rice. It is all-time favorite comfort food in many north-Indian homes. In this traditional dish from Punjab, a yogurt and chickpea-flour based curry, called Kadhi, is served over aromatic basmati rice, called Chawal. Here’s my one-pot Instant Pot recipe for kadhi with pot-in-pot rice.
In most Punjabi homes, chickpea flour fritters, called Pakora, are dunked in kadhi as well. There are several variations of this dish, but this style of serving Kadhi (curry) with Pakora (fritters) is commonly known as ‘Punjabi Kadhi‘, or Kadhi Pakora. This kadhi recipe is close to my heart, as it’s been passed on through many generations in my family.
No-Fry Kadhi Pakora Recipe (Fritters)
Even though the recipe for Kadhi is fairly generic, everyone has their own spin on it. My grandmother always cooked the kadhi and pakoras in mustard oil. My mom substitutes mustard oil with ghee, and also adds chopped onions to her pakoras, and sliced onions in the kadhi.
I customized it further and started adding chopped spinach to my pakoras in addition to the shallots/onions. I also started pan-frying the pakoras versus deep-frying them. This is my quick and healthy twist on this family favorite. Here’s the detailed recipe for No-Fry Pakoras (Fritters).
Stovetop Punjabi Kadhi Rice Recipe
- Follow step 1 as outlined below and make Kadhi in a sauce pot on medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium low flame.
- Following step 2, make rice in another sauce-pan on the stove-top, or, in the microwave. The ratio of rice-to-water is different than when cooking in a pressure cooker. Add 2 cups water to 1 cup of rice for both, stove-top, or microwave method.
- Follow step 4 and make the pan-fried pakoras and keep aside. You can deep fry these pakoras too.
- Bring everything together by simmering the pakoras in the kadhi for 2-3 minutes, so that they get soft and absorb some kadhi. Garnish with roasted cumin and cilantro, and serve warm over rice.
Pot-in-Pot (PIP) Cooking for the Rice & Kadhi Together
In this recipe, I made rice and kadhi in the same instant pot, using pot-in-pot technique. As shown in the video, I cook the kadhi in the main pot and rice in a smaller pot placed on a trivet, all in the same inner pot.
It’s not only a huge timer saver, but a super convenient way to make this a one-pot meal. Watch the video to see how easy it is to make Punjabi Kadhi Chawal (Yogurt Curry with Rice) using the PIP method.
Other Popular Punjabi Dishes from my Kitchen
- Sarson ka Saag (Spiced Mustard Greens)
- Rajma (Kidney Beans Curry)
- Chana Masala (Chickpeas curry)
- Punjabi Chole (tangy Chickpeas curry)
- Butter Chicken
- Paneer Makhani (Paneer Butter Masala)
- Palak Paneer
- Saag Chicken
Instant Pot Punjabi Kadhi & Rice | Kadhi Chawal
- 1½ cups low-fat plain yogurt (sour) can use whole milk too
- ½ cup besan (chickpea flour)
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne Adjust to taste
- 4 cups water add 5 cups if yogurt is too thick
- 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (Methi Seeds)
- 6-7 curry leaves : optional
- 1-2 green chillies whole. optional
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 1½ teaspoon salt
Onion-Spinach Pakoras (Fritters): skip for a simple kadhi
- 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1-2 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup water adjust for pancake batter-like consistency
- 1 cup baby spinach chopped
- 1 medium shallot chopped or sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil for pan-frying
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Assembling Kadhi in Instant Pot
- Add sifted chickpeas flour (besan) to the yogurt. Add salt, turmeric, cayenne and water. Using a hand blender or a wire whisk, mix everything well to form a smooth, lump-free batter.
- Melt ghee on SAUTE mode in Instant Pot. Add mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once the seeds begin to splutter (in a few seconds), add curry leaves (optional), green chillies and sliced shallots (or onions) and saute for one minute. Add the yogurt mix and stir well.
Pot-in-Pot Rice (optional)
- If making rice in the same pot, place the trivet in the instant pot. In a smaller bowl, combine rinsed rice, salt, water and oil. Place the bowl on the trivet.
- Close the lid. Cancel SAUTE. Select Manual/Pressure Cook and adjust to LOW pressure. Set vent to sealing position and cook for 6 minutes.
- Wait for 5 minutes before releasing the pressure manually. Open lid after pin drops and pressure has released. Remove rice and trivet.
- Select SAUTE. Add roasted cumin and stir. Add the pakoras and simmer for 2-3 minutes, till the pakoras get soft and soak some of the kadhi. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve warm, over rice.
No-Fry Pakoras (pan-fried fritters)(Optional)
- This step can be skipped if you like your kadhi plain. In a large mixing bowl, combine chickpeas flour (besan) with spices and baking soda. Add water and make a pancake consistency batter. Add chopped spinach and sliced shallots. Mix well.
- Heat a stuffed pancake pan on medium heat. Add about 1/2 a teaspoon of light olive oil, in each cavity.
- Using two spoons, add about a tablespoon of batter in each cavity. Cover the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side.
- Add a few more drops of oil on the pakoras and flip them. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. You can instead deep fry the pakoras as well.
Notes & Recipe Tips
- Sour Yogurt: Kadhi is made with yogurt that is slightly sour in flavor. If your yogurt is not sour to begin with, leave the yogurt at room temperature for 2 hours prior to making kadhi, OR, add a few drops of lemon juice after the kadhi starts simmering.
- Adding Pakoras: Punjabi Kadhi is mostly served with Pakora (fritters). If you want to skip that step, you can add store-bought boondi instead.
- Low Pressure: To prevent the yogurt from curdling, cook kadhi at low pressure. Alternatively, you can also cook it on SOUP mode.
- NPR for 5 mins, followed by QR: To prevent the hot kadhi from spitting out through the pressure valve while releasing pressure, it is recommended to let the pressure release naturally for 5minutes, followed by quick release.
- Estimated Total time: Prep: 5 mins, Saute: 1-2 mins, Pressure build-up time: 10 mins +/-Pressure cook time: 6mins, NPR: 5 mins, Saute: 2-3 mins. Pakora: 10-15 mins, I make Pakoras while the curry is cooking. Total time: Around 30 mins.