I am back after being AWOL for nearly a month! Sometimes, work does get in the way of blogging. Over the past weeks, I have been cooking, maybe not as frequently as usual; instead making big pots of one dish and eating it over a few days. During busy times, there are a few tried-and-tested recipes that I keep going back to. These dishes are always
a) pantry-ingredient based
c) hearty and comforting, so that they just hit the spot at the end of a long weary day.
A great advantage for a home cook is to have a few easy dinner recipes down pat. Those that you can throw together almost mechanically, without having to consult a recipe or having to rummage through the kitchen for a long list of ingredients. It certainly helps if the dish gets ready in less time than it would take for a bag of greasy take-out to arrive at your door.
One such recipe is "khichdi". A blend of rice and lentils cooked together, it offers both carbs and protein in one nutritious package. Since khichdi is one of those inexact dishes where you can dump in almost anything you can think off, the word "khichdi" in Hindi also colloquially means "chaos".
Chaos is fine, but anyone attempting to make khichdi for the first time might like a recipe, so here is mine, tried and tested. The inspiration for this khichdi is the traditional Gujarati-style khichdi, made from moong beans which have their skins on:
I love the way this lentil cooks with the rice resulting in the perfect consistency. NYC has been so rainy, damp, chilly and miserable in the past few days: this khichdi got made several times, I can tell ya!
Moong Dal Khichdi
Prep. Time: 30 minutes (only 5-10 minutes active time), Serves 2-3
1/2 cup moong dal (the kind shown above, available in Indian stores)
1/2 cup rice
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
1. Heat oil, then temper with the cumin and mustard seeds.
2. Add onion, garlic, curry leaves and saute for a minute.
3. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and salt and stir for a few seconds.
4. Add the rice, dal and 3 cups water.
5. Bring to a boil, then simmer until everything cooks together as a mushy, delicious mix.
1. This recipe is best done in a pressure cooker, but can certainly also work on the stove-top in a covered pot.
2. If you have veggies on hand, saute a cup of diced veggies (peas, zucchini, cauliflower, carrot work well) between step 2 and 3, and add another 1/2 cup of water in step 4.
3. A great variation is "gili" or wet khichdi, in which you would add another cup of water at step 4, resulting in a slurpy, soupy consistency.
4. Serve with a dollop of ghee and some pickle on the side, if desired. I served this last night with some sauteed red cabbage-and-peas.
I'll see you again in 3-4 days (promise!). Thanks for being patient!