Monday, August 29, 2011

Bhuni Khichuri -- with a twist of spice

Last week was the season premiere of TWC -- The Weather Channel. There was drama, earthquake, suspense, Irene the tormenting saas making an entry, hurricane, fear, tropical storm, tornado watch and lots of media coverage.


I watched Weather Channel like I have never done in my life. It is usually my Dad's prerogative when he is here and especially if it is winter. But in one week I outdid him. I watched it on the telly, on the laptop, on my iPad, on my name it and I was watching Weather Channel. And this from me who rarely ever watches television. You will say "House" and I will stare at you blank, you say "Dexter" and I am clueless. Beyond "Friends", "Everybody loves Raymond" and at times "Seinfeld" I don't think I have ever watched any series with so much emotions except of course Barney, Arthur and Dora the Explorer.

If this was India and there was a that thing called TRP, I bet TWC would score huge wins over stuff like "KKKKKKUsum" and "Kyunki Sass Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi" and all this without even starting off with a "K".


So anyway we were all pretty excited and prepared for the hurricane maiden Irene this weekend. In its wake, the earthquake earlier in the week seemed like merely a child in diapers.

When I went to the grocery store on Thursday evening and couldn't find a single bunch of yellow banana and then had to snatch away the last gallon of Organic Milk from another equally eager Mother, I kind of had a premonition of the heady days ahead. I called up at least a dozen friends and told them about "bare shelves" and how we could not find a "single thing" at Wegman's when the truth is I notched up a bill of 125 dollars just buying things I might need in an emergency and this included tubs of Haagen-Daz's Dulche de Leche. They in turn regaled me with their stories of stores bereft of bottles of water and such.

The myths just propagated but honestly we couldn't find a single flashlight in any store on Friday and turned out that was the single most important thing we would need.


Saturday, to mark it special and all I decided to make a Bhuni Khichuri. I am not particularly fond of Khichuris and never eager to make them. But D loves Khichuri to bits so for once I decided to put aside my own selfish interest and cook something that he might like. What with the hurricane and all I thought, I better mend my ways and become a better person.


I was armed with two recipes from folks on FaceBook, a sketchy one from the Mater and my own strong desire to add a twist to the Bhuni Khichuri. Bhuni Khichuri or Bhuna Khichuri is the richer version of the plain old Khichuri. It is more of a Pulao in the Khichdi family than a Khichuri. It can have non-vegetarian components like meat, eggs or prawn added to it. The name "Bhuni" or "Bhuna" comes from the step that involves roasting of the moong dal and frying the rice etc. to make this Khichdi.

My own memories of Bhuni Khichuri is more fictional than practical and is strongly grounded in what Buddhadeb Guha insists that "Rijuda"(of Rijudar Sathe Jongole fame) eats along with delicious venison meat(horiner mangsho) during his hunting adventures.


On Saturday however I was also plagued with memories of Bisi Bele Bhath and I wanted a spice component to the Bhuni Khichuri. So from the Masala Vani suggests I omitted Curry Leaves, Sambhar Powder and Coconut, for a Bong touch added Paanch Phoron  and made a spice powder. The Spice Powder along with the roasted Moong Dal, the Raisins, the Cashwes and the Ghee made for a suitably rich and delicious Bhuni Khicuri. We had it with some Papad and a spicy Chicken dish. By evening we were all ready for the hurricane and when the power conked off after midnight we went off to bed confident of a better tomorrow.

I just read that Swami Vivekananda who apparently was a very eager and experimental cook was fond of Bhuni Khicuri and made one with scrambled Duck Eggs added to it. This makes the cooking over the weekend all the more worthwhile.


