Rains call for some special food that is warm and comforting and spicy at the same time. Nothing beats having a bowl full of something warm and cozy while hearing the rains pattering away on the window. The universal favourite foods in rains include a bowl of soup, a hot cup of coffee or tea, deep fried foods or something similar. For me, Kichidi is one of those foods that just gives you that blanket of warmth. India has a rich history of lentils. We have a vast variety that would probably not be found anywhere else. Having a vegetarian tradition is one of the reasons. The protein content of the lentils combined with carbohydrate in the form of rice and a few warming spices lends kichidi its huge fan following. Kichidi with very little or no spice is fed to growing kids. I guess that is the reason why it feels so comforting. A familiar flavour that you have grown up with always gives that sense of security.
Kichidi is eaten in many forms. Different states have different ways of cooking it with different dal and spices. The basic ingredients of dal and rice, though, never change. The inspiration behind this recipe is the rajasthani kichidi which I really love.
I hope you will enjoy this masala kichidi as much as I did. You can just vary the amount of spices depending on you like/dislike for them.
Here is how I made it.
Rice – 1 cup
Moong dal/ Pesarapappu /mung beans/ split green gram – 1 cup
Mix the rice and dal in a vessel, wash, add water and allow to soak about half an hour.
Any vegetables that you want to use up like carrots, green peas, potatoes. I used 2 carrots and one small potato
I also used a small bunch of palak since it was left in the fridge and I wanted to use it up.
Onion- 1 medium very finely chopped
Garlic – 2 pods finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece finely chopped
Green chillies – 2 or 3 chopped
Oil + ghee- for tadka/tempering
Cinnamon- small piece
Elaichi – 2
Cloves – 2 to 3
Peppercorns – few
Cumin seeds/jeera – 1 tsp
Asafotieda powder/hing – a dash
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Kasuri methi – 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Dhania powder/coriander powder- 1/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Jeera powder/cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Kitchen king masala/garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Heat up some oil and ghee in a pressure cooker.
Add the cinnamon, elaichi, cloves and peppercorns and fry until they slightly change colour and become aromatic.
Add the jeera, hing and turmeric and allow to fry.
Add the chopped onions, green chillies and allow to fry. When the onions turn translucent, add the cut vegetables and fry. Allow the vegetables to cook and slightly change colour.
Add the dhania powder,jeera powder and kitchen king/garam masala powder and kasuri methi leaves. Mix all the ingredients well.
In the mean time, drain the water out of the soaking rice and dal mixture.
Add this rice and dal to the cooker and mix well so that all the spices coat the rice well and the rice is slightly fried.
Add water to the cooker. Since I have added 1 glass of rice and 1 glass of dal, I would add about 8 glasses of water, i.e, 1:4 ratio. This is because I love the texture to be slightly runny. It is what will provide the comforting feeling when you eat it. You can add water according to your choice.
Mix well and bring to a boil. Add salt for seasoning and mix well. I also added the spinach leaves at this stage. You can also add it along with the vegetables or at then end after the cooker has cooled down and you have opened it.
Cook for 3 whistles on high heat. Lower the heat and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes.
After the cooker has cooled down, open the lid and heat it on low heat for another few minutes mixing well so that any excess water is absorbed into the rice.
Add some more ghee and chopped coriander leaves for garnish and mix.
You can eat it as it is with some papad or chips. I don’t serve it with pickle since it is already spciy but it is always optional.
Enjoy a bowl of warming goodness