Kichuri or Khichdi is the ultimate comfort food for us. There are different ways of preparing it! Sometimes made with assorted vegetables, it is extremely healthy. Avoiding the chilli part, we prepare it as a main meal for small kids also. One gets protein and vitamin from one single dish, cooked so quickly and hassle free.
We prepare it with fragrant rice called gobinda bhog, which is not easily available outside West Bengal. But you have Bangladeshi stores in almost all countries. There you get ' Chinigura chal ' which is almost of same variety. Alternatively you can use Basmati rice. The lentil Bengalis use for this recipe is Skinless Yellow Moong in general. At times we prepare it with masoor dal also. In that case we use onions.
Ever since, we were kids whenever it rained in the evening, we knew the dinner menu will be khichuri today with eggplant and potato fries accompanied by tomato chatni. Super lucky we were if there was some Illish (Hilsa) fish in mummy's store, then we would get heavenly tasted deep fried illish pieces. Our mother's pantries were a pandora box actually. Now you all tell me which food loving kid would concentrate on studies when it's raining outside and lovely smell from the kitchen makes you hungry all of a sudden. It's better to pen down a poem and wait for the magic words.....' Your dinner is ready'.
Yesterday I wished to bring into life those childhood memories, tell my son life was simple and we were happy with simple things in life and life necessarily need not revolve around an iPad 24/7. I was late yesterday, so instead of tomato chatney. I served mixed vegetable achar ( pickle) with Khichuri. We can agree on a conclusion that Khichuri, Rain and Bengalis have a close knit connection or bond, whatever.
INGREDIENTS :( for Khichuri )
Rice ( Gobindo Bhog or Chinigura or Basmati ) : 1/2 coffee cup + 2 tablespoon
Lentil( yellow moong dal ) : 1/2 cup
Ginger Paste : 2 tablespoon.
Salt : As per taste
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds : 4 pinches.
Dry Red Chillies : 2
Green Chillies : 2
Bay leaf : 1
Mustard Oil ( Any other variety will do ) : 2 tablespoon.
Sugar : 1/2 tsp ( optional )
INGREDIENTS : ( for the Fries )
Eggplant : 1 medium
Potato : 1 big
Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp
Salt : As per requirement
Oil : 2 tablespoon
Rice flour : 1 tablespoon for dusting
Take the rice and the lentils in seperate bowls. Wash the rice nicely and soak. Heat wok and dry roast the lentils. When cool, wash it , put in one cup of water and pressure cook upto one whistle. Let it cool.
Put the rice on gas with 4 cups water for boiling. Keep at medium heat. Meanwhile cut the potatoes into round thick slices and the eggplants into half moon sizes as shown in the picture . Wash and marinate in salt and turmeric as much as required. Keep aside covered.
When the rice is half done, open the pressure cooker and pour in the half boiled lentil into the rice. Add salt and half tsp. turmeric powder. Give a stir, cover and cook at medium heat. Every 3 minutes open the cover and stir. Pour in more water if required. Once done switch off.
Heat oil in a pan. Temper with bay leaf, cumin seeds and dry red chillies. Put in the ginger paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric and salt. Keep stirring at low heat until it's nicely fried yet not burnt. Pour on the rice and lentil mixture. Stir to mix very well. Switch on the gas. Put in the green chillies after being slitted. Add the sugar if you wish to. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes. Switch off, it's done.
Not put the wok in the gas. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil. Fry the potatoes and then the eggplants in batches after dusting with some rice flour. This helps them to stay crispy upto half an hour. I asked to fry the potatoes first because after frying eggplants, the oil turns black, unlikely to be reused.
Serve Khichuri along with the fries, accompanied by sweet tomato chutney or little pickle. You can pamper yourself more with an omelette or fried fish, preferably Illish. ENJOY!