Sindhi Kadhi with Tomato Gravy ~ Vegetarian Recipe with Bhagwanthi Nagpal

by on March 15, 2014

Sindhi Kadhi-Dal & Kadhi

Kadhi is usually made with yogurt (curd), but I was surprised to learn that the main ingredient of Sindhi Kadhi is tomatoes. Bhagwanthiji, a great-granny from Chennai who shared this recipe, says that the correct way to eat this kadhi is to mix it along with steamed rice, and sprinkle some boondi on top. Boondi, meaning drops, are tiny sweet drops made with gram flour and sugar. A crisp fried dish with potatoes or colacasia known as took is also a popular accompaniment.



  • Ripe tomatoes – ½ kg
  • Gram flour (besan) – 3 tablespoons
  • Tamarind – lemon sized, soak and extract puree
  • Drumsticks – 1, chopped into 2 inch long pieces
  • To tweak this into a Jain recipe, avoid the ginger as typical Jain food does not contain any of the root vegetables.
  • Cluster beans – 8-10, cut into 1 inch long pieces
  • Ladies finger – 8-10, slit in centre and cut into 1 inch long pieces
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece, chopped fine
  • Green chillies – 2, slit
  • Coriander and mint leaves – a few sprigs each, chopped fine
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Asafoetida powder – a pinch
  • Salt – to taste

The Tempering:

  • Ghee or oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp


1. Pressure-cook the tomatoes with a cup of water, blend and strain. Set aside the puree.
2. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, heat the ghee (or oil) and add the ingredients for tempering.
3. When the mustard starts popping, add the gram flour and sauté until it turns golden brown.
4. Add the chilli, turmeric and asafoetida powders, sauté for half a minute and pour in the tomato puree and 2-3 cups of water.
5. When the puree begins to boil, add all the remaining ingredients (chopped vegetables and salt) except the tamarind water.
6. Turn the flame to low heat, cover the vessel and allow the kadhi to simmer for 30 minutes so that the vegetables become tender and the flavours mix well. Bhagwanthiji says that if the flame is low, there is no need to open the lid and check. Simply allow it to simmer.
7. Add the tamarind water and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes. Check for consistency, depending on preference, you may add a cup of water along with the tamarind water.
8. Switch off the flame Serve hot with steamed rice.


This recipe was first published in The Great Granny Diaries – a column in Harmony Magazine. Part-1 of this post is the interview with Bhagwanthi Nagpal, a Sindhi great-granny from Chennai.


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