Khichdi

20 Jul

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 or countless packets of instant noodles, crave for simple home-cooked khichdi?

On to this quick and easy recipe, a life-saver on days when your tummy asks for comfort and nothing more.

You Need:

  • Rice – 3/4 cup
  • Moong dal – 3/4 cup
  • Water – 4 cups
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Ghee – 2 teaspoons

The above is all you need for the basic khichdi. I added a couple more ingredients for this meal:

  • Onion – 1, finely chopped
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Dry red chilies – 2

How To:

Wash the moong dal and rice together in several changes of water, till the water is clear. Soak in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain.

In a pressure cooker, put the rice and moong dal with salt, turmeric and 4 cups of water. Cook till one whistle on high flame, then simmer for another two whistles.

Let the pressure release naturally.

For the basic version, pour ghee over the khichdi and serve immediately.

For the enhanced version, heat the ghee in another pan. Crackle cumin seeds till they change colour (this takes a few seconds only), then add dry red chilies and finely chopped onions soon after. Let the onions turn golden-brown.

Mix this in with the khichdi and serve. A picture of my khichdi with a dollop of pickle:

khichdi

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 (potato mash) and achaar (pickle, usually mango).

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

Notes:

1. Expand on the enhanced version if you like – add more vegetables. I like to throw in some peas and cauliflower florets after the onions.

2. Adjust the water used for cooking to change the consistency of the dish.

3. If you are having khichdi to soothe your delicate tummy, go for the basic version, cut down on the ghee and add more water during pressure-cooking.

4. In Bihar it is customary to eat khichdi on Saturdays. I have never understood why, it just is so.

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