Khichdi without Pressure Cooker

20 Jul

Khichdi without Pressure Cooker

Khichdi isn’t exactly the height of culinary sophistication – but sometimes we don’t want culinary sophistication. Hands up all men and women living away from family who, after a series of spice-laden oily meals outdoors and countless packets of instant noodles, crave simple home-cooked khichdi?

On to this easy recipe, a life-saver on days when your tummy asks for comfort and nothing more, and you have only rudimentary cooking equipment / ingredients at your disposal.

This khichdi is cooked without a pressure cooker – it’s simmered in a kadhai instead. The no-pressure-cooker method gives you more control on the level of doneness of rice and dal: just plan more cooking time than you would for pressure cooking.

Khichdi and Bhujiya

You Need:

  • Rice – 3/4 cup
  • Yellow moong dal – 3/4 cup
  • Water – 5 cups
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Ghee – 1 tablespoon (optionally more for topping)

The above is all you need for the basic khichdi. Add these whole spices to the tadka if you have them on hand:

  • Black pepper corns – 10
  • Cloves – 4
  • Cinnamon – 1-inch stick
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon

How To Make Khichdi without Pressure Cooker:

Wash the moong dal and rice together in several changes of water till the water runs clear.

Rice and Moong Dal Being Washed

Soak the washed rice and dal in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain.

Rice and Moong Dal Washed

Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a kadhai or pan.

Whole Spices - Cinnamon, Cloves, Pepper Corn

When the ghee is hot, set heat to low and add to it a teaspoon of cumin seeds.

As soon as the cumin seeds crackle [this takes just a couple of seconds], add the whole garam masala: cloves, cinnamon stick and pepper corns. Be careful: cloves tend to pop.

Tip into the pan the washed rice and dal.

Cook for a minute, then add turmeric, salt and 5 cups of water.

Khichdi Cooking

Bring to a boil.

Khichdi Boiling

Set heat to low, cover the pan and let it simmer. Check the pan after 15 minutes to stir and add more water if you want the dish soupier.

Continue to cook for about 25 minutes, or till the rice and dal have softened and come together. Let the pan stand covered for another five minutes.

Khichdi is ready.

Khichdi - Rice and Moong Dal Mishmash

Serve piping hot.

Khichdi Accompaniments:

There is a saying in Hindi:

Khichdi ke teen yaar
Papad, chokha aur achaar

which means:

Khichdi has three friends – papad (crisp flatbread), chokha (boiled mashed vegetables, usually potato) and achaar (pickle, usually chili or mango).

These are the most popular accompaniments that add a burst of flavor to this otherwise plain food. A bowl of homemade yogurt and some bhujiya (chopped vegetables fried to a crisp, such as brinjal or plaintain) go very well with khichdi too.

In the thali below: khichdi, tomato coriander chutney, aloo pyaz ki bhujiya, okra bhujiya, plantain chips, plain yogurt with roasted cumin.

Khichdi, Bhujiya, Chutney Thali

Notes:

  • Khichdi isn’t just a modest recourse for a sparse kitchen. In Bihar, it is festive food: on the day of Makar Sankranti, we have khichdi for lunch after a morning meal of dahi chura.
  • Also in Bihar, it is customary to eat khichdi on Saturdays. I have never understood why, it just is so.
  • Embellish the dish if you like with vegetables. I like to throw in some peas, cauliflower florets, carrots and onions after the tadka, before adding rice and dal.
  • If you are having khichdi to soothe your delicate tummy, cut down on the ghee, add more water and cook a few minutes longer for a softer, thinner khichdi.

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