This is one of my favourite emergency meal options. Like biryani, khichdi is a universal dish with so many personalised recipes, that no one can be called authentic. I’ve grown up on the hyderabadi khichdi which uses red lentils or masoor ki dal and is spiced with whole garam masala and liberal amounts of ginger garlic paste. I love the gooey gujarati version with liberal doses of ghee and cumin seeds in the seasoning. I also like the cross between a pulav and a khichdi which i make with whatever vegetables i have on hand, sometimes with rice and mostly these days with broken wheat. All said and done, Khichdi is a very forgiving preparation that allows a lot of bandwidth for experimentation. The only constants being the use of rice and lentils. Here is my version of the famous hyderabadi khichdi. There is a saying in Hyderabad “ khichdi ke chaar yaar, khatta, kheema, papad, achar!!” which translates to, khichdi has four buddies, khatta- a tangy gravy preparation made mostly of tomatoes and tamarind, kheema – a dry lamb mince sauté, papad and achar – pickle.
I usually serve mine with a kadhi or a tangy gravy egg curry.
Hyderabadi Khichadi (makes 3 servings )
1 cup long grained rice such as sona masuri
1/3 cup shelled moong dal (green gram) or shelled masoor ki dal (red lentils)
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion sliced fine
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
2 slit green chillies
2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 2 small pieces cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 small bayleaf
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 ½ cups water
Wash the dal and rice together and soak in water atleast 15 minutes.
In a pressure cooker, heat the oil, add the whole spices and sauté for half a minute. Add the sliced onion and green chillies and sauté till the onions turn golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry well, so that it doesn’t stick or burn. Add the salt, turmeric, drain the rice and add to the pan. Saute while making sure that the grains of rice do not break. Add the water and bring it to a boil. You can close the lid and allow it to cook for 2 whistles before turning it off (which i prefer) or simmer it in the same dish without the lid, till the water dries up. Serve hot with mango pickle, kadhi and papad.