Fritters in Yogurt Based Curry / Pakoray Wali Karhi, & Fool-Proof Basmati Rice

Pakoray wali Karhi, Fritters in a yogurt-based curry, is a hit in our home.  It is one of my husband’s favorite foods, and I make it 2 to 3 times every month.  It’s a wonderful vegetarian meal to have, and it satisfies like no other.  Karhi, the yogurt based curry, is made a variety of ways throughout the Asian subcontinent, and the recipe I am sharing today is one that is specific to my husband’s side of the family.  I grew up eating Karhi that was a lighter yellow in color, almost a neon yellow, and without fritters.  With fritters or without, Karhi is Desi comfort food at it’s best 🙂

A few weeks ago someone left a comment asking me to give some tips on cooking rice.  Well I’m not an expert, and I always seem to have an issue with cooking rice with a measured amount of water, so I’ve outlined the fool-proof way of cooking Basmati rice that results in long grains of rice that doesn’t clump together, and also doesn’t require measuring water.

  • Put desired amount of rice in a large bowl and wash 3 times with warm water.
  • Soak the rice in enough water so that it is totally covered.  If the rice needs to be cooked right away, soak in warm water.  If the rice needs to be cooked later, soak in cold water.
  • Allow the rice to soak until the color changes to a bright white.  We basically want to remove as much starch as possible.  Too much starch results in clumpy rice.
  • Fill a large vessel with water.  We don’t need to measure the water, we just need enough to boil the rice.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add rice and cook until the rice is about 75% done.
  • Strain the rice through a colander, and rinse quickly with cold water.  We want to rinse off any leftover starch and stop the rice from cooking further.  Too much heat + Starch = Clumpy rice.
  • Return the rice to the pot, add salt as needed, add a little bit of oil (this helps prevent the rice getting stuck to the bottom of the pot), and add a little bit of water.  The amount of water depends on how much rice you’re cooking.  You basically need enough to create a steam that would help finish cooking the rice.  For example, if I boiled 1 cup of rice, I would add approximately ¼ cup or less water.
  • Stir everything together, cover with a lid, and cook over low heat until the water had created a steam and all of it has evaporated.  The rice should be completely cooked through, but if not, add a splash of water, cover, and cook until completely done.


Pakora Karhi

Yield:  4 Servings


For Curry/Karhi:

  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped + ½ cup water
  • ½ cup gram flour
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste

For Fritters/Pakoray:

  • 1 ½ cups gram flour
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons water, lukewarm
  • Handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • Handful mint, finely chopped
  • Oil, for frying

For Tempering/Bhagaar:

  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 dried red chilies
  • 20 curry leaves


Make Curry/Karhi:

Combine onions and water in a blender and pulse until smooth.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together gram flour and yogurt until thoroughly combined.  Add water, one cup at a time, and whisk until completely smooth.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat.  Add two-thirds of the onion paste (reserve one-third for the fritters), turmeric, red chili powder, and ginger-garlic paste and mix well.  Cook for a few minutes, uncovered, until the oil begins to separate.

Slowly add the gram flour and yogurt mixture to the pot, stirring all the while. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until thickened. Make Fritter/Pakoray batter and set aside.  If the Karhi seems to be boiling over, uncover the pot a little to allow the steam to escape.  Once thickened to desired liking, remove from heat.

Make Fritters/Pakoray:

Combine reserved onion paste, gram flour, red chili powder, cumin seeds, baking soda, ginger-garlic paste, salt, and water and mix well to form a thick batter. The consistency should be so that it can easily run off of a spoon, yet thick enough to hold its shape when fried.  Add cilantro and mint and mix well.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat.  To test if the oil is ready, drop a little bit of the fritter batter.  The batter should begin to immediately sizzle and rise to the surface of the oil.  Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and cook until golden brown.  Transfer fritters directly to Karhi once cooked through.

Make Tempering/Bhagaar:

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic and fry until the edges begin to lightly brown.  Add cumin seeds, dried red chillies, and curry leaves.  Stir and fry until the onions are completely golden brown.  Pour this mixture directly into Karhi and cover.  Allow the Karhi to remain undisturbed for 15 minutes.  Stir and serve.


25 responses

  1. This looks soo great. I love karhi. I had a hyderabadi friend in school who used to bring yummy mirchi ka saalan and karhi. I used to looove it. And i made it once and mine was a big flop. This looks exactly like my friends curry. I will made this for sure. 😊😊

  2. as-salaamu alaykum ukhti,
    JazakAllah khair for the recipe, I have a question regarding curry leaves, did you use fresh or dry? My husband bought me fresh curry leaves and I was wondering do I need to halve the quantity or keep it the same? (I asked for European bay leaves for a soup but he thought I wrote curry leaves…. lol)
    Regarding rice I’m no expert either but I found rinsing rice thoroughly, adding oil to the pan first helps also I use a ratio of 1cup basmati rice to 1 1/4 cups cold water (using the absorption method) bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer let cook 15mins turn off and leave for 5-10mins before fluffing with a fork.

    • Wsalam sister!
      If I had a dime for every time I heard a story about a husband picking up something completely different than what was asked, I would be very rich 🙂
      I used fresh curry leaves for this recipe; if you have a little less or a little more and you want to use them up, you can throw them all in. The idea is to use a handful.
      By the way, if you have too many curry leaves, you can freeze them! The color might get darker but they’ll be as good as fresh 🙂

  3. Rice was my nemesis for a while, but I figured out a way to make it that pleased my husband an me both. I use a heavy skillet with a lid. I put olive oil and whatever spices I am craving into the skillet and heat. Then I add one cup, dry basmati rice to the skillet and stir it so the rice is fully coated with the oil and spices. I dry cook the rice for a minute until it develops a nutty aroma. I then add 3 cups of chicken or veg broth to the rice along with any add-ins (tomatoes, chilis, chick peas, etc.) Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed. The key is to NOT stir the rice once the liquid is added. I keep the lid on once the rice is done because my husband likes his rice a bit softer than some so it will continue to cook a bit if the lid is left on.

    • I think cooking rice is one of things like riding a bicycle- once you learn, you never forget.
      Thank you for your tips, and thank you for stopping by! I’m going to give your method a shot next time I cook rice; it seems very doable and easy! 🙂

  4. Dahi ki karhi, my absolute favourite and we have ours with bhajias/pakoras. I love this stuff. Rice is tricky! When I moved back to Colorado 4 yrs ago, I ruined pans and pans of rice. After I realised that it was the high altitude affecting my rice and then had to change my way of cooking it. Now, no problem!
    Delicious recipe, Henna!

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