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Hot and Spicy Gluten-free Indian Dumplings for Valentine's Day

02/14/2014 09:30 am ET | Updated Apr 16, 2014

Vegetarian. Gluten free. Meatless. Curry. Flavor. Mmmm... There, I can end the blog post right there... but I wont, because I need to share my journey as a chef, and why this particular recipe is so close to my heart.

Gluten Free Dumplings

Indian Gluten Free Dumplings

There are some dishes that can transport me back to my grandmother's kitchen with every bite I take. Kardi, which can be pronounced as curry, but is not the same as the generic curry, rather it is a specific dish. It is an Indian/Pakistani vegetarian dish, which I was too cool to learn while I was growing up.

As a teen, I was a young feminist, looking for ways to express myself. Coming from a South Asian background, I was very concerned with how much time women spent in the kitchen, and I wasn't very pleased. So in my effort to advance the cause of womenfolk around the world, I refused to learn how to cook. I associated cooking with the shackles of society that held women down.  I was looking for freedom, and food and the preparation of food were not on my journey to freedom.

In hindsight, though I had great intentions, I acknowledge that I was an obnoxious child, and I apologize to the village that raised me.

I say I was obnoxious, because I had overly simplified the issues, and I only realized that after several years of being on my own. I wasn't fighting for all the women in the world; I was only fighting my personal battles, as a girl who grew up in a South Asian home.

Now that I'm in my thirties and concerned with eating healthy, I find myself turning to South Asian cooking. The food culture that I neglected to understand as a teen was rich with verity of healthy dishes and filled with deep tradition. Meatless Monday is second nature in Indian cuisine, and making gluten-free bread, dessert, and meals was a thing in South Asian Cuisine way before it was a foodie buzzword.

I haven't given up on my quest to not be a slave to the kitchen. Maybe one day I can share with you how I get my family involved in the kitchen so that everyone can take pride in the meal we eat together. But for now I will share a recipe that reminds me of my childhood in Pakistan.

Kardi is a vegetarian dish made of protein rich chickpea flour. The dumplings and the curry are gluten free, and can be eaten with gluten free pita or with rice. My favorite part about making this dish is that I can prepare the curry and the dumplings at separate times and assemble the dish right before serving. The yogurt can be replaced by buttermilk.

Uber Easy Kardi

(Gluten Free Dumplings, in Yogurt Curry)

Ingredients

Kardi aka Curry:

750 ml yogurt or 1 liter of buttermilk

½ medium onion

1 tsp. red chili powder (put less for less spicy)

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic paste (or 2 garlic cloves)

¾ cup chickpea flour

1-cup water

Dumplings (pakoras):

2 cups chickpea flour

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. red chili powder (put less for less spicy)

1 tsp. cumin seeds

½ medium onion diced

1 green chili finely chopped

5 mint leaves finely chopped

¼ cup coriander leaves coarsely chopped

½ tsp. garlic paste

¾ + cup water

Enough oil to deep fry

Garnish (tarka):

4 tbsp. oil

3 garlic cloves chopped into two

1 tsp. cumin seeds

3 dried red whole chilies (optional)

3 Curry leaves (optional)

Directions

Curry:

Blend together first five ingredients in the blender, then pour into a large sauce pan. Combine water and chickpea flour till the lumps disappear and add to the saucepan. Bring curry to a boil and then lower heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.  The curry should have the consistency of creamy soup. Turn off stove.

Gluten Free Dumpling Curry

Curry, sauce for the dumplings

 Dumplings:

Wisk chickpea flour, baking soda, salt, chili powder, cumin seeds together, then add ¾ cup water, add more if needed. The batter should be thicker consistency than pancake batter. Mix in garlic paste, chopped onions, green chilies and herbs. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes.

Pakoras, or Fried Gluten Free Dumplings

Pakoras, or Fried Gluten Free Dumplings

 Frying the Dumplings:

Heat oil for frying on medium heat. Test oil by dropping in a small amount of dumpling batter to see if the oil is hot enough. When the oil is at the desired heat, with a tablespoon, drop one spoon full of batter at a time into the oil. Once 5-6 dumplings are in the pan, let them fry for 2 minutes on either side, or till the dumplings turn golden brown. Transfer the dumplings to a large deep ceramic dish as they finish frying.

Once all the dumplings are done frying pour the liquid curry over the dumplings.

Garnish (tarka):

Indian Gluten Free Dumplings

Tarka, Garnish For the Kardi

In a small frying pan heat 4 tbsp. of oil. Then quickly add cumin seeds, garlic cloves, red dried chilies, curry leaves. Heat till the cumin seeds become toasted but not dark brown or black. Quickly pour the garnish over the curry dish.

P.S. I used Indian, Pakistani and South Asian references interchangeable out of love for all of them.

Gluten Free Dumplings in a yogurt sauce

Gluten Free Dumplings in a yogurt sauce