Khichri has been a mundane kind of a meal for me , a meal cooked in a hurry or a student's sunday lunch when the mess is off , or a bachelor's way of life , food for the sick, a poor man's concoction .... it has always been a dish which we were embarrassed to acknowledge ..........it sounded so boring when everybody used to rave about maggi and it was khichri that i preferred............i used to love it secretly.
You know a well spread full course meal is not only a meal for most of us , it is more like a statement of our well being , financially........i am talking about the great Indian middle class which some believe has vanished under the heights of super specialty malls n multiplexes......for me , it is very much there , it is just that the middle class can afford a lot more now.....the mind set hasn't change.......khichri was a poor man's food n not fit to be in your favorite food list.
Pardon me for straying from the humble subject , the khichri........which , i recently came to know that , is not a humble dish actually ..........it has traveled to far away places ...........
Kedgeree is the new name ( for me) ........some say the original name ( i disagree that it came to India from Scotland first and then traveled back to Britain to become popular ) .......British were so enthralled by this simple dish that they adopted it for their breakfast , garnishing it with fish , bacon or egg and many more things alien to Indians in the time of Raj ( British empire).....i was even unaware of the fact that it is popular breakfast dish in the good old south of India), by the lovely name of pongal........i saw all these things only after i started writing my blogs n was introduced to so many blogs on traditional foods .......... kedgeree and pongal both as breakfast was very new for me and to the disgust of any north Indian i'd love to have khichri for my breakfast any day....... it's yet to happen though i have adopted my multigrain soup as a breakfast ( only mine , not the husband's ....he likes sweet breakfasts or stuffed parathas )......
I have some very fond memories of khichri from my childhood when i used to make a thinner khichri sometimes n temper it 3-4 times with different set of tempering to make it super flavorful ........ all of us 3 sisters used to hog like mad on khichri , the brothers still hate khichri and so does the husband.....to my utter dismay..........
But i am clever.....don't you know ?
He loves tahiri and i make khichri n tell him it is tahiri..........and he loves it.......do you have a kid?
This khichri i pass off as tahiri is actually a dressed up version of khichri , the bhuni khichri .......which is prepared more like a pulao and is spicier and drier looking like a biryani.........yes biryani ......to do away with the embarrassing part....:)
This is a tomato masala bhuni khichri or a daal wali tahiri .whatever you like to call it ..........as per your convenience.
Arvind carries a lunch box sometimes and one day i asked if he wants tahiri for lunch , he said yes n i made this khichri........in the evening i was reported that he couldn't get enough of it as the friends raided the lunchbox n he had to make do with other things.........
With a sealed pack of plain curds and any kind of raw salad it is a very good balanced meal and a very good option for lunch box.........i have been getting requests for lunch box suggestions n i hope i am able to post a few more.
rice 3/4 cup ( i used brown basmati rice )
whole mung beans with skin 1 cup
tomatoes chopped 2 cups
ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
chopped green chillies 1 tbsp ( and /or red chilly powder according to taste)
curry patta 4-5 springs
asafoetida powder a pinch
cumin seeds 2 tsp
black peppercorns 2 tsp
coriander , cumin , black pepper n bay leaf powder made using 2:1:1:1 ratio of the ingredients
( this is my everyday subzi masala but any curry powder will be good )
salt to taste
ghee 2 tbsp
Soak the mung beans overnight or for 3-4 hours at least , it will become almost double in volume.
Wash the rice and drain , keep aside.
Heat ghee in a wide thick base pan with tight fitting lid ........throw in the asafoetida and cumin seeds n black peppercorns .let them sputter.
Add the ginger garlic paste, green chillies and the curry patta and stir for a minute , throw in the powder masala mix , fry for a while till the masala gets aromatic , preventing burning .
Add the chopped tomatoes and salt and cook till the tomatoes are mushy .
Add the soaked rice n daal and bhuno , that is , stir fry the mixture for a couple of minutes till you see a slight change in the color of dal n rice......a bit translucent .
Pour 3.5 cups of water and let it come to a soft boil , adjust the flame to the minimum , cover the lid and cook for about 10 minutes........check after 5 minutes to adjust cooking time.....the grains of rice should be firm and the daal should get mushed when pressed , but should retain their shape.
Keep it covered after the cooking for 5 minutes , you get a nice aroma when you open the lid finally......
It's usually a one pot lunch for the two of us , it is a good choice for a filling n non messy lunch box too....dahi ( plain curds) is a must with it and some sliced cucumber , onions and carrots make a perfect accompaniment.
The UP version of bhuni khichri is spicier and laden with ghee , it has bay leaf instead of curry patta and a few cubed potatoes are sometimes thrown in........it is actually a very forgiving dish , very very customizable .........according to your mood , convenience and off course your imagination......not to mention your pocket.......add bacon , anchovies, prawns, boiled eggs or even nuts and be merry with khichri........or kedgeree.
Enjoy...be it Khichri or kedgeree.........