Thursday, January 04, 2018

Khichuri -- on a Snow Day

I would have never, ever thought that my first post on this New year would be a Khichuri.

Bengali Khichuri, Masoor Dal Khichdi

Bengali Khichuri | Khichri

There are many variations of Khichuri in Bengal, from the revered Bhog er Khichuri made with roasted moong dal and pure satwik ingredients to the Musur Dale er Khichuri which is made with red lentils and is flavored with onion and garlic to the Bhuni Khichuri which is a richer and drier version of Khichri

Yes, the Bong's rainy day picker-upper, their precious offering to Goddesses, their solution to all word problems, the heady mix of rice and lentils with spices and veggies -- the Khichuri.

The thing is I never got the whole brouhaha over this dish.
I mean, "Dude, it is just Dal and rice, why are you going so crazy 'bout it?"

It appears, not the Bongs alone, all of India is kind of crazy about Khichdi. In fact they are so crazy that they wanted to declare Khichdi as India's National food. Seriously? National Food? When you have so many better things like Ilish er Jhaal, Dim Kosha, Biriyani, Galouti Kababs, Aloo Paratha, Mysore Dosa to choose from, you choose Khichuri. Major eye roll!

But what can I say. My Baba is major Khichuri bhokto. He loves his Khichuri with dollops and dollops of Ghee and relishes it like no other. The husband-man is another big time Khichuri fan. Although unlike my Dad, who love his khichuris whether bland or rich, this guy loves a good khichuri.

Today we have been bombarded with what the meteorologists are calling the "bomb cyclone". It has been snowing since midnight, along with a lot of wind and it looks like we are in the middle of a snow desert. Schools have been closed and there is no way any one is venturing outside. So today I decided to make Khichuri for lunch. The only silver lining in that whole cloud of Khichuri was the omelette, yes the only thing that can redeem a Khichuri for me. I don't care for fries or labra. A nice Indian omelette with onion and green chilies is my only knight in shining armor when Khichuri is for lunch.

Unlike the Bhog er Khichuri which is made without onion and garlic and with roasted moong dal, this every day Khichuri is made with Musur aka Red Lentils and has its fair share of onion and garlic.

You can serve it with an omeltte, papad, some pickle like I did or with Beguni or Begun Bhaja

So, the thing is for a long time my Khichuri would never turn out right. You would think it is an easy-peasy thing to do but somehow mine always went wrong. Either the lentils were under-cooked or the veggies were over done or something. I eventually got it right but I figured there would be hapless souls out there who like me fail at making a Khichuri. For them, I even made a shaky video of this whole Khichuri making, holding my phone in one hand!

Bengali Khichuri | Musur Dal er Khichuri

The Grains

Rice ~ 1& 1/2 cup
Masoor Dal ~ 1 cup
Yellow Moong Dal ~ 1/2 cup


Onion ~ 1 small onion chopped in slices
Potato ~ 2 smallpotatoes peeled and quartered
Cauliflower ~ 8-10 large florets of a cauliflower
Sweet Peas ~ 1 Cup of sweet peas
Tomato ~ 1 medium chopped fine

Garlic ~ 2 fat clove minced fine
Ginger -- 2" ginger minced
Green Chili -- 3-4


Bay leaf/Tej Patta ~ 2 small or 1 large
Cardamom/Elaichi ~ 2
Clove/Laung ~ 2
Cinnamon/Dalchini ~ 1" thin stick
Cumin Seeds/Jeera ~ 1 tsp
Dry Red Chili/Shukno Lanka ~ 2 cracked

Roasted Cumin Powder ~ 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder ~ 1/2 tsp or to taste

Oil ~ for cooking
Ghee ~ 1-2 tsp

Start Cooking

Wash the Rice and Dal in several changes of water

Lightly fry the cauliflower florets till golden. Remove and keep aside

Heat Oil in thick bottomed deep pan. Temper the oil with
2 small Bay Leaf
5 Cardamom
5 Clove
2" thin stick of Cinnamon
1/2 tsp of Cumin Seeds
2 Dry Red chili cracked

When the spices start sputtering add the minced garlic closely followed by the shallots.Saute till shallots are soft and pink with little browning at the edges.

Add 1 tomato chopped and fry till there is no raw smell. Add 1tsp of grated ginger or ginger paste and fry for a minute.

Add the potatoes and the snap peas. Fry with 1/4 tsp of turmeric for a minute or two

Add the rice and the dal and fry for the next 3-4 minutes mixing the vegetables, lentils and the grains all together.

Add about 7 cups of water. Add Red chili Powder to taste, 1 tsp of Roasted Cumin Powder and salt to taste. Mix everything well together and let it cook. Remove the cover every few minutes and give a good stir.

When the rice is halfway done add the cauliflower florets and mix. If needed add more water, I like my khichuri on the liquid side so usually I add more water, it depends on your preference.

Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are all cooked taste and adjust for seasonings. Add 1-2 tsp of ghee on the top and mix well. Enjoy with papad, beguni or an omlette

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1 comment:

  1. Loved the description!
    Specially liked the handheld video- very authentic!
    Keep the good work up...


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