Khichri is one of those rice dishes that have the least chance of getting messed up. It kind of cooks on its own, conveniently, in one pot !
Khichri is a popular South Asian preparation of lentils and rice which has many different versions from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal…in some cultures it’s considered a formal rice dish and eaten with curries, in others it’s a comfort food, whereas some people think khichri is a health food that fixes your tummy or that you eat as something easy to digest when recovering from an illness .
The consistency varies too from fluffy, to risotto-like to that of a thick soup. I love khichri as a comfort food and make mine quite fluffy, yet softer than Pulao or Biryani rice. It’s a wholesome, complete meal …that I dress up according to my mood. If I want to turn it into an elaborate meal, I serve it with ghee and red chilli tarka on top ( clarified butter infused with chillies). Or you can put a blob of butter on top of cooked khichri and just let it melt its way down into the warm goodness. On the side you can serve an array of pickles, chutneys, mint Raita and fresh salad.
For Khichri, Lentil and Rice Mishmash :
1 cup green mung lentils
1+1/2 cups basmati rice
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 piece ginger, chopped
2 black cardamoms
4 green cardamoms
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon black pepper
2+1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1/2 cup ghee or vegetable oil
6 cups water
This Is What You Do :
Rinse lentils and rice separately to get rid of dirt and rice polish. Heat oil in a wok or wide mouthed, deep pan. Add onions, fry till golden or golden brown. The colour of the fried onions determine the colour of your rice…just don’t let the onions burn because that will impart an unpleasant taste to your rice.
Add ginger, garlic, black and green cardamoms, cinnamon, black pepper and salt. Add green lentils and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add rice and 6 cups of water. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pan and let simmer for 15-18 minutes.
By that time the rice would have absorbed most of the moisture. To make them more fluffy, put a skillet or cast iron pan under the rice pan. Wrap the lid of the pan in a clean kitchen towel. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let them cook for another 5 minutes.
For a risotto like texture add 1 cup more water and cook throughout on low heat. For a more soupy texture, add 2 extra cups water and cook throughout on low heat. Skip the last step and take the pan off the heat when the rice and lentils are really soft and they have reached the required consistency.
Garnish with fresh coriander, crisp fried onions, mint, green chilli peppers or red chilli flakes.
Serve hot with Raita, pickle, relish or chutney of your choice.
Makes 5 servings