I have a niece who is lactose intolerant, and drinks soy milk everyday. So whenever she visits, I make sure soy milk is well stocked at home, but when she leaves, there is invariably some leftover. If it is a tiny quantity I add it to a shake or soup, but what does one do with a lot of soy milk if one doesn't consume it regularly?
The idea for this kadhi (for lack of a better name) was sown on one such occasion. This dish is neither a traditional kadhi, nor is it a substitute for the regular version made with yogurt, but came in handy recently when cooking for vegan and low carb-ing friends. For those not watching their carbohydrate intake, it goes rather well with plain white rice.
If you can find fresh soy milk, by all means use it rather than the carton variety.
Soy Milk Kadhi
Serves 4 as a main course
4 cups of unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 Tablespoons besan
1 teaspoon ajwain seeds
1-2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
5-10 curry leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
4 green chilies
1/4 cup of tamarind extract (not concentrate!)
1 Tablespoon jaggery (optional)
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
salt to taste
In a large bowl, stir together the soy milk, turmeric and besan with a whisk, until there are no lumps of flour. (Alternatively, you can add the turmeric later with the other ingredients in the hot oil.)
Pound the ajwain seeds to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and finely chop the green chilies.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the mustard seeds. As they start to pop, add the cumin and fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, chilies, and the ajwain powder. Stir and quickly add the soy milk and besan mixture. Keep whisking as it comes to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer.
Stir in the tamarind paste, jaggery and salt. Cook for 5-10 minutes on low heat until the mixture starts to thicken, stirring occasionally.
Add the cilantro at the very end, just before serving.