Bhuni Khichuri

Make a Spice Powder

This is totally optional and not generic to traditional Bhuni Khichuri. You can use 1 tbsp of home made Garam Masala instead

Dry Roast

3 Dry red Chili(mine is not very hot, adjust according to taste)
4 green cardamom
4 laung/clove
1 big black cardamom(use only pods for grinding)
2" stick of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of Paanch Phoron
1 tbsp of Corriander seeds or 1 tsp of Corriander Powder
a pinch of Hing
Grind to a fine powder

Dry Roast 1 cup of Yellow Moong Dal till you get a nutty smell and some of the lentil is a light brown in color. Be careful, not to burn the lentils.

Wash 1 cup of Basmati or Gobindobhog rice and keep aside

Roast 2 tbsp of Kaju/Cashew in little oil and keep aside.

Start Cooking

In a Pressure Cooker heat 1 tbsp of White Oil OR Ghee

Temper the Oil with
2 small Bay Leaves
2 small green cardamom
2 Clove
1" thin stick of cinnamon (optional, I skipped)
1-2 Dry Red Chili

When the spices sputter, add 2 tbsp of finely chopped onion. Fry the onion till it is brown at the edges

Add 1 heaped tsp of homemade Ginger-Garlic Paste (more Ginger, less Garlic) and fry for a minute.

Puree 1 medium juicy tomato and add to above. Continue frying with sprinkles of water till the tomato is cooked.

Now add 1/2 cup of Peas. I added about 3/4 cup of Frozen Carrots + Peas. You can also add potatoes, cauliflowers etc. Fry for couple more minutes.

Add the roasted Dal followed with the rice. Add 1/4th tsp of turmeric powder  + the dry spice powder  you made. You can use 1 tbsp of the spice powder you made, if you prefer less spicy.
Add 1-2 tbsp of golden raisins. Now fry everything for 3-4 more minutes.

Add about 4 to 4&1/2 Cup of warm water, salt and about 1/2 tsp of sugar. Mix everything. Add 1 tsp of Ghee. Close the lid of the Pressure cooker and cook for 4 minutes at full pressure. My pressure cooker cooks rice in 3 mins at full pressure, I give a minute extra for the dal.

When you open the lid of the cooker, add a tsp more of Ghee if you want. Add the roasted Kaju/Cashew Nuts. Keep container closed and serve piping hot with Papad, chutney, fried Hilsa, Begun Bhaja or any meat dish. Bhuni Khichuri is supposed to be dry and not runny or liquid-y like the regular Khichuri, you can however adjust to your taste.


  1. aha, baire hurricane, ar bhetore dhNoya othha bhuni khichuRi ar dimbhaja. er theke bhalo combination ar kichhu hoy naki?

  2. Ei tomar abar hurricane ki, eta amder ekkkebare east coast isspecial

  3. Kalke Buddhadeb Guha'r Charaibeti shesh kore phiriye dilam ... ar aaj Rijuda'r horiner mangsho pore mone holo tomar oi darun khichuri tar shonge ektu kosha kosha mangsho holey o khub jomto. But of course nothing can beat dim bhaja with khichuri. Ami ilish peye e khichuri baniyechilam ... tomar moshla ta darun innovative toh! :-)

  4. I also followed your FB friends recipe, and made Bhuna khichuri... it turned out great! Except that for us here in PA, I made so much khichuri, kintu oram kichhu brishti to podhlo na!!! :-)
    Your posts give me new ideas of the age-old dishes (& their easy recipes) to put on the table, thanks dear!!!

  5. Looks comforting...sounds yum too

  6. Soo inviting and comforting khichri..

  7. I was going to say that the pic reminded me of a less runny BBB :) I liked your Bong twist to the masala.
    Glad you guys are ok, after Irene. My friend, who lives in Bridgewater, had a huge tree that uprooted and took out half the roof. Glad we'd moved out of our house, which was surrounded by tall, old trees. OK, you can go back to TWC now :)

  8. Khichri looks so fab:) Yummy preparation dear:)

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Deleted my comment, didn't want it to be construed as insensitive. You must have got it on your mail, I guess!

  11. TWC - I know! NJ perhaps had a lot of rain than us further south. Luckily we did not see much of Irene but the preparation was totally out of control.

