Friday, June 09, 2006

An Exact Recipe for a "Chaotic" Dish

I am back after being AWOL for nearly a month! Sometimes, work does get in the way of blogging. Over the past weeks, I have been cooking, maybe not as frequently as usual; instead making big pots of one dish and eating it over a few days. During busy times, there are a few tried-and-tested recipes that I keep going back to. These dishes are always
a) pantry-ingredient based
b) nutritious
c) hearty and comforting, so that they just hit the spot at the end of a long weary day.

A great advantage for a home cook is to have a few easy dinner recipes down pat. Those that you can throw together almost mechanically, without having to consult a recipe or having to rummage through the kitchen for a long list of ingredients. It certainly helps if the dish gets ready in less time than it would take for a bag of greasy take-out to arrive at your door.

One such recipe is "khichdi". A blend of rice and lentils cooked together, it offers both carbs and protein in one nutritious package. Since khichdi is one of those inexact dishes where you can dump in almost anything you can think off, the word "khichdi" in Hindi also colloquially means "chaos".
Chaos is fine, but anyone attempting to make khichdi for the first time might like a recipe, so here is mine, tried and tested. The inspiration for this khichdi is the traditional Gujarati-style khichdi, made from moong beans which have their skins on:
moong
I love the way this lentil cooks with the rice resulting in the perfect consistency. NYC has been so rainy, damp, chilly and miserable in the past few days: this khichdi got made several times, I can tell ya!

Moong Dal Khichdi

Prep. Time: 30 minutes (only 5-10 minutes active time), Serves 2-3
khichdi
Ingredients:
1/2 cup moong dal (the kind shown above, available in Indian stores)
1/2 cup rice
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Method:
1. Heat oil, then temper with the cumin and mustard seeds.
2. Add onion, garlic, curry leaves and saute for a minute.
3. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and salt and stir for a few seconds.
4. Add the rice, dal and 3 cups water.
5. Bring to a boil, then simmer until everything cooks together as a mushy, delicious mix.


Notes:
1. This recipe is best done in a pressure cooker, but can certainly also work on the stove-top in a covered pot.
2. If you have veggies on hand, saute a cup of diced veggies (peas, zucchini, cauliflower, carrot work well) between step 2 and 3, and add another 1/2 cup of water in step 4.
3. A great variation is "gili" or wet khichdi, in which you would add another cup of water at step 4, resulting in a slurpy, soupy consistency.
4. Serve with a dollop of ghee and some pickle on the side, if desired. I served this last night with some sauteed red cabbage-and-peas.
cabbage
I'll see you again in 3-4 days (promise!). Thanks for being patient!

21 comments:

  1. Khichdi on a rainy day ? Sounds perfect. Simple and delicious recipe.

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  2. hi nupur, nice to have you back . we really missed you. grt khichdi.......true comfort food. see you in 3,4 days.luv, yoma.

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  3. Welcome back! This sounds like it would be similar to a mediterannean dish I love called Mujadarah. It's lentil, rice, and carmelized onions. I'm very interested to see what kind of seasonings you use because I haven't been able to make Mujadarah successfully at home, so I will have to try this as a substitute!

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  4. Was wondering what happened.Then didnt want to disturb the new couples :)

    Is kichadi a generic name for all rice preparations like this?

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  5. hey Nupur...take your time :)...I remember I stopped e-maling everybody for a long time after I got married....enjoy your time with your husband now...the recipes can come later

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  6. Nabeela, I just want to clarify that the reason I am so busy is simply because of my heavy work-load (I am trying to wrap up my PhD).

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  7. Hi Nupur- I have been checking regularly and I am so happy to see a new post from you.

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  8. Hi Krithika, it just makes a rainy day that much more bearable :)

    Hi yoma, thanks for stopping by!

    Kalyn, Mujadarah has been on my "to-make" list for ages!!! Thanks for reminding me of this dish...I need to try it soon.

    LG, yes, khichdi is a common name for rice-lentil mixed preparations, but you can also have other types of khichdi like "sabudana khichdi" (sago).

    Mika, Thanks! It feels good to blog again :)

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  9. is that whole moong beans or split moong with skin?

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  10. Heyyy...!! So NICE to see you back with a new post, Nupur! :) How's married life treating ya?

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  11. Welcome back,and thank you for this recipe. I have never made khichadi with moongdal before.

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  12. one always knows when you are alive. but one has started to check your blog to see that you are alive *and* well!

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  13. one always knows when you are alive. but one has started checking your blog to know that you are alive *and* well.

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  14. Hi Nupur,Such a relief to see you back again with recipes!
    Hey All the very Best for the PhD!Dont get stressed out,you can post recipes at your leisure,we can wait fot you patiently till then!

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  15. Nupur,

    We made Khichdi for dinner today and followed your recipe to the tee. It was great! I also made kadhi, also your recipe - http://onehotstove.blogspot.com/2005/03/khichdi-kadhi-indias-comfort-food.html. They are both keepers.

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  16. Hai nupur,

    Iam anu. Thnks for ur receipe (Dal kichdi).Its very nice.

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  17. Hi Nupur

    Ur recipe indeed looks yummy. Am new to this site and got it when i was searching for khichdi receipes other than with rice, i have a vague idea of khichdi with white maize (heard it??)-somewhere i ate and wished to try it out but no recepie-any ideas???
    Also ur khichdi has red moon?? (the picture shows) i know only two moon-green and yellow.

    hope to hear from u

    sunita

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  18. Sunita, no, I have not made or eaten khichdi made with maize (corn). The only idea I can give you is this recipe from another blog which is made with ground corn in upma-style:
    http://vcuisine.blogspot.com/2007/07/dinner-story-cooking-for-two-everyday.html
    The picture actually shows green unhulled moong dal. If it looks red on your computer, it could be because your browser/ screen is giving it a red tint (which can happen with these digital pictures). I too know of only green and yellow moong dal, red is usually masoor dal. Any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

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  19. excellent recipe..too good!

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  20. I made this today! Thanks for such a simple recipe.. especially with easy to use ingredients!!!!!! I dont eat Onion/Garlic (Jain)..so i replaced them with Hing.. worked just right!

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  21. can you mix split green and yellow moong? I have the green but not that much and also found yellow in the cupboard so wondered if I could add that?

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Thank you for taking the time to say hello!