Monday, September 3, 2007

Food for the soul - Khichdi

I have not always loved khichdi. In fact, when I was younger khichdi always made me think of being sick. What my little head didn't know at that time was that khichdi is the epitome of comfort food, something that would bring relief to your sick tummy and your depressed soul :) So, slowly and steadily I learnt to love it. My relationship with khichdi once again turned sour when I moved to a hostel for my bachelors. The lady who ran our mess thought of khichdi as a means to use up her (probably) several days old leftovers, and that didn't go too well with my palette. She thought we'd never know if everything was mashed well enough! I sometimes wish it worked that way :)

Well, I didn't stay in the hostel too long and slowly and steadily we were friends again. After meeting Parthiv I was quite happy to find that we shared our love for khichdi. I was used to eating yellow moong daal khichdi with ghee/dahi/raita and Parthiv loved green moong khichdi with gujarati kadhi. So I moved on to green khichdi, but I would still continue to eat it with dahi and make kadhi for Parthiv. And then the new love affair began, I discovered khichdi and kadhi were meant to go hand in hand and happily embraced the combination.
We were visiting my friend R for her baby shower on Saturday. Since dinner was going to be quite elaborate, her mom made a simple sabudana ki khichdi lunch for us. She asked us if were interested in tasting some masala khichdi she had made the day before. I had a spoonful of it and my love for yellow khichdi flared again :) So, I decided to make it for lunch on sunday. One thing that was different in the gujarati style khichdi was the use of mustard for tempering. So I kind of tried to reproduce the amazing taste. Here's the recipe (serves 2)-

Ingredients:
0.5 cup rice (I used basmati)
0.5 cup yellow moong daal - wash and soak for about 15-20 mins.
2 - 2.5 cups water
1.5 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves
a pinch of heeng (asafoetida)
1 tsp dhana-jeera (coriander-cumin) powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp red chilli powder
1.5 - 2 tsp or so of garam masala (preferably non-punjabi style. I think 'MDH' garam masala fits the bill for punjabi garam masala. For my gujarati preparations, I prefer using 'Mother's recipe' brand of garam masala)
salt to taste
1 tblsp ghee/oil (preferably ghee)
1 medium tomato -chopped
A handful of chopped cilantro to garnish

Method:
1. Wash and soak moong daal for 15-20 mins.
2. Wash rice.
3. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker. Add mustard seeds and cloves.
4. As they begin to splutter, add heeng and the rest of the dry spices. Tip: measure and mix your spices before-hand.
5. Quickly add chopped tomato. Be very careful in steps 4 and 5. You have to be quick or the spices will burn.
6. Saute for half a minute or so and add daal-rice mixture. Mix well and add 2.5 cups of water. If you want your grains to be separate, add only 2 cups of water.
7. Add salt, mix and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. 3 whistles for separate grains.
8. Let the pressure cooker cool down. If you feel the khichdi is not cooked yet, add a little more water and cook some more.
9. Add cilantro and mix.

To serve:
We had khichdi topped with a tsp of ghee, with yoghurt, store bought ginger relish/pickle and roasted papads on the side. Parthiv hates pickles so he had his khichdi with just papad.

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For healthy variations, you can add peas, carrots, green beans etc. I was tempted to add some sprouted moong but did not want to play around with the taste I was trying to recreate. I wanted my khichdi on the spicy note. You can vary the quantity of spice to suit your taste.

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8 comments:

musical said...

Hi Shweta,

Lovely khichdi recipe and story. Next time i'll make it your way next time. Glad to meet a fellow SoCal blogger :).

Mansi said...

Good and quick! Great recipe! I sometimes make it with green split moong and sometimes with chana + toor.

Shweta said...

Musical - Thanks! Do let me know how it came out whenever you try it. Its nice to know you are from SoCal :) Hope the heat where you live is not as bad as here!

Mansi - Thanks :) Yes it was pretty tasty. I love the green split moong one too! Do you soak chana daal in advance for the chana daal-khichdi?

Divya said...

Shweta ji....Khichdi looks yummy :-)....keep postin gmore recipies and photos make it more tempting...

lakshmi said...

shweta, this sounds like bisi bele baath with moong dal intead of toor dal!!! must be yummy!!!

Nupur said...

Lovely post. Khichdi always evokes such deep-seated memories, right?

Shweta said...

Divya ji - Aapko to abhi mummy ke haath ke khaane ki aadat ho gayi hai! You lucky girl!!! Try the khichdi after aunty leaves :)

Lakshmi - I love bisi bele bhaat! I have never made it but have eaten it many many times thanks to my kannadiga room-mates :) I would try making it very soon. You have such 'yum' stuff on your blog! :)

Nupur - Thanks :) Glad to see you visited my blog. Yea khichdi does stir up lots of warm memories...

TBC said...

Your khichdi looks great!