    DD2 kindly offered me the candles she had made in school couple of years ago. We put it out but did not have to use it.

  12. I have never had this, but then i think i have not had lot of indian food.

  13. Thank God u all r fine!

  14. You write so well and I love the humour in your post.
    Will try your khichuri soon. Am positive it will be another delish dish from you.Seinfeld and Raymond are my favs too.And so is Swami Vivekananda!!

  15. I love Khichri.. very comforting food.. Your version sounds and looks very yummy :-)

  16. Kuntala
    Raag koro na, joto ichche khichuri khao, hurricane geche giye


    Ami mone hoy Charaibeti porini, kheyal asche na. Rijuda o last porechi anek kal age :) Ekhon Lila Majumdar roj du pata kore porchi :)
    Kal bhabchi Ilish anbo.


    Ha, ha, amrao brishtir agei khichuri khelam :-D. My pleasure


    Thank You


    Thanks dear


    You should try it

  17. Vani

    If I may be totally honest I like BBB a tad bit more :) OMG that is terrible. And actually Bridgewater had less of the storm than our area as per a friend who lives there. I too was very afraid of the trees in the back, but other than a power outage of 14 hrs. we were ok.


    Thank you so much


    Nope, I don't get comments on my e-mail. Would have loved to read your witty remark


    I think the Govt. took good but excess steps. I realize there was panic but that kind of forced people to stay safe.


    You should make Khicdi, do you make Bisi Bele Bhaat ?


    yes, everything was ok, except that we had a long power cut. Good lesson for the kids :)


    This is a richer version of Khichdi. You will like it if you are a Khichdi lover


    Thank you

  18. Sandeepa,
    I am glad it's over for good and tumra sobhayi bhalo acho..jeyi moshla ta baniyecho , eyi ta keeper recipe ..ek baar plain pulao diye baniye phelo ..besh bhalo hobe..I just loved the humour in this post..too good:D..bhalo thekho ..hugs and smiles

  19. What lovely spice mix and love the 'Bhuni' twist to the khichdi! A comfort food which you made it look scrumptious and delightful too.

  20. I like spicy! Thanks for the recipe.

  21. Long time, Sandeepa-how are you doing? I saw on TV about how groceries and emergency goods like flashlights etc were flying off the shelves :(. Hope you didn't have to go through major power-cuts, flooding etc.

    Khichri is a comfort food, in all its avatars :). Much needed when the weather is harsh!

  22. M a big khichri fan and so is hubby- luckily we both love to sit back with a bowl of steaming hot khichdi. Your bhuni khichri version is definitely a step up from the usual

  23. Was hoping for a different part of the country this time but looks like it will back to good old NJ :) Nov-Dec timeframe, tentatively. Still thinking if I should wait out the winter and M's school year (which ends in March). But she is missing her Dad a lot and while I did enjoy the first few weeks of N being away (after being together 24/7 for over a month!), it is now getting a tad rough on me too. So let's see. (Delete this comment later, ok?)

  24. Good that u take everything positively! if u have ever stayed at cal in ur childhood, u probably know what is called l-o-n-g power cut, isnt it? i hope this time u didnt have it that bad!

  25. Jaya

    Hyan ektu Garam Mashla theke alada holo. Coconut dile ar ektu different hoto


    Yeah though I am not a Khicdi fan, we enjoyed it

    Thank You :)

    How are you ? Long time no see


    Good for you :-D


    Ok, will do. Mail you soon


    I very well remember long power cuts, Calcutta and outside of it. As kids it was fun because no studies etc. but later it was dreadful. In fact there was a long one when we went to India last year too.

  26. Asadharan,aktu change korechilm receitake,bhuni khuchudi ,raita,dim kosha,papad vaja,......Bengali dad :)

  27. your Bhuni Kichuri sounds delish. I am going to give it a try today.

  28. Great khichuri recipe. All my in-laws loved it! thanks! :)


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