Vegetable Masala Khichdi
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Indian food, if made correctly and with the right herbs, has tremendous medicinal properties. Khichdi to me, more than being a weekly menu item, is something I remember being served every time I was ill as a child. As a homemaker, I’ve spiced up the humble dish to pair it with a variety of curries and Indian dishes.
Last week, I posted the recipe for Kadhi, a savory and tangy dish made with sour yogurt and chickpea flour. The perfect accompaniment to Kadhi, is a rice and lentil dish called Khichdi. Khichdi in Hindi is used as an adjective to describe things that are a mish-mash, or something that is mixed together. The recipe for Khichdi is just that. It is traditionally considered a comfort food and hence, every Indian household has a different method of preparing it. Even the ratio and assortment of lentils used varies. Commonly used lentils in the Khichdi include the split urad dal or split black lentil, yellow lentils and pink lentils, which are infact polished and de-husked brown lentils.
Some like their Khichdi simple, where they season the rice and lentils with salt and turmeric powder, and eat it with a bowl of fresh yogurt or a dollop of achaar or Indian pickle. Some spice it up by adding fried onion, garlic and cumin seeds just after the rice and lentils are cooked in the pot.
My recipe is a short-cut method to Khichdi. With a rice cooker, it is even quicker. It is the perfect, nutritious, flavorful meal on days when I have no time to cook after a long day, but don’t want to eat greasy fast food. Make it mushy like porridge, or dry, depending on your taste preference. The ingredients are easy to digest and this recipe is great for days when you have an upset tummy, a bad cold & cough or a toothache, and need something nutritious, that requires minimal chewing. I also add a bowl of chopped vegetables to add an extra layer of fiber and nutrition.
To make Khichdi for 2, you will need:
- 1 cup Basmati rice
- 1/4 cup pink lentils
- 1/4 cup split urad dal or split black lentils
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Fenugreek or Methi seeds (aids digestion and the immune system)
- 1/4 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- Assorted vegetables (optional) – Green beans, carrots, chopped potatoes etc.
- 1 tsp ginger & garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp Chili powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Cumin & Coriander powder or Dhania-Zeera powder
- Salt to taste
- 3 cups water
- A large pot and a rice cooker – Rice cooker will cook the grains faster. You can cook them in the pot as well.
- Mix the rice and lentils together in a bowl and wash them under running water and drain. Soak in 3 cups of water and keep aside
- In a pot, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and Fenugreek seeds. When the cumin begins to pop, add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook on medium heat till soft
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, allow to brown and then add the tomatoes. Add all the chopped vegetables at this point and allow them to brown a little
- When the tomatoes soften, add all the dry spices – Chili powder, turmeric powder and Dhania-Zeera powder. Add salt to taste
- Mix well, and cook till you can see the oil separating on the sides of the pot
- Now add the soaked rice and lentils. Mix well and transfer to a rice cooker if you have one. If you don’t, continue to cook in the pot on medium to low heat, with a lid on
- If cooking in a pot, check after 10 minutes to see if the grains need more water. Add 1/2 a cup at a time to avoid making it mushy. Simply cook with more water if you want the Khichdi mushy.
- Garnish with copped cilantro / coriander leaves and serve with some yogurt, Indian pickle, or Kadhi.