Moong dal khichdi2012-11-04
- Servings : 2
- Prep Time : 40m
- Cook Time : 30m
- Ready In : 45m
Khichadi (also Khichdi, khichdee, khichuri, khichari and many other variants) is an Indian dish that contains a combination of rice and lentils. Khichadi is commonly considered to be India’s comfort food, and was the inspiration for the Anglo-Indian dish of kedgeree.
As a simple way of providing a reasonably balanced diet, it is probably very ancient. Khichadi is identifiable from the writings of Afanasiy Nikitin, a Russian adventurer who travelled to the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century.
Khichadi is a very popular dish in eastern, northern and western India. The dish is widely prepared in many Indian states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Bengal, where it is called khichhuri. Addition of vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, and green peas is very common.
While khichhuri is cooked as a rather rich and delectable delicacy in Bengal, it is cooked very differently in North and Western India – a very plain dish that is normally associated with bland taste and diet for people when sick. Khichadi is also the first solid that babies are introduced to.
Rice and lentils are simmered till mushy, seasoned with turmeric and salt and fed to infants to introduce them to “adult” food. It is also a favourite campfire food owing to the convenience of being able to cook Khichadi in a single simmering pot.
Khichadi when well cooked with little oil is considered as a light and nutritious dish and is especially popular amongst many who follow ayurvedic diet practices or nature cure.
Another form of Khichadi, popular mostly in western Maharashtra, is made with prawns.
Khichadi is the food of the poor, a meal that is accessible even with the low food budget, and also it is the food of the rich, with choicest vegetables simmered with a plethora of lentils and studded with nuts.
In India, the term Khichadi is also used broadly to imply a mish-mash or a mixture of sorts, similar to hodge-podge in English.
Khichadi is a complete one-pot meal. The rice provides the carbohydrates, lentils provide the protein, the vegetables – vitamins, minerals & fiber, ghee – the right amount of calories and fat. In India, there are as many recipes for Khichadi. It can be spicy or plain, made with a combination of 2-5 lentils or single lentil.
Traditionally, khichdi is eaten with kadhi, a savoury curry made with a yoghurt base, but it works well with anything that is strongly flavoured or spicy as the khichdi itself is mild.
- 1 cup white basmati rice, washed in water and drained
- 1 cup yellow lentils (Also known as yellow moong dal), washed and soaked in water and drained
- About 4 cups of water
- 1/2 (half) teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon oil
- Salt to taste
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. (Preferably one with a cover, which will be able to contain the amount of rice and lentils cooked.)
When oil is hot, add cumin seeds. Allow cumin seeds to splutter but do not let them get burnt.
Fold in the yellow lentils and rice. Mix cumin seeds thoroughly with the lentils and rice.
Stir in water and salt.
Bring to boil.
Lower the heat, partially cover the pot and cook until the rice is cooked.
Serve hot with a sprinkling of coriander. This dish can also be served with some plain yoghurt. Khichdi can also be cooked in a pressure cooker or in a microwave. In both cases, the cooking time should be reduced to about 20 – 30 minutes.
Other ingredients can be added to the khichdi. These can be experimented with to vary the taste of the final dish.
- Cinnamon sticks
- Bay leaves
- Turmeric powder
- Asafoetida (From Persian aza, for mastic or resin, and Latin foetidus, for stinking. A gum from a giant fennel used in Indian cooking.)
- Chopped onions and ginger can also be added.
These spices should be added after the oil has been heated. They should not be added all together, as too many spices can spoil the flavour of the dish.
- Green peas
These are just examples of the types of vegetables that can be added. Feel free to experiment.
A word of caution: use only combinations of 2 – 3 vegetables together. Otherwise, the khichdi will taste like a hodgepodge of conflicting flavours.
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