I spent much of this past week writing a long note on copyright theory. I had a deadline to meet (as I mentioned, in my previous post about sunbathing kitties) and I found myself working pretty much around the clock. So I ended up eating out quite a bit. 4 days out of the past 7, I walked out in the snow, slush, gorgeous winter sun, or whatever else this bizarre winter threw at me, and got takeout. Finally, yesterday, sick of all this, I decided to make myself some good, comfort food. I needed something that was simple, fast and healthy; especially something ‘fast’ because I wanted to send off the note to my supervisor before the end of the day. “What should I make?” I pondered, and then it struck me! I was going to make Khichdi!
I’ve forgotten all about khichdi these past few years, choosing to explore more complex and indulgent dishes like dal makhani instead. But today was a khichdi kind of day. Khichdi is the perfect food for when you’re sick, or too busy to make something more complicated. It’s just lentils and rice with some mild spices. You can however, add some vegetables (bleugh! (I am not a huge fan of vegetables, you see)) to it to if you want to.
Here’s how to make some khichdi for yourself:
1 cup moong dal (you could also use other lentils like Tur dal for instance)
A little less than 1 cup rice
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder (dry roast cumin seeds and then grind them, or you can buy the powder at the store)
1 tsp coriander powder (dry roast coriander seeds and then grind them, or you can buy the powder at the store)
1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1-2 green chilli sliced horizontally into two. (You can also use half a Jalapeño).
For the tadka (tempering):
1-2 tbsp of ghee (Indian clarified butter, you can make this at home, or buy some at an Indian store)
1/2 to 3/4 cumin seeds
3 dried red chillies
A few kernels of black pepper
2 pinches of heengh (asafoetida)
Optional Serving Accompaniments:
Ghee (you can find it in an Indian store; if you’d like to make it at home, here is my recipe)
Indian Pickle (you can make some at home, but this isn’t so easy. You can also buy some at any Indian store. I chose a Andhra-style tomato pickle for today).
Start by soaking the moong dal in water for about 30 minutes. You don’t generally have to soak moong dal, but it cooks faster if you do. Also, I like the dal to be well-cooked, even squishy in khichdi, which is why I wouldn’t skip this step in this recipe.
Place a pressure cooker or pot (that comes with a lid) on the stove. Add the lentils, rice, garlic, green chillies and red chilli, turmeric, coriander and cumin powders and stir. Finally, add 2 cups of water, place the lid on the cooker/pot, lower the heat to medium and let the lentil-rice mixture cook. If you’re using a pressure cooker, let the mixture cook until the cooker lets off 4 whistles. If you’re using a pot, just let the mixture cook slowly, stirring occasionally. The mixture is done when it’s squishy enough for you, but make sure not to overdo it or you will end up with a goopy mess.
Now, add one or two tablespoons of ghee (I added two but one will do the trick) to the smallest pot you own, and turn on the heat to high. When the ghee is hot, add the cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter. Then, add the red chillies (torn in half), black pepper, cloves and heengh to the ghee and toss them about. When the chillies darken add this spiced ghee (called the tadka or popu) to the lentil-rice mixture. Your khichdi is done!
Serve with yoghurt and some pickle.
I like eating south Indian ghee with khichdi, so I served some ghee along with it in a little tart mold. That’s what I placed right on top of the khichdi.
If you want to know more about making south Indian ghee, you can read about it on this website. I am sure I will post something about it soon enough though. I LOVE ghee in general and South Indian ghee in particular.