Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Khichdi

Khichdi, the ultimate comfort food! At least for me, people tend to see it as sick food but then they probably haven't experienced the fun and depth of flavours simple khichdi can take on. A mushy hot mixture of lentils and rice cooked with some vegetables and served with a variety of accompaniments that do a lovely tango with it! You can play with the vegrtables used, the lentils used and the spices used and create such a variety of khichdis... its just amazing!

For me I guess the importance of khichdi is signified in these two closely related incidents. When (one of my two) best friends left for UK to study in 2009, the last meal we both shared together was a simple moong dal khichdi (by choice!) before she left for the airport and the first meal we had when she came back after a year in the UK was the same moong dal khichdi at the airport, when she landed. On both occasions, in full Gujarati tradition, there were about 20 odd "close" relatives that were around to drop and pick her up, and full Gujarati meals of thepla, dhokla, wadas, dabeli, something sweet, two drinks, tea were there (and when we picked her up at the airport it was 2 in the morning aaaaand all this was there eaten at the airport as the relatives waited for her to clear customs!), however the two of us were happy with our simple homemade moong dal khichdi.

This is a palak khichdi, a little more elegant than the simple rice-lentil khichdi we make in our regular menu, but a good khichdi to have.

Palak Khichdi with Tomato-Onion Kuchumber (Koshimbir/ Salad):

Palak Khichdi

Ingredients

2 cups rice (preferably basmati)
15-20 palak leaves
20-25 corriander leaves
1/2 inch ginger
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 green chillies
1 medium onion finely chopped
11/2 tsps shahi jeera
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
4-5 cloves
4-5 whole peppercorns
2 tsps garam masala
2 tbsps oil for cooking
Salt to taste

Wash the rice and soak it for at least 30 minutes.

Blanch the spinach and chop it. Puree the leaves in a mixer with the corriander leaves, the ginger, the garlic, and the chillies.

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil. Add the shahi jeera when the oil is heated and let it crackle. Add the onion  and the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, the peppercorns and the cloves. Once the onions are translucent, add the palak puree and let it cook a little with the spices and the onions. Add the soaked rice and mix it well with the puree. Add the salt to taste, garam masala and the water to cook. Cook in the pressure cooker for about 3 whistles.

Serve hot with cold yoghurt, tomato-onion kuchumber and papad.

Tomato-Onion Kuchumber (Koshimbir/ Salad)

2 medium onions
2 tomatoes
1 green chilly
20-25 corriander leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, chillies and corriander leaves. Add the lemon juice, the salt and mix well to serve.