16 November, 2011

Khichdi - Version 1.

As basic as it gets.

Great as a regular food, light on the stomach, and so easy to make.  Also good for elderly, invalids and babies (the dal and rice can be ground into a mealy powder before cooking or mashed/processed after wards for a smoother texture).

This is the simplest version, without any vegetables and the bare minimum spices, made using rice and lal masoor dal (which can be easily substituted with split yellow moong dal).


Ingredients:

Rice: 1/2 cup
Lal Masoor Dal (Pink Dal/Lentil): 1/2 cup (split or whole, skinned)
Salt: To taste.
Haldi Powder (Turmeric powder): 1/4 tspn
Water: 4 cups for a porridge-like consistency (lesser or more as desired)
Ghee: 1 tspn
Jeera (Cumin seeds): 1/2 tspn
Hing (Asafoetida): a pinch

Serves three adults.

Procedure:

Mix the first two ingredients.  I used unpolished rice and whole pink dal.

Wash, if required. Add the water. (I'm using a 'container' placed within a pressure cooker to make the khichdi. If cooking in a pot, the water will need to be increased.)

Add the salt, (this can obviously be added later, if desired),
and the turmeric.

Mix.

 Here is the cooker with the water already bubbling into which the above container goes.

After one whistle (which indicates that the pressure is fully built up inside), it can simmer for 15 minutes or so.

Open cooker, check. It's done. All soupy and soft, just the way we like it.

Now for the tempering.  Heat the ghee in an appropriate utensil, - this here is a "Popu Karandi" or tempering ladle made of cast iron. When hot (not smoking!) add the jeera.

As soon as it starts crackling -

turn off the flame.  (The browning process continues as the ghee is still hot).

Add the hing

Which will get roasted in the residual heat. (And none of the tempering ingredients get burnt!)

Add to the cooked khichdi, mix well.  (I sometimes mix in the tempering before the cooking stage - it makes the jeera seeds soft and the flavours more infused.  It also makes it so much easier - ready to serve right out of the cooker!)

And it's done! What goes with it?

" Khichdi tere chaar yaar: Dahi, Papad, Ghee, Achaar".

In other words, the bland taste of khichdi makes it go exceptionally well with these accompaniments:

Note: In the above picture, the same khichdi is made with split, husked moong dal (green gram) cooked for half as long (5 minutes on simmer, after full pressure is reached) with lesser water (3 cups), so it is also thicker.

The accompaniments are (anti-clockwise from right):
  1. Fresh home-made yogurt,
  2. A crisp papad, 
  3. A generous dollop of ghee, 
  4. A pickle (or two).
(The truly adventurous can even try all the four!)

Note regarding accompaniment 4: Special mention to be made on behalf of the non-spicy, no-oil, north-indian lemon pickle - said to have medicinal properties - which goes exceptionally well with this (Another post on how to make that next lemon season.) For a spicier option, try the south-indian lemon pickle - the one that typically accompanies curd-rice, it's just as great!

The ultimate comfort food.

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