This type of yoghurt curry, known as kadhi, seems to exist in most Northern, dairy producing, regions of India. Everyone seems to have their own version, which might be sweeter, tangier, thinner, thicker or even have coconut inside. This is the Punjabi version that I grew up with and I do, objectively of course, think it is the best. It is tangy, creamy and full of flavour, the dumplings are earthy and give a delicious, protein-filled bite to this smooth curry. Serve with rice.
Using your hands, mix together all the ingredients for the dumplings. Set aside; the onions will soften as they stand.
For the curry, stir together the gram flour and yoghurt until it is lump-free. Add the water.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the whole spices and once the light seeds have browned well, add the onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and dried chillies. Saute gently until the onions have softened. Add the yoghurt mix and bring to a boil stirring constantly to ensure the yoghurt doesn’t split. Add the powdered spices and tomatoes, stir well for another 3-4 minutes then cook at a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a small-medium saucepan to come 2-3” up the sides and heat until it is a moderate temperature for deep frying. Make small walnut size balls out of the dumpling mixture and add each straight into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, if you are using a small pan do it in two batches. Keep the heat low so they fry evenly for 7-8 minutes and turn into a lovely golden brown, turning them in the oil. Drain on kitchen roll.
Once the curry is cooked, add the dumplings. The curry should have the consistency somewhere between single and double cream, (you can add a splash of water if it is too thick or cook off some if it is a bit watery. Season well, taste and add lemon juice, the kadhi should be tangy. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve.
Variations – You can add a handful of spinach or any other vegetable, finely sliced or chopped to the dumplings as well as green chillies and fresh coriander leaves. You can also leave the dumplings out altogether and also add some vegetables to the curry instead. I like spinach, carrots, peas and cauliflower added in.