Khichudi

 

Khichudi

 

A work related posting of her husband Shupurush took my sister-in-law Shoondori and her family to the beautiful city of Goa. Shupurush was in an important position in a leading five star hotel chain of India called Taj Hotels. They were put up in Taj Exotica, which happens to be the best and possibly the most expensive hotel in that exotic place, while they hunted for living accommodations in the city. Treated like royalty, they were given beautiful suites, and had the kitchen and its staff at their beck and call. Every time we called Shoondori, we listened to the veritable gourmet spread they feasted on everyday. The kids – a little more than toddlers at that time – had endless supply of pizzas, burgers, cakes, ice-creams. Shoondori and my father-in-law (who was there with them at that time) were having food that I had only heard of in gourmet cuisine books. We sighed as we imagined the luxury they were indulging in. Starting from morning, they would have a continuous flow of one delectable food after another. Each dish they described would conjure up images of delicacies that not only sounded exciting but titillated the senses to hell and back.

Two weeks into their stay, I called, and as usual spoke about a few regular things before touching my favorite topic: What did they have today? Shoondori was very quick to answer: “Khichudi” My jaw dropped. Literally. Let me pause here a bit. Khichudi is a one pot Indian meal containing rice and pulses and spices and cooked until it resembles a pulpy mess. So why in the world would anyone want Khichudi when they literally had the best five star menu one could find to order from and a top Executive Chef in the country to cook it for them?

Khichudi

Turns out, 15 days of continuous gourmet eating had taken its toll. Ice creams and cakes overflowed the refrigerator. Elaborately prepared and exquisitely presented dishes sent in by the Executive chef himself were returned untouched. All because, this young family of four were so full from eating exquisite dishes that their system was now craving for simple home cooked meals and comfort food. The kids refused to eat anything other than fresh fruits and milk. My sister in law craved healthy and comforting meals. So finally she called the kitchen and requested a ‘khichudi’. The chef was crestfallen – was something wrong with the food? No, of course not, she was quick to reassure him, but she wanted to eat comfort food. Her comfort food was ‘khichudi‘.

Put that way, it made complete sense. I would not say I could appreciate the fact – after all, I haven’t had the good fortune to eat all that exquisite food day in day out – but I could understand. Up above, when I explained about what Khichudi is, I left out an important bit: Khichudi is a DELICIOUS one pot Indian meal containing rice and pulses and spices and cooked until it resembles a pulpy mess.

Khichudi

 

 

Khichudi can be the ultimate comfort food. Known as “Khichdi” in Hindi, it can be cooked in the most simple fashion fit to soothe the recovering system of a patient, and it can also be cooked with spices that would elevate it to the level of lip smacking delicious comfort, AND healthy food. While it still will possibly not make into the menu of a flabbergasted chef’s precious 5 star kitchen, it still is the pride of many an Indian cook whose list of favorites would be incomplete with Khichudi.

Different regions prepare this dish in different ways. In Bengali cuisine, it has risen to the levels of a delicacy. That is because Khichudi is often the offering to the God in various pujos (festivals) – be it Durga Pujo, Kali Pujo or Saraswati Pujo. Of course, the recipe of khichudi made for puja is different than the one I have given today. That is for another time.

It is made with a variety of dals. Today I am posting a recipe from my Mom that calls for Red Lentils and White rice. Shorter grained rice is preferred, but you can use long grained ones as well. This is a perfect meal for a rainy day. Serve it with:

Begun Bhaja

Grilled Eggplant

 

or Zesty fries”

zesty-fries.jpg

or homemade fries or “Aloo Bhaja” as we in Bengal popularly call it..

Homemade-fries-good1

4.8 from 5 reviews
Khichudi
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 dry red chilies,
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp oil (I used EVOO)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 large tomatoes cut in 4 pieces
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1" stick cinnamon
  • 2 pods green cardamom
  • 3 pods of crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 Thai green chilies
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ghree
  • 1 tsp garam masala
Note: You can also add these vegetables - peas, potatoes, carrot and cauliflower. Cut them into large pieces and add. For example, cut a potato into halves, or add single large florets of cauliflower. I did not add any.
Instructions
  1. Wash and soak red lentils and rice (separately) for 5 minutes, then drain and discard the water.
  2. Make a paste of ginger and 1 green chili
  3. In a pressure cooker or a Dutch oven, heat oil
  4. Season with dry red chili.
  5. When it turns black, remove it.
  6. Now season with the left over red chili and cumin seeds.
  7. When the seeds start to crackle, add red lentils.
  8. Stir for a few seconds, and then add rice.
  9. Add water.
  10. Now, add the rest of the ingredients except of last two, ie, ghee and garam masala.
  11. If adding vegetables, add at this point.
  12. If cooking in pressure cooker, put the kid on and cook for 25 minutes.
  13. Let the pressure release of its own.
  14. If cooking in the dutch oven, then bring to a boil, and cook for 1 hour, covered, on low flame.
  15. Uncover and check. The rice and lentils should be soft and sticky. If not, cook for some more time until you reach desired consistency.
  16. Add ghee and garam masala.
  17. Serve hot.

