Monday, February 04, 2008

Moong Dal Khichadi with Potatoes

Comfort Food

There is an old marathi adage, that goes 'vyakti titkyaa prakruti', which means 'there are as many personalities as there are people', and the food extension of it might be that there are as many khichadis too. Some like it soft, almost mashed, some prefer it more pulao like, with all grains intact. Some like it mild, others prefer it spiced. Either way, it is a quick and easy one pot meal of rice and dal that is comforting to eat and effortless to make, and almost everyone who grew up with tends to recall fondly. The rice in it adds the starch, which has to somewhat magically mean comfort in any language, and the dal adds a good source of protein which is easy to digest. It is also a dish that is found throughout the country in some form or the other - khichdi, khichri, khichuri, venn pongal, even kedgeree, which was adopted by the colonials, are all variations on the same theme, and just some of the names by which I know it.

I recall a friend in school who said that she disliked khichadi because it reminded her of the times when she was sick, and I just couldn't relate to that, because at our house, khichadi was always a Sunday dinner feast. It was never bland, always delicious, and served with several simple accompaniments, making it a warm, hearty meal to wrap up the weekend before we all started another rigorous week. I saw the friend's point later in life, after I heard about the mild, very soft khichadi that some people make when in need of some kind of recuperation, which also confirmed how two people who lived within minutes of each other saw the same thing so differently.

The general rule I follow when making khichadi is to use 2 parts rice to 1 part of dal, usually moong dal. If there is some time, I like to soak the dal for about an hour and the rice for about half an hour, as the dal gets softer and it helps to speed up the cooking. If there are any vegetables on hand, those can be added to it too.

Moong Dal Khichadi

Moong Dal Khichadi with Potatoes

The basic, simple maharashtrian moogachi khichadi can be made in several ways. This is a version I made once after returning from a long and tiring trip, and it turned out really good, so I had to make a note of it. What I do usually is more or less the same, with variations. The potato is a great addition if one believes that there is no such thing as starch redundancy, but other vegetables like cauliflower and peas are also very good in this khichadi. Goda masala is the main flavor component here and it has no substitutes. Any other compatible masala could be used here, but that will change the taste accordingly.

The usual accompaniments to it at home were yogurt, fried sandga mirchi (dried chilies stuffed with spices), roasted papad, pickles, thinly sliced onion, and extra grated coconut and chopped cilantro. A good spoonful of ghee used to be poured over the khichadi itself.

Ingredients

1 cup of rice
1/2 cup of moong dal
1/2 medium red onion
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
4-5 cloves (optional)
4-5 whole peppercorns (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1-1/2 tsp goda masala
1-1/2 tsp salt

1 medium potato
1 teaspoon oil
1 Tablepoon of grated coconut
2-3 Tablepoons of chopped cilantro

Method

Soak the rice and moong dal in water for about an hour and drain. Slice the onion.

In a large wide pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add asafoetida, cloves, and peppercorns. Add the onion, and stir fry till it changes color. Add turmeric, and the grains. Stir everything together, and add 4-1/2 cups of water. When the water starts boiling, lower the heat, add chili powder and goda masala, and cook covered on medium heat for 15-20 mins.

While the khichadi is cooking, chop the potato into small fries. In a wide saute pan, heat a teaspoon of oil and saute the potato on medium-high heat until it is golden brown outside and tender inside. Add a little salt. When the khichadi is done, add the potatoes to it.

Garnish with coconut and cilantro.

Serve with the accompaniments suggested above.


Sending this over to the Monthly Mingle, where the theme this month is Comfort Foods.

18 comments:

Asha said...

Great comfort food to have, specially in Winter. Looks delcious!:)

Miri said...

You said it, I like khichdi a little over done and a lot of veggies in it - plus a bit spicy! I even make one with tur dal.

The potato idea is a good one and yes, there cannot be enough starch on a tiring day!

Jayashree said...

