Kuttu ki khichdi is more like a stew that you can cook in about 20 minutes if all the vegetables are chopped. So technically it may be a buckwheat and bottle gourd stew with some bits of paneer for protein in the meal. A khichdi should have a grain and a lentil or more than one grain and lentils if we talk about authentic khichdi, but buckwheat groats can become almost khichdi like in consistency when cooked with a little extra water. Though it cooks like a pilaf as well.
Anyways, this dish is more like a one pot stew that can make a complete meal. We had it with a fish fry on the side as we are not into Navratri fasting anymore, but a large serving of raita or buttermilk will complete this meal if you are fasting.
You can use any gourd family vegetables to make this stew, sponge gourd and ridge gourd work well and zucchini also can be used for a good texture and mild taste that does not mask the nutty flavors of buckwheat. I used a soft bottle gourd of the round variety and some home grown tomatoes..
Buckwheat groats can be cooked with just the double amount of water volume wise to cook like pilaf and if the cooking liquid is more, the texture of the resultant dish is more risotto or stew like.
(2 meal servings with a side dish or raita)
chopped bottle gourd 5 cups (400 gm)
chopped ripe tomatoes 1.5 cup (150 gm)
finely chopped root ginger 1 tbsp
whole dry red chilly one broken
finely chopped green chilies to taste
curry powder (everyday curry powder) 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
salt and pepper to taste
ghee 1.5 tbsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
buckwheat groats 3/4 cup
paneer 100 gm chopped in small cubes
Heat ghee in a pressure cooker pan (or a normal stockpot type pan) and tip in the cumin seeds. Let the cumin splutter before you add the red chilly broken and then the chopped ginger. Once cooked and fragrant, add the powdered spices and immediately add the chopped tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook this mixture till the tomatoes cook well and look like a chunky sauce.
Add the chopped bottle gourd (lauki), toss well and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Stirring it all once in a while. Add 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil.
Add the buckwheat groats, mix well and cover the lid and pressure cook till the first whistle If cooking in a stock pot, let it simmer covered till the buckwheat gets cooked. Add water if required to adjust consistency.
Add the cubed paneer and let it come a boil once again. Or just mix and cover if you want the khichdi on the dry side.
Add finely chopped green chilies and coriander leaves if using.
Not to worry, all vegetables have their own benefits, so go ahead and cook this with spinach or a mix of bell peppers if you wish. Just take care not to mask buckwheat if you like the nuttiness of buckwheat.
This could be a daily meal during Navratri with changed vegetables and seasoning every day. Do let me know if you try this recipe.
Cheers and wishing you all a wonderful Hindu new year...