Re-visiting our love for khichdi

Re-visiting our love for khichdi

Khichdi, since time immemorial, has been the comfort food for many, for generations. This one-pot meal is an absolute favourite of many, especially during the monsoon season in India and for those whose culinary skills are not quite up to the mark! It has also been the go-to remedy for those suffering from an upset stomach.

Khichdi gets its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Khicca’ meaning - a dish made of rice and lentil.

Khichdi is usually prepared in a pressure cooker. Some prefer a thick porridge like consistency while others prefer it really runny. One can also add vegetables like green peas, potatoes, carrots and beans to it to make it more filling and nutritious. Khichdi is usually had along with various accompaniments like onion fritters, poppadums, curd, buttermilk and pickle.

Though the above preparation is the most commonly found style of Khichdi made from moong dal (as it is easy to digest), Khichdi has many other styles of preparation too, that are found in different parts of the country.

1. Pongal

Ven pongal with coconut chutney, sambar and ari murukku. Photo: Shutterstock/Santhosh Varghese

Pongal is a type of khichdi made in Tamil Nadu during the harvest festival. It is made with rice, moong dal and lots of ghee. It can be made in both sweet, spicy and savoury flavours. The sweet version of Pongal known as Chakkara Pongal, is garnished with a lot of roasted dry fruits and is offered to the Gods on Pongal. The savoury or spicy version of Pongal is called Melangu Pongal and is garnished with crushed pepper.

2. Bisi Bele Bhaat

This version of Khichdi is made in Karnataka. However, it is made from toor dal (instead of moong dal), rice, lots of ghee and a special mix of 30 different spices. It is this special spice mix that gives Bisi Bele Bhaat its unique taste. One can also add many vegetables to this preparation and garnish it with roasted cashew nuts. In Kannada ‘bisi’ means hot, ‘bele’ means lentils and ‘bhaat’ means a dish made with rice.

3. Keema Khichdi

Keema khichdi made in Andhra Pradesh is the only non-vegetarian version of Khichdi found in the country. The keema khichdi was first made in the kitchens of the Nawabs of Hyderabad. It tastes quite similar to the Hyderabadi biryani. This khichdi, like any other is made using rice and lentil, with the addition of ground meat. It is often served along with a tangy salan.

4. Bihari Khichdi

This version of Khichdi, as the name suggests, is made in Bihar. It is made with rice, lentils like moong dal and urad dal, ginger and chillies. It is then tempered with asafoetida and ghee. The Bihari khichdi is usually had during the Makar Sankranti festival along with a side of mashed potatoes and brinjal that is tempered with mustard oil, known as Chokha.

5. Bengali Khichuri

The Bengali khichuri is usually had during the festive season and is made with rice, roasted moong dal, ginger and ghee. The usage of onion and garlic is strictly prohibited as this khichdi is offered as a prasad. However, a lot of other vegetables can be added to this khichdi like tomatoes, potatoes and green peas. It is usually had along with a variety of separately fried vegetables known as Bhajas and a sweet tomato and date, or tomato and raisin chutney.

6. Vaghreli Khichdi

This version of khichdi, made in Gujarat, is made using rice and moong dal and is tempered with garlic and other spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. The khichdi gets its name from the Gujarati word ‘Vaghar’ meaning to temper food. According to legend, the founder of Ahmedabad, Sultan Ahmed Shah I, was very fond of this version of khichdi, so much so that he used to eat this every single day!

7. Bajra Khichdi

Bajra khichdi is a preparation made in Rajasthan. It is a unique variety of khichdi, and unlike the others, is made from sorghum (jowar) and millet (bajra), as rice is not a staple of Rajasthan. Bajra khichdi is usually had with accompaniments like curd, garlic chutney and other types of pickles. A lot of ghee is also added to this khichdi to aid in its digestion.

8. Valachi Khichdi

Made in Maharashtra, the Valachi khichdi is made using val beans or field beans and rice. It is also known as Walachi khichdi, Dalimbyacha khichdi or Biryacha bhat. The Valachya khichdi is had with accompaniments like curd, kadhi, ghee and pickles.

So the next time that you are in the mood to cook Khichdi, try your hand at making one of these variations and let us know if you like it!

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