Wednesday, 1 November 2017

In Defence of Khichri

Khichri for comfort after a rough day. Anyday!
I must say that from the time that the khichri debate has started since yesterday I have been shocked. It seems that the present government wants to make khichri the national food of the country and that was enough to stir up a whole hornet's nest. The moment a Bombay daily declared this, a hue rose in the social media, people decided that it was a bad idea and many even said that it was eaten only when someone falls ill hence, it doesn't deserve the status of National Food.

I was upset for a lot of reasons and decided to not get into the Twitter war at all. Apart from retweeting a comment by Omar Abdullah where he asked if we'd now have to stand up and eat khichri, I was not too moved by the whole debate - especially the against part. 

Though I feel that I must confess why?

And here's the reason.

I love khichri!

For me it is the perfect comfort food. I love it. Period.

My dad is particularly scared of the days when I volunteer to cook dinner. His biggest fear being that I will end up making khichri and he'll be expected to eat it without grumbling. But, my dad's a sport. He grumbles but, eats it up.

My ma and my sister on the other hand, refuse completely. They's rather eat bread and milk and go to bed than have khichri. I find their whole attitude pretty bourgeoisie. Very preconceived like the rest  of those who are opposing the move to 'make khichri the national food' campaign.

I have never understood this lack of PR that khichri seems to have. Although I do agree that most people don't get the khichri right. They either make it too bland or thick or make it like a mash of lentils and rice which, I agree is inedible. You can sample this in any hospital and you will know what I am talking about.

Some people make khichri with black lentils or sabut urad and it goes for a toss because, black lentils take much longer to cook than rice and the result is really messy.

I have over the years tried making khichri or kedigree as the British call it in many avataars. On the onset, I must tell you that I will NEVER recommend it being made with black urad unless you soak the lentils separately for much longer than the rice or, start with cooking the urad first and then add the rice - which takes away from the authenticity of the dish!

I have made khichri with chicken and also love the one where I dry fry the moong dal before making khichri which is a very authentic Bengali version of it and is famously known as Bhuni Khichuri. But, I usually love my own version of it. 

So, my khichri is either made with moong or masoor dal. Here's the easy-peasy recipe for my favorite comfort food for dinner at the end of a rough day.

Take equal amount of rice and dal and wash it thoroughly.

Soak them together for say half and hour.

Meanwhile, peal a potato and dice it into four parts.

Take half a carrot and cut it into chunky pieces.

Take a few florets of cauliflower and cut them into medium sized pieces.

Wash a few leaves of palak or spinach.

Take a pinch of haldi, jeera or cumin powder and salt to taste. 

Take a pinch of cinnamon or dalchini powder.

One bay leaf or tejpatta.

A pinch of cumin seeds or sabut jeera.

Some green chilies chopped or cut from the middle - depending on your palate.

Take a clean pressure cooker, add a bit of ghee and wait for it to warm. Add a pinch of cumin seeds and bay leaf and wait till they crackle.

Add the potato and some salt to the ghee and saute it.

Add the carrots to the potato and saute some more.

Add the cauliflower to the mix.

Saute all the veggies till they are semi cooked.

Add the haldi and the jeera power and turn around to cover all veggies. 

Add the green chillies and stir till the mix starts smelling delicious.

Drain the rice and lentil and add to the veggies and stir a bit till everything is nicely mixed up.

Add the spinach and stir a little more.

Add water stir a little.

Add the cinnamon powder in the end.

Put the lid on the mixture.

Wait for one or two whistles and turn the gas off.

When you open up after a while, I dare you not to drool!

Well! That's it - I am going off to make khichri now. I don't care if it is declared national food or named brand ambassador of Indian cuisine. For me it's always been a winner with a capital W!

(Image courtesy, Internet)  

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