Saturday, November 8, 2014

Vegetable Khichdi

I don’t remember ever having khichdi growing up.  We had pongal – of course – which is as close to the North Indian khichdi as we can get.

So when I got married and came here, and my husband (who grew up in Kolkatta) asked me to make khichdi for him, I had no idea how to make it.    I looked up the recipe in a Bengali cookbook (this was way before the internet) and made it.  I loved the spices used to flavor this dish.  The recipe was so simple, yet flavorful, and aromatic!  I fell in love with this healthy and delicious dish and make it often – especially when we need a break from some heavy, rich food like we’ve been eating.

Every time I make khichdi,, my husband loves to say "Khichdi ke chaar yaar - dahi, papad, ghee, aachar" (khichdi has four friends - yogurt, papad, ghee, and Indian style pickles).

I used to think - what a cool way to remember the things to serve with khichdi!

Now - I just give him the "look".

Anyway, I make khichdi several ways – with just dal and rice, with veggies, and sometimes the Bengali version.  I made this in my rice cooker – so it did not get mushed up too much.  I like it this way, because it tastes great even after a couple of days, whereas the mushed up version becomes lumpy and unappetizing if it is left over.

Here is what you need:

(easily serves 4 people)

  • 2 tsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • few curry leaves
  • 1” piece slivered ginger
  • 2 green chilies, slit length-wise
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup veggies of your choice – I used carrots, beans, and potatoes
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup split moong dal with skin
  • ½ cup split moong dal without skin
  • salt to taste

Here is how I made it:

  1. Heat ghee in a pan.   Add cumin seeds and bay leaf.
  2. When the cumin seeds change color, add the ginger, curry leaves, and green chilies.  Saute for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the turmeric and freshly ground pepper.  Mix well.
  4. Add the chopped veggies.  Sauté on medium heat for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, wash the rice and dal in several changes of water. 
  6. Add this to the veggies in the pot.  Mix well and fry for a couple of more minutes.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Transfer this to a rice cooker.  Add about 6 cups of water (you can cook this directly on the stove-top, but I used a rice cooker).  Let this cook until done.
  9. Serve hot with dahi (yogurt), papad, ghee, and aachar (Indian style pickle)

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