From the Lahore Silent Dinner in Pakistan in 2016. Rich in spices, this dish is a thick yoghurt based curry, bright yellow in colour. We made it with Pakoras, but you can add different things to the Karhi sauce, one other favourite being spinach. In the tradition of serving many dishes together in Pakistan, it was served along side Palak Aloo (Spinach and Potato) Pathooray with Chana (Chickpeas and fried bread) Daal Makhani (Butter Lentils) plus naan and rice. An absolute feast, we ate it together on the roof of a building in the ‘New Food St’ Lahore, surrounded by the melodies arising from surrounding restaurants, and framed by the weaving bustling Gawalmandi or ‘Old Food Street’ area of the surrounds. We were, most likely, the only exclusively vegetarian meal in the neighbourhood, but the complex and enchanting culinary culture of Lahore remained vividly present in the absent of fleshy pieces.
120g chickpea flour
1 medium potato, diced small
1 a red or brown onion, diced
3/4 tsp red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp of baking soda
2 small hot green chillies, chopped (optional)
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
3/4 tsp salt
Place the chickpea flour in a bowl and mix in the salt, red chilli powder, baking soda, green chillies, and coriander leaves. Then add the water slowly and mix to make a batter. The consistency should be wet but not runny. Add the onion and potato to the mix and stir them through. If the batter is too liquid, you can add more flour or if it is too dry add more water and mix thoroughly.
Pakoras are traditionally deep fried. You can do that if you like, however these pakoras are baked as it is a healthier option.
Preheat the oven to 180°C in a fan forced oven. Cover an oven tray in greaseproof paper. Spoon out 1/2 tbsp of the mix into small piles. You should get about 18 pakoras. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the pakoras over and bake for a further 5 minutes. Take them out of the oven and set them aside.
1 1/2 cups natural yoghurt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
35 g chickpea flour
3-4 dried red chillies, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 small hot green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
Salt to taste
3 tbsp oil
Place the yoghurt in a bowl and add the chickpea flour, turmeric and salt. Whisk together until smooth.
Place 2 tbsp of oil in a pot or deep pan on medium heat and brown the onions slowly, not blackening them. This should take 15 – 20 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes and simmer for 10 mins.
In a separate smaller skillet heat 1 tbsp oil and add the fenugreek, mustard, cumin, red chillies, ginger and stir. Leave on the heat until the ginger is cooked (3-4 minutes) then transfer to the pan with the tomato and onions. Stir through and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the yoghurt mix to the pan, stir through and follow with 1.5 cups of water. Mix well. Let the sauce come to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the red chilli powder, green chillies, coriander leaves, salt and stir them through. Add a little more water if it is thickening too much. Place the pakoras in the sauce and stir them through. Leave to simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes until the pakoras are warmed through. Garnish with fresh coriander and green chillies.
Serve with white basmati rice.