KHICHADI | RICE & LENTIL PORRIDGE
Khichadi is the epitome of Indian comfort food. Khichadi is what I call a spa for my tummy, a detox food-spa! Not only does this rice and lentil porridge spell comfort with every bite, the ingredients used actually have properties that can soothe your sick body from illness to health.
Back home from a long trip? Khichadi. Fever? Khichadi. Upset stomach? Khichadi. No time to cook? Khichadi. Yes. Khichadi is the answer to most food questions in an Indian household (Except for rasam rice… hmmm.. recipe another day?). I have had my fair share of this humble looking dish, but I swear, it still makes me say “mmmmmm” every single time I have it! As a matter of fact, there was a time I had this for 2 whole days for both lunch and dinner and We (both Nachiket and me) were not sick of it! Actually, we didn’t mind more of khichdi 😀
Now that you have heard such high praise about it’s taste, you should also know some of the health benefits it has to offer:
- Experts say that rice is easy on a digestively challenged stomach, easier than some raw veggies and fruits. Yes, the last part was surprising to me too!
- Cumin and asafetida is proven to aid digestion and reduce bloating
- Mung beans have a high protein content and one of the lighter ones in the lentil family
- Black pepper clears sinuses and works like magic for itchy throats
- Turmeric powder, well, it is but, world renowned for its Ayurvedic healing properties and antioxidant benefits.
All that technical jargon said and done, is’nt it a known fact that mushy food = great food? Why else would babies enjoy it?! 😛 Jokes aside, I think you get the idea of how great a dish, khichadi is, So, here is the recipe for:
KHICHADI | RICE & LENTIL PORRIDGE
- 1/4 cup Moong dal (or any other lentil you have on hand)
- 1/8 cup Toor dal (pigeon peas, optional)
- 3/4 cup Rice
- 4-5 cups Water
- 2 Green chilies, slit
- 1 tbsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- A pinch of asafetida (hing, optional)
- 1 tsp Crushed black pepper
- 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp oil
- Salt to season
- Cilantro for garnish
- Ghee to serve (optional)
- Mix the lentils and rice and wash well.
- Cook them with cups of 4 or 4 1/2 cups of water (or as required by the variety of grain you use) until soft. The rice and lentils (dal) have to be cooked to a very soft, mash-able consistency for the authentic khichadi taste and texture.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds into the hot oil and let them crackle.
- Add asafetida, cumin, green chilies. Roast them for 30 seconds and then add the turmeric and black pepper. Set aside.
- Add salt to the cooked lentil-rice mixture and give it a good whirl. This process with blend the rice and lentils together to create a uniform texture required for the khichadi.
- Now, add the spices in oil mixture and mix everything together.
- Add more water if required to get the right porridge-like consistency. Allow it to boil and then turn off the heat.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with a dollop of ghee (optional).
While any other lentil (like masoor dal/ red lentils) can be used, Mung dal is considered to be light on the tummy, easy to digest and cooling for your body. So, if you are not keeping well and want to eat khichadi to feel better, then mung dal is recommended. Otherwise, the choice of lentil is yours.
Serve a side of Indian Pickle and yogurt and find yourself in food-spa heaven!