When it rains heavily in Bengal, the lunch menu gets finalized on the spot – hot Khichuri with fries! The popular Bengali Khichuri is a regional variant of a favourite Indian dish called Khichdi. This dish has its origins in China. It came to India around 2500 years ago via the Chinese silk merchants who visited ancient India for trade. Eventually it became an integral part of India’s culinary traditions.
King Seleucus of Greece came to India in circa 303 BCE and wrote about the dish. The famous Moroccan traveller Ibn Batuta also mentioned the dish when he visited India around 1350 CE.
The word Khichdi has Sanskrit roots – it is derived from the Sanskrit word “Khichcha” which refers to a mixture of rice and lentils.
In addition to being delicious, Khichdi is also a very healthy dish. It is packed with proteins, essential amino acids, fibre and antioxidants. In today’s post, we are going to make the authentic Bengali version of Khichuri.
So let’s get started. The ingredients that you will require for this dish are given below.
Rice: 150 grams
Yellow Gram Lentils (Moong Dal): 150 grams
Mustard Oil: 6 tablespoons
Cow Ghee: 2 tablespoons
Tomatoes: 150 grams
Green Peas: 50 grams
Carrots: 50 grams
Beans: 50 grams
Potatoes: 50 grams
Ginger (Adrak): One half-inch piece
Sugar: 1 tablespoon
Asafoetida (Heeng): Just a pinch
Red Chillies (Dried): 2
Green Cardamoms (Elaichi): 4
Cinnamon (Dalchini): A small one-inch piece
Cloves (Laung): 4
Bay Leaf (Tej Patta): 1
Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: 1 teaspoon
Cumin (Jeera) Powder: 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon
Salt: To taste
The quantities mentioned above are for serving four persons. Adjust the ingredients proportionately to suit the number of servings you require.
To make a truly authentic version of Khichuri, the rice should be a short-grain variety called Gobindobhog that is cultivated in Bengal. However, if you can’t find Gobindobhog you can use any other rice. Traditionally, long-grain rice like Basmati is not used for making Khichuri.
Rinse and soak the rice for 30 minutes.
Dry-roast the lentils. Then rinse them and soak in 100 millilitres of water.
Chop the tomatoes.
Finely chop the ginger.
Chop the carrots into small pieces.
Chop the beans.
Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes.
You will also require around a litre of hot water as part of the cooking process, so it’s a good idea to have a large pan of water heating over a flame as you start making your Khichuri.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame. Once the oil reaches its smoking point and emits whiffs of aromatic white smoke, turn the flame down to Low.
Add the dried red chillies, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf, along with the asafoetida and ginger. Sauté for around 30 seconds.
Next, add the tomatoes and cook till they are done. Then add the red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin and garam masala along with the sugar and salt. Stir well to mix all the spices.
Now add the green peas, carrots, beans and potatoes and continue stirring and cooking for another 30 seconds.
Add around 500 millilitres of hot water to the pan. Drain the water from the lentils that you had soaked earlier, and add the lentils to the pan. Now cover the pan and cook till the lentils are partially done.
Next, drain the rice that you had soaked earlier, and add it to the pan along with another 500 millilitres of hot water. Cover the pan and cook till the rice is done.
Your authentic Bengali Khichuri is now ready. Sprinkle the cow ghee over the top of the dish and serve hot. In Bengal this dish is traditionally eaten with fried aubergines or fried potatoes. Comfort food for a rainy day!
You can find more recipes at : https://www.purioilmills.com/recipes-in-english/