Saturday, February 14, 2015

Khichdi Pulao

'Khichdi' - The name sounds funny because often we get to hear the word in Hindi films when someone goofs up things! In India, Khichdi or hotchpotch is a delicious meal consisting of Moong Daal and Rice cooked with spices. This is famous staple of North Indians, especially Maharastrians and Gujaratis. Khichdi is a bland dish that can be savoured even by people recovering from illness, for it provides nutrition and energy, at the same time is easily digestible.
Meena was slightly under the weather, was recovering since 2 days and I was wondering what to prepare for lunch for her. I suddenly remembered the life saver meal khichdi that she often used to make for me when I was down with some illness. Yet, I wanted her to get better nutrition and vitamin supplements. I also kept in mind how she drooled over the take away mutton biryani from Danish Food Court that I gobbled up two consecutive days when she was confined to gruel and simple vegetable fry! So I decided to make something in lines of the Royal Khichdi that we made a few years ago, but adding vegetables this time. I had very little time on my hands, as it was almost past 1:30pm as I started to prepare the veggies for the Khichdi. 

So, I skipped searching for the the authentic Royal Khichdi and went by my own formula to make this wonderful delicious non spicy tasty wholesome Khichdi Pulao. This fusion of two most popular North Indian rice dishes, has no whole spices to annoy you while enjoying the meal and kids will simply love this. 

One word about the rice you use. Better choose short grain rice, as it absorbs the masalas better and also blends well with the added Moong Daal. So, I chose Jeerak Samba rice and avoided using Basmati. If inevitable, go for Basmati. As regards adding butter, I always felt some kind of lightness in rice dishes if we add butter instead of ghee. Roasting Moong daal with oil and then adding butter retains moisture in the rice and doesn't char the other ingredients. You may just think in terms of butter fried boiled vegetables that we often try in good restaurants as a starter.
You may add extra ginger-garlic paste, pepper and garam masala if you want to make this more spicy. Also add couple of slit green chillies and a bay leaf for altogether different feel. Please follow the instructions about maintaining the right heat during various frying processes, as the fine dining depends on fine cooking.It is not my prerogative to pat my own back. Try and make this yourself to find out if this is good enough for your and your family's tastes! I guarantee you, you won't be disappointed with my formula. Please leave a feedback/suggestion about the dish, as I would love to improve on my own recipes anytime. Our followers are out guides.

Jeerak Samba Rice - 1 cup
Moong Daal - 1/2 cup
Water - 3 and 1/4 cups
Salt - 1 Tsp
Chopped vegetables(French Beans, carrots, cauliflower) - 1 cup
Shelled fresh or frozen peas - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 1 medium chopped
Chopped Coriander leaves - A handful
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 Tsp
Crushed Black Pepper - 2 Tsp
Cumin powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 Tsp
Refined vegetable oil - 1 Tsp
Butter - 50 Gms
Wash and soak rice in water at room temperature for 15 mins.
Drain and keep aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan.
Fry moong daal till a nice aroma emanates and daal turns golden brown.
Simmer the flame, collect the fried daal at the periphery of the pan, make a crater in the center and drop the butter in the crater.
As butter melts, add ginger garlic paste and fry for 1 min on medium flame.
Raise the flame to high, add the chopped veggies except peas, tomatoes and coriander leaves.
Fry for another 2 mins.
Now add the chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powder.
Mix gently for 1 min.
Add the peas and chopped coriander leaves, 3 and 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Check for salt and add little more pepper if you want.
Add the soaked drained rice.
As the water starts to boil again, simmer and cover the pan.
Keep on low flame for 15-20 mins.
Switch off the flame, garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

If you skip adding rice and follow the method till adding peas and chopped coriander leaves, you can make an excellent vegetable-lentil shorba or soup! 

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