Friday, March 6, 2009

Vegetable Khichdi (Lentil rice with vegetables)

This incident happened during our second wedding anniversary. We had planned for a weekend visit to hubby’s parents’ home. We were in Bangalore & his parents were in Srirangapatna. We used to travel on Friday evening & reach Bangalore back on Sunday night. My brother used to stay with us those days & my brother-in-law who was also studying in Bangalore happened to stay at our place on that weekend. We informed them about our plan to visit to Srirangapatna. They happily accepted & said, they would still stay back at our place & cook something for themselves ;) I knew that my younger bro-in-law prepared maggi sometimes, but I was sure that my brother did not know “ABC..” of cooking. Anyways, we left them thinking.., boys world, let them enjoy!! I just showed them the containers of the basic ingredients.

We did not worry for them much & enjoyed our weekend in his place. We took evening train back to Bangalore & had plans of eating outside before reaching home & take something to eat for them, so that I can skip the cooking process for that day. We called them around 8p.m & asked them what they would like to eat. They gave me a surprise saying that.., they are cooking something special for us!!! Later calls started coming from boys, out there, asking where is this, n that, n that..When asked, they told me that they were planning to cook bisibelebhath for me. "Hmm...impressive", I thought to myself.

When I went home, the kitchen was soo clean (?!!). Phew, almost all utensils, pulses & masala powders were on my cooking table. They had messed up everything. It was 10:30p.m already & all of us were really hungry. Instead of toor dal, they had used masoor dal & without knowing which masala powder to add, they added red chilli powder, dhania powder & I don’t know what all!!! I took control of the kitchen immediately & asked all of them to go out. I tasted the rice+masoor dal+ vegetables that were getting cooked. It was completely bland. I gave a twist to it by adding more salt, chilli powder, dhania powder & garam masala (I did not have bisibelebhath powder with me. Mom was yet to send that to me!!). Finally gave a tempering of, onion, garlic & curry leaves with 2-3 tbsp of ghee. Then started the aroma at my kitchen. They started peeping in to ask what was being cooked. I made my bro-in-law go & buy salted potato chips from near-by “Hot Chips” shop.

We all enjoyed our bisibelebhath(?!) with chips. Let me tell you, the dish was finger licking good. We were 4 of us at home & we emptied the pot in less than 15mins. Later, I made a point to prepare this once a month & called it vegetable khichdi.Over years, I have refined this recipe & below are the ingredients I currently use to prepare khichdi


Ingredients:
2 cups rice (sona masoori or ponni rice is recommended, don’t use basmati)
1.5 cups masoor dal
1 cup chopped vegetables (I normally use French beans, carrots, peas, cauliflower, potato, broccoli)
2 nicely ripened tomatoes
1 onion sliced
1 pod garlic minced
1 tbsp tamarind juice
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp jeera powder (cumin seeds powder)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
7-8 cups of water
A generous pinch of turmeric
Salt according to taste
2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

Method:

  • Wash the rice & dal together. Allow it to soak for 15-20mins.
  • Heat a broad pan, add ghee to it. When ghee is hot, add mustard seeds , when mustard seeds splutter add garlic & fry till garlic turns golden brown.
  • Add onions to it & sauté till onions also turn golden brown. Add curry leaves to it.
  • Add vegetables & sauté the vegetables in ghee for 1-2mins. Now add tomatoes & fry tomatoes till raw smell disappears (no need to cook the tomatoes till soft).
  • Add water, salt, jeera powder, red chilli powder, tamarind juice, turmeric & let the water to boil. When water starts boiling, add soaked rice & dal together. Close the pot & allow the rice to get cooked.
  • Keep stirring in between, add more water if needed.
  • When the rice & dal gets cooked properly (the rice & dal will get mashed easily if it is cooked properly & dal will get dissolved along with the spices, this is an indication that both are cooked properly).
  • When the khichdi is almost done, add garam masala & a dollop of ghee.
  • Add coriander leaves, mix together & serve it hot with chips or papad.
Note:

1. I recently found from Deesha of Vegetable Platter that, adding a dollop of ghee to the prepared khichdi makes it more tastier, I followed her trick & it added more aroma & tasteness.
2. I add 2.5 cups of water to 1 cup rice+dal mixture(meaning ½ cup rice + ½ cup dal), you can use the same proportion, the khichdi turns out little watery (like bisibelebhath)

I'm sending this vegetable khichdi & urad-toor dal chutney to "Lentils Mela" hosted by Ashwini's Spicy Cuisine

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