Khichri aka khichdi which literally translates to â€œmixtureâ€, is a hotch potch of rice and lentils cooked together in spices. Each home has its own variation to khichdi, right from the variety of dals, combination of vegetables and spices used, as well as the texture of the lentil rice combination.
This nutritious, protein packed North Indian breakfast dish is given to toddlers as the initial weaning food and is also often eaten when one is feeling sick or is overcoming a bout of illness as its light, easy on the stomach and nutritious.From the Ayurvedic perspective, its considered the best light diet and is recommended for all the tri-doshas, Kapha, Vata and Pita.
To many, the humble khichri, evokes a medley of emotions, by the mere mention of the name, one either loves or hates it. I, for one love it and enjoy this soothing comforting bowl of earthy goodness. Here’s an interesting article I read on how khichri has evolved from the Mughal period to become a delicacy and it also includes a chefâ€™s special recipe for khichri.
Masala Khichdi Recipe
Recipe source: Adapted from a cooking magazine
Prep & Cooking: 1 hour
Serves 6 persons
Cuisine: North Indian
1 1/2 cups old basmati rice (any variety of rice can be used like sunnalu or sona masuri)
1/2 cup split yellow moong dal (pesara pappu)
2 tbsps oil or ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
1/2 cup carrots and potatoes (chopped into small cubes) OR you can use mixed vegetables of your choice (peas, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower)
1 large tomato finely chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala pwd
1/4 tsp whole black pepper
1/2 tsp coriander pwd
salt to taste
5 cups of water
1 Wash the rice and dal and soak them together in water for 15-20 mts.
2 Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed vessel or pot, heat oil or ghee. Add the cumin seeds, let them splutter and turn slightly brown. Add the cloves and bay leaves and let them pop. Be careful not the burn the spices. It takes a few seconds for the spices to pop.
3 Add the onions and ginger and saute them, once they begin to turn brown, add turmeric pwd and combine. Now add the mixed vegetables and cook them covered for 4-5 mts on low heat.
4 Add the tomatoes and cook them till they form a gooey paste. Dont burn it.
5 Drain the water from the rice and dal mixture and add to the onion-tomato mixture. Combine and add the pepper pwd, coriander pwd, garam masala pwd and salt. Mix well till the spice powders are blended well with the rest of the other ingredients.
6 Add 5 cups of water to the above mixture, bring to a boil, cover and cook on low heat till both the dal and rice are cooked. This could take approx 20-25 mts.
7 Serve it as a meal by itself or with a pickle of your choice, yogurt and appadam (papad).
Khichdi can made into a gooey texture, a porridge like consistency, by increasing the quantity of water by approx 2-4 cups. You can also pressure cook the dal-rice mixture. Dont shy away from trying out different types of spices and dals while preparing khichdi.