Khichdi derives its name from the Sanskrit word khiccā and is the world's original one-pot dish that is complete in itself! I love khichri because it gets ready as fast as most convenience foods (packaged or ready to eat), but the difference is that this one is loaded with health.
Plus, it is a calorie balanced meal that delivers a decent amount of good quality protein in an easily digestible form. Also, have you ever wondered why we all have happy childhood memories attached to this simple dish?
That is because eating khichdi raises serotonin levels that have a calming, soothing effect on us.
It is possibly the most versatile dish. There’s a khichri for every taste. Find one that matches your palate and you’ll ache to eat it every now and then.
The Lazy Khichdi
Soak 1/2 cup dhuli moong dal and 1/2 cup rice for at least half an hour. Heat 1 tsp ghee, add a pinch of cumin seeds, heeng and 1 tsp grated ginger and a few chopped cloves of garlic. Then throw in some raw peanuts. Saute for half a minute. Add the drained rice and dal, along with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt to taste. Fry for a minute, then cover with water and cook, covered, till done (about 12-15 minutes). Garnish with fried cashews and thin onion rings and dig in.
Chana Dal Khichri
Soak 250 gm rice in water for 30 minutes. Heat 1 tsp oil, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, and 50 gm soaked and drained channa dal and sauté for 5 minutes. Now add salt to taste. Add 500 ml water and bring to a boil. Then add the drained rice. Now cook and cover for about 7-8 minutes till done.
Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil, add a pinch each of mustard seeds and jeera and 2 dry red chilies and few Kari patta leaves. Then add 1 sliced onion and few cloves of chopped garlic.
Next, add 1 chopped potato and 100 gm chopped pumpkin and 50 gm peas. Stir fry for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste, 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp jaggery, and then added the drained dal and rice with 200 ml coconut milk and 250 ml water. Mix it up and cook till 3 whistles in a pressure cooker. Garnish with roasted cumin powder and dig in.
Sauté’ one finely chopped onion and 2 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or dry) for about 7 minutes till the onions become a little brown, then cool a bit and grind to make a fine paste. Mix washed 1 cup rice with this paste, add the juice of one lemon, 1tbsp ginger, and garlic paste, half-inch sliced ginger, and keep aside for half an hour. Meanwhile marinate 250 gm prawns with some red chili powder, turmeric, and 2 tbsp spicy salsa for an hour and then sauté them for a few minutes. Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil, add 2 cloves, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and one finely chopped onion. Then add marinated rice and stir for 2 minutes on low flame. Now add marinated prawns and 2 cups of water. Cover and cook on a low flame till done.
Sprouted Moong Khichri
Mix 1 cup sprouted moong and 1 cup rice and keep aside. Heat 2 tsp ghee in a pan, add a pinch of hing and 1 tsp zeera. One they splutter, add 2 tbsp dry desiccated coconut, 1 tsp red chili powder, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1 tsp coriander powder. Now add the sports and rice mixture, stir fry for a few minutes and add 2 cups of water and cook till done. Sprinkle some more coconut and fresh dhania on top and pair with raita.
Really Rich Khichri
Heat 1 tbsp of ghee, add 1 bay leaf, 1 green cardamom, 1 clove, a small cinnamon stick, and 2 dry red chilies. Then add a small finely chopped onion and 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste and fry till a little brown. Next, add 2 tbsp tomato puree and cook for 5 minutes. Add some chopped potatoes, and fry for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup dal and 1 cup rice and pinch of turmeric powder and dry ginger. Add 1 tbsp raisins. 1/2 tsp sugar and salt to taste and 2 cups of water. Mix everything. Add another 1 tsp of ghee and cook for 2 whistles. Finally, add roasted cashews and almonds and eat with a panner or meat dish.
Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pressure cooker. Add a pinch of cumin seeds, 2 cloves, 2 cardamoms, and 1 chopped onion. Sauté till onions are light brown. Add 2 chopped green chilies and 1 tsp ginger garlic paste then add 2 tbsp tomato puree, a pinch of turmeric powder and1/2 tsp garam masala powder and salt to taste and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup toor dal, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Then add 1 cup rice and 2 1/2 cups water. Add 1 sliced and fried onion and cook under pressure on high heat for 3 whistles and then for 20 minutes more on low heat. Garnish with some more fried onions and fried cashews and pair with chilled raita.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)