In a bowl take the sour curd and whisk it well till smooth
Add gram flour, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt to the whisked curd.
Stir and mix everything again.
Add 3 cups water and stir again.
Stir very well to make a smooth mixture without lumps. If there are lumps, then break them with a wired whisk or a spatula or with your fingers. Set the curd slurry aside.
You can use a blender to make this mixture, but make sure you don’t over do it. You will get butter instead of a smooth blended curd.
Making onion pakora
Take the gram flour in a bowl and add carom seeds, red chili powder, garam masala powder and salt.
Add 1 cup thinly sliced onions.
Mix everything well and set aside covered for 30 minutes.
This will allow the onions to release their water in the mixture. Depending on the water content in the onions, the mixture will become very moist or just about moist.
Then accordingly add water as required to make a thick batter. I added ¼ cup water.
Heat oil for deep frying in a pan or kadai. With a spoon or with your hands drop the pakora batter in the oil.
When the pakora are partly cooked, then turn over and fry the other side.
Fry till the pakora are crisp and golden.
Remove the fried pakora and place them on a kitchen paper towel so that extra oil is absorbed. Fry the pakora in batches this way. When done set all of them aside.
In another pan or kadai, heat mustard oil. Make sure to use a large bottomed pot so that while boiling, the kadhi does not spill.
Add the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Allow the cumin seeds to crackle and the fenugreek seeds to change their color. Fry on a low flame, so that these spices do not get burnt.
Add chopped onion. Stir and sauté for 3 minutes on a low flame.
Then add chopped ginger, chopped garlic and chopped green chillies. Stir and sauté for a minute.
Now add curry leaves, dry red chilies (halved or broken). Stir and sauté for a minute on a low flame.
Then add the curd slurry.
Stir very well.
Increase the flame to medium and bring the kadhi to a boil. Keep on stirring often so that the bottom does not get browned. Time taken to cook kadhi will be around 14 to 16 minutes.
After the kadhi has come to a boil, then lower the flame and simmer for more 6 to 7 minutes. The kadhi will thicken.
If the kadhi becomes too thick, then add some hot water.
Making kadhi pakora
Now add the onion pakora to the kadhi and stir gently.
Cover with a lid and let the onion pakora be soaked in it for 8 to 10 minutes.
Lastly sprinkle some garam masala powder.
Serve kadhi pakora with steamed rice or cumin rice, topped with few teaspoonfuls of ghee. You could also have kadhi with roti or paratha.
Curd (yogurt): For the kadhi recipe, use full fat sour curd or sour yogurt made from whole milk. If the curd is not sour, then the kadhi won't be sour, but the taste will still be good. To make the curd sour, you could add ½ to 1 teaspoon amchur powder (dry mango powder) or a bit of lemon juice.
Fats: Use mustard oil if possible for deep frying onion pakora and for the kadhi. Mustard oil gives a pungent sharp taste and flavor. If you do not have mustard oil, then use a neutral oil like sunflower oil.
Baking Pakora: You could also bake the pakora instead of frying them. Bake them in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius until the pakora are crisp and golden. For baking Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in the batter and do not make it very moist but keep it a bit wet and not dry.
Curry leaves: Don't skip on curry leaves, as you will know that something is missing from the kadhi pakora recipe.
Gram flour: Use good quality gram flour (besan). You could also use chickpea flour in place of gram flour.
Prep work: The onion pakora can be made earlier and set aside.
Cooking kadhi: Use a large bottomed pot for making the kadhi pakora recipe. The kadhi froths while cooking and can overflow if you use a small pot.
Pakora texture: To make softer pakora, add some more water in the batter. In this case, add the pakora to the kadhi, just before serving. If added earlier to the kadhi, then the pakora become too soft and mushy. Some folks do not like mushy and soft pakora in the Punjabi kadhi. In this case the pakora can be a little hard - so add little or no water to the batter.