Recently, the Indian government was about to name Khichdi as the national dish of India but for reasons best known to the authorities, it came up in the news because 819 kgs of the gram rice combo was built in one go for the shutterbugs with a celebrity, ministers and a spiritual guru in attendance not to forget the most famous chef in India, Mr Sanjeev Kapoor overseeing the preparation and the presentation.
I write for my own personal reasons and to spread a bit of warmth around by narrating where the bias stems from and also giving out the recipe for the uninitiated to enjoy. It is a staple diet in the majority of the country right from Gujarat to Punjab. Growing up, there were always differences between Mom and Dad every time Khichdi was made because he felt that Mom was a cop out by choosing a relatively easy dish to prepare and something which was only meant for patients. Which is true to a certain extent because, in our culture, khichdi is believed to be easy on the stomach and provides nourishment when the body requires the most especially when recuperating from an illness. My son who is six months old has also started indulging in it along with other foods. However, it was a personal favourite of mine because I actually enjoyed it as and when it was made given my preference for rice over chapattis. Khichdi is best enjoyed with loads of ghee or clarified butter, papadum for that crunch, a pickle for that zest and curd to round off one of the most simple recipes.
1. 1/2 cup split yellow gram or moong dal
2. 1/2 cup rice
3. one onion and tomato finely chopped
4. 1/2 an inch ginger
5. 1 green chilly
6. One teaspoon cumin seeds or jeera, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric or haldi and a pinch of asafoetida or heeng
7. Salt to taste
8. Three and a half cups of water
9. One and a half tablespoons of ghee
1. Soak the rice and lentils in water for 30 minutes after washing and rinsing them.
2. Add the ghee in a pressure cooker and the cumin seeds when the oil starts to splutter.
3. Saute the onions, on becoming translucent, add the tomato, chilly and ginger.
4. Add the turmeric and asafoetida and saute once more.
5. Now add the rice and gram to the mixture, pour the water and salt.
6. Close the pressure cooker and cook on high flame for six or seven whistles.
7. The consistency can be adjusted according to the palate.