Kichdi

Kichdi- the word brings about myriad memories. It is a very popular staple in most rice consuming societies. We Kannadigas have our own huggi/ bisibelebhaath, Tamils have their pongal, Oriyas, Bengalis, Biharis have their own recipes for this rice and beans dish. East Asian societies have their own versions of Kitchdi. Rice and beans is popular in Mexico. Risotto though typically made without beans is so much like own own huggi/pongal/kichdi. It has to be given kichdi is such a simple dish, easy to prepare and flexible in terms of ingredients. However, if not made well, kichdi can be very difficult to consume. Like Sabarmati hostel mess back in JNU.

Saturday lunch typically consisted of kichdi, yogurt, papad , pickles and ghee those days. My first encounter did not go well. I tried every possible combination of kichdi and accompaniments. Despite ladles of ghee, pickles it still tasted bland. It did not help that when students were stick they could request for 'sick' food and that would be the same kichdi  sans the accompaniments. My relationship with kitchdi progressively estranged to the point that I could not swallow a single mouthful even if I tried to shove it down with a pusher. Any day I notice the tin of Ghee on the mess counter, I would turn back right from the door.

And then after years, we visited a local Bengali temple during Dasara and they were serving kichdi for prasad and it was delicious. It was simple enough but the combination seemed to work. Now kichdi is my go to recipe if I am hard put for time. It is simple and comes together in no time.



We will need,

Rice 3/4 cup
Masoor dal 1/4 cup (yes that is my secret!!)
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Cardamon black 1
Bay leaf 1

Cabbage shredded  about 1 cup (more if preferred)
Cauliflower florets  1 cup
Green beans diced 1/2 cup
Carrots diced 1/2 cup
Green peas 1/2 cup

Oggarane /Tadka
Ghee 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Hing a generous pinch
Green Chillies 4-5 (adjust according to taste)
Ginger paste 1 tsp

Salt and lemon juice to taste.
Coriander for garnish (optional)

Method:
  • Wash rice and dal in several changes of water and soak it in water enough to completely cover it for about 20 minutes-30 minutes.
  • Meantime prep the vegetables. Wash, trim and dice the vegetables. 
  • Combine the rice, dal and vegetables in a pressure cooker. Throw in the turmeric, cardamon black, bay leave with  4 cups of water. Cook till the rice is soft about 2-3 whistles. Remove from heat and set it aside. Alternately rice and dal can be cooked in a heavy bottom pot till half done and then the vegetables thrown in to be cooked till done. But the recipe made in pot will need more water than in a pressure cooker.
  • To prepare the oggarane, heat ghee in a small pan.Throw in the mustard seeds and hing. Once the seeds splutter, throw in the slit green chilies and ginger paste. Saute for 30 seconds or so and remove from fire.
  • Once the pressure has reduced and the pressure cooker is safe enough, open it and ensure the rice and vegetables are done. Fold in the Oggarane and adjust salt, lemon juice. Heat it gently stirring at regular intervals. Garnish with coriander if using. Serve hot with ghee, yogurt, papad and pickles as the Hindi saying goes -"Kichdi ke chaar yaar, ghee dahi, paapad aur achaar"
 

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