Instant Pot Punjabi Kadhi Recipe | Kadhi Chawal (Yogurt Curry with Rice)

February 18, 2018 (Updated: February 13, 2020) By Aneesha |

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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.

Punjabi kadhi or Yogurt curry with onion-spinach fritters served in a fancy container

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).

Onion spinach pakoras or fritters being made in a pan, without frying

Stovetop Punjabi Kadhi Rice Recipe

In the video above, I have made this vegetarian recipe in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot using the Pot-in-Pot method, but this easy recipe can be made on the stove-top too. Here’s how:

  • 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.
Punjabi Kadhi chawal or yogurt curry top view with a side of rice in background

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 mealWatch 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

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Punjabi Kadhi chawal, yogurt curry made in the Instant Pot, served in a copper bowl

Instant Pot Punjabi Kadhi & Rice | Kadhi Chawal

Punjabi Kadhi with rice is a delicious yogurt and chickpeas-flour based curry, called Kadhi, with chickpeas-flour fritters, called Pakoras, served over aromatic basmati rice, called Chawal!   This is a one-pot Instant pot recipe for a classic north-Indian comfort food.
4.6 from 20 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
NPR: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 249kcal



  • 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)
  • teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup basmati rice rinsed 2-3 times, soaked for 10 mins
  • cup water
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Onion-Spinach Pakoras (Fritters): skip for a simple kadhi




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.

Pressure Cook

  • 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

Recipe Tips:

  1. 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. 
  2. Adding Pakoras: Punjabi Kadhi is mostly served with Pakora (fritters). If you want to skip that step, you can add store-bought boondi instead. 
  3. Low Pressure: To prevent the yogurt from curdling, cook kadhi at low pressure.  Alternatively, you can also cook it on SOUP mode.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates and do not include rice.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.


Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 1592mg | Potassium: 436mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 786IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: instant pot kadhi, instant pot kadhi chawal, kadhi chawal, punjabi kadhi
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Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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