My version always has veggies in it. I've heard so much about this goda masala but haven't had the opportunity to use it or taste it.

Padmaja said...

Oooh!! Thats one lovely simply comfort food to have anytime!! looks so yum

Siri said...

Tomato Rice ( which I blogged about today) and Khichdi are two such recipes which I never get bored of.. Addition of potatoes is a nice idea..

Love the pic too!

Siri

Richa said...

ooh! that sandga mirchi, in the hostel, i could not wait for my friend to open her dabba full of these beauties to be devoured with khichadi & dahi :)
perfecto!

MeetaK said...

I too love kichidi. It reminds me of my nani making this when we were feeling ill! Lovely entry!

Richa said...

aga rcp milali ka?

KayKat said...

Ok, now you've gotten me craving for kichadi, guess I have to make it this week :)

TheCooker said...

Such a khichadi (along w/ kadhi) is a favourite with us as well.
Sometimes I flip the rice-daal ratio to accomodate the batata.

evolvingtastes said...

Asha, Miri, Padmaja, Siri, so very true.

Jayashree, yes, you have to try goda masala! :-)

Richa, as always, you are observant about the littlest things. I think there are a lot of maharashtrians who are not familiar with sandaga mirchi. And yes, I responded to your recipe now.

Meeta, thanks, and welcome to my blog!

Kaykat, glad to have 'inspired' you.

TC, that's a good trick, but doesn't that make it too 'dal'ey rather than 'rice'ey?

Aparna said...

its been so long since you posted this, i know but better late than never. made this lovely khichdi the other day and it is delicious. and fortunately, i have a fresh batch of goda masala that a friend from pune sent me!

quick question: so the goda masala as you say, totally made the dish, but it also leaves a faint after taste ( i would say bitter, but its not that -- sort of what happens when you use too many cloves/clove powder). it didn't bother me too much, but do you think its the quality of my non-home goda masala, or do you think i should simply use less. or is this something that goda masala does, and i am just not used to it?!

again, many thanks, and am glad to see you back in action! here -- and i think i briefly caught you in action on AS as well...?

evolvingtastes said...

Aparna! Thanks for letting me know. So glad the recipe worked for you, and even gladder (?!) that you continue to check in here.

About the goda masala, actually you captured all the reasons yourself. It could be possibly either or all of the above, but it isn't something I have experienced. Quantity would definitely depend on the masala, and personal preference. A trial or two should give you a better idea. Hmm, now what would you try to test the masala? A simple potato rassa perhaps. Try with a small quantity. Check, then up if needed. If you find the aftertaste even with a tiny quantity, perhaps the batch had something off. With non-standardized things like these, its very hard to say.

Aparna said...

i check in ALL the time, i love your blog! in fact, i now eat maharashtrian food at least once a week at home ( all based on your recipes or others that you recommend).

can i possibly ask you to post some more maharashtrian recipes? i love your posts and the photos, but ever since returning to india, i find that the ingredients for "phoren" food are just too hard to find!

pretty please? to please your desi in des fan club?

evolvingtastes said...

Aparna, awww, thank you, thank you.

Now that you have asked, I will definitely try to see if I can post some more maharashtrian recipes. I just post whatever I enjoy cooking and eating, particularly things that I want to be part of my regular routine, when I have some decent photos to accompany. Besides, what's "phoren" to you is sometimes more accessible to me than desi stuff!

SuniKrishnan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SuniKrishnan said...

am from South, who never liked the idea of kichdi ... I always thought rice, dal in a sticky grovel without much flavor, .... I tried to avoid it as much as I can. Then came days when I was with a BFing 5 month old baby, full time job, traveling husband, looking for a easy, healthy ... ok, something to fill my stomach at the end of the day, I stumbled upon your recipe. I had everything including goda masala (which I rarely used) and thought this seems simple, easy, healthy and flavorful. And tada .... I love it!! Thanks a lot!! I have tried with everything, cauliflower, peas, acorn squash, