Memon Green Coconut Curry (Kadhi)
Kadhi (pronounced Karhi) is a popular Indian dish that has a thick chickpea based gravy with vegetable fritters or chicken, and yogurt is added to give it a creamy acidic taste. After the separation of India, many South Asian's adapted their own versions of the delicious dish. Memon's (a subgroup of South Asians) adapted many different cuisines to create their own. (Read about my people in my previous post) They have a big influence from Burma and made their own variation of Kadhi (Karhi). Instead of using the usual chickpea flour to thicken the gravy they use an assortment of dry lentils and nuts. And for the base, instead of using water and yogurt, they went with the Burmese influence and used yogurt with coconut milk.
This dish is an all-around favorite in our home. It was a favorite of mine growing up, a no fuss dish my kids will eat in a heartbeat, and the ONE dish I make sure is on the menu when my brother-in-law visits.
You want to start with the thickening agent of the dish. Nuts! I use dry roasted black chickpeas (skin off), peeled almonds, and shelled/skinned peanuts. Just add them all to your food processor and finely grind them and then set them aside. **This Nut Masala can be stored in a resealable bag for up to 6 months and used as needed. Use it to thicken Kadhis, Kormas, and even gravy or sauces. **Nut Allergies? Just substitute the amount of Nut Masala for Chickpea Flour
Next you want to add yogurt, coconut milk, salt, a pinch of cilantro, and Serrano peppers to a blender. I used only one Serrano pepper (seeds and all) because I was making this for the kids, but if you like spicy I would go ahead with 2 or 3.
And the last thing you want to add to the mixture is freshly ground cumin and coriander. Then give it a go and make sure it's fully puréed and well incorporated. Now set it aside.
Remember the ground nut mixture you set aside? Add it to a pot and let it roast for a few minutes until you smell the fragrance. Also have your chicken washed, cut and ready. Traditionally my mom uses bone in chicken but because I have a husband who hates bones and boneless is just easier with kids I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I just cut them into medium size cubes. You also want the juice of half a lemon and a good heaping tablespoon of garlic/ginger paste.
Once you smell the aroma of your nuts roasting add some oil and mix. (At this point curry leaves can also be added but I didn't have any on hand) Once it's heated you will see it bubbling and foaming up, that's when you know to add the chicken, garlic/ginger paste, and the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Now mix and brown the chicken then add your coconut milk mixture you set aside. Along with the blended mixture you also want to add about half a can of water. (I just used the empty coconut milk can)
Next you just want to mix everything really well and let it cook down on medium/high until the gravy thickens. To test the gravy, dip a spoon in and run your finger along the back of the spoon. If the line stays, that means your gravy is thick! Sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro, put heat on low, cover with the lid, and let the chicken cook through.
And there you have it, a delicious, creamy, aromatic Kadhi (Karhi)! Serve it like soup, or my kids favorite way... with skinned mung bean (moong dal) rice (khichdi/khichri).