 

 

23 comments for “Khichudi

  1. July 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    My absolute comfort food! I too crave khichdi so much so that at times I throw everything in a pressure cooker and 5-7 minutes later out comes the mess I adore.
    This looks delicious Minnie and you have reminded me that it’s been awhile, well before Ramadan, at least.

    Nazneen
    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted..Luqaimat | Arabic Doughnuts with Orange Blossom SyrupMy Profile

    • July 28, 2013 at 1:27 AM

      Ditto!!! The possibilities are endles!!

  2. July 26, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    i just love Khichdi! festival-khichdi is even better :D. loved the story, Minnie!

    • July 28, 2013 at 1:28 AM

      Oh yes, no match!!! Khichdi is awesome, especially when it is raining outside.

  3. July 26, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    It reminds me of rice congee, it’s wonderfully comforting but not exactly high end cuisine but I’d choose it if I had eaten out every night! :)

    • July 28, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      I have to check that out…I remember thinking the same sometime ago somewhere…..

  4. July 26, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    ah khichdi or as u call it khichudi
    u r right made so differently and so simple and yet easy to digest
    i think i shud post my version of khichdi too hehe

    ur story is amazing of ur sis in law
    here after all the weddings and amassing lot of delicacies one crave for simple khichdi for digestion and to give tummy some rest
    wud try ur version too
    Meena recently posted..Tri color veg sandwichMy Profile

    • July 28, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      Thanks Meena, khichdi is just awesome!!

  5. July 27, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Oh my god Minnie I love love love and love Khichudi cooked the Bengali way with some Baigun Bhaja and Tamater Khujur Chutney. Lovely post, I am craving for it now.
    Justagirlfromaamchimumbai recently posted..Just a different Chicken curry – Murgh MasalaMy Profile

    • July 28, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      Ohhh!! Now that you have reminded me, I HAVE to make Tamater Khejur Chutney!!!

  6. July 27, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Nice story :) I like everything hralthy and delicious :D
    Marta @ What Should I eat for breakfast today recently posted..Lemonade should be cold and sourMy Profile

    • July 28, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      Thank you Marta!

  7. July 27, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    What an incredible holiday. It’s very funny that they could have anything they desired and yet they all wanted humble fare. I haven’t heard of this dish before. I do like the look of those homemade fries! xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Gluten-Free Pasta and GnocchiMy Profile

    • July 28, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      I have a feeling you will like it :)

  8. July 28, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    One pot comfort food made by five star executive chef… I want to taste it! :) I haven’t tried this dish, but hope to have a chance to taste it one day!
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Susheep – Starring in Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2My Profile

  9. July 29, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    Minnie, khichdi my favorite. Loved reading your post. Loved your brinjal fry also.

  10. July 29, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    ha! that proofs again that simple dishes should never be forgotten, they are the essence of our food culture and sometimes we just crave simplicity. =) Lovely post Minnie, I hadn’t know about this dish.

    • Louise
      April 10, 2014 at 1:58 AM

      Hi Helene, I discovered this site thanks to you. Khichdi is perfect for rainy days, not much fish in the market. This started out being my fall back on dish during Lent (we only eat veg during Lent) but my family love it so much that I make it more often now. I don’t know the Bengali dishes so, I fall back on a really good veg pickle. Would like to try the side dishes as well though perhaps soon. Thank Minnie.

  11. July 29, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    This looks very tempting :)
    Bhawya sankar recently posted..Shrimp Fry/ Prawn Fry/ Eral VaruvalMy Profile

  12. July 31, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Khichudi! The quintessential bangali comfort food (I won’t even mention the ‘during rainy season’ part).
    And Shupurush and Shoondori, heehee. :D
    Antara recently posted..Ah those two syllablesMy Profile

  13. August 2, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    I have to say that I am a Khichudi virgin. :) I had never heard of it until now and now I see that I’ve been missing a very delicious dish! Look at all those wonderful ingredients and spices. I really need to get out more.
    mjskit recently posted..Peach Pecan Ice CreamMy Profile

    • August 13, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      It is delightful. Try it, you won’t regret.

  14. October 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Aha is there anything more comforting than a plateful of gorom gorom khichudi, begun bhaja and dim bhaja? Not at all! Any time any day any season it’s a mood uplifter. The pics look so yum yum. Wish I could have it now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

CommentLuv badge