Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Recipe : Khichdi / Kichudi / Khichadi (Vegan)
Khichdi is a light and simple dish, often cooked at my husbands house when lunch has been too heavy or someone at home is sick. Its great food for someone down with a fever or a blocked nose or sinus or even an upset stomach.
If made with moong dhal (split yellow or green gram) or masoor dhal (Egyptian / red lentils) it is extremely light on the stomach and very easy to digest. My husbands mum normally makes it with arhar / toor / tuvar dhal. I personally prefer a mixture of masoor and tuvar dhal.
The dhals provide protein and nutrition and recently I have started making the khichdi with brown rice which increases the fibre content. While white rice will completely dissolve and turn into a gruel - if you cook it too long, brown rice holds its shape and consistency much longer.
My version of khichdi has a lot of spices, because we love the flavours, but you can tone them all down if you prefer. For a lot of people this is comfort food.
250 gms rice
250 gms lentils / dhal (I used an equal mix of masoor and tuvar dhal)
1 tbsp oil (I use mustard, but you can use any standard cooking oil or ghee)
pinch of heeng (asafoetida)
pinch of methi seeds
1 tsp jeera seeds
1 tbsp black pepper (roughly crushed) - optional
6 cloves garlic chopped
2 large onion chopped
2 - 3 large tomatoes chopped
1.5 inch ginger grated
2 green chillies chopped
1 tbsp jeera powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder (optional)
salt to taste
fresh chopped coriander to garnish
Wash and soak the rice and lentils (together or separately - as you choose) for at least 15 minutes
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker
Add the heeng, methi and jeera seeds,
Add crushed pepper if using.
Once the spices start emitting their aroma, add the chopped garlic and fry till it starts to brown, now add chopped onions, tomatoes, grated ginger and cook until the tomatoes start to disintegrate.
Add the soaked rice and lentils and give a quick stir so everything is well mixed.
Now add green chillies, all the powders and salt and water to cover (1 inch above)
Stir well, so everything is well blended.
Cover pressure cooker and cook till done (I prefer 3 whistles on high and 2 whistles on sim)
When you open the cooker, you might find that the rice has absorbed all the moisture and there is hardly any liquid left, in that case add more water to your taste and bring to a boil (uncovered and stirring constantly.
There is no perfect consistency, its about what works best for you.
I prefer a slightly firmer, drier version
For someone whose sick, I would water it down, almost to a soup before serving.
The consistency is very personal
Optional : Add your favourite tadka to the bubbling khichdi (I'm partial to chopped garlic - crisped up)
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.
There is a saying "khichdi ke hain chaar yaar - dahi, papad, ghee, achar!" - Khichdi has 4 friends - curd, papad, ghee and pickle.
I normally serve khichdi with a dollop of ghee on top and the others as sides.
Plain curd goes best with khichdi, rather than a raita
For vegans, you can top it with a meltable nut butter or just some spicy pickle.
Papad or any kind of crispies can also be served as a side and they add great texture.
If you don't want to serve pickles, then you can serve it with wedges of lime, or finely sliced onions soaked in a bit of natural vinegar.
The possibilities are endless.
Kim's Note :
A friend married to an Egyptian recently read that the Egyptian Koshary has its roots in the Indian khichdi and she asked me what my thoughts were.
Here is my answer. What do you think?
I have heard this before: that the British kedgeree and the Egyptian Koshary come from the Indian khichdi. However, other than each of them having a bit of rice in the dish, I don't see any outstanding similarities.
In India, khichdi is a mix of rice and lentils all cooked together with some flavourings (herbs/seasoning / onions / tomatoes etc), It is a very light dish - often fed like "chicken soup" to someone who is sick. The concept lies in - mix everything and cook to almost a pulp - so much so that anything that is completely jumbled up is also referred to coloquially as "khichdi"
In koshary, the rice, vermicelli, pasta (sparrows tongue - I forget the Arabic word now), the whole red Egyptian lentils - are all cooked separately, drained and then unified with the tomato sauce to taste, at the table.(with some fried onions or lemon ginger juice as an additional side - the fried sliced onions are used in Indian dishes of biryani, but rarely in khichdi)
The British kedgeree, includes rice, smoked fish, butter, cream, boiled eggs and was basically invented as a way to use up the previous nights leftovers at breakfast.
So for these reasons, I don't believe that they come from the same origin, although they seem to sound similar.
I actually see more resemblance of the koshary with a pasta in Marinara sauce than a khichdi - in terms of ingredients and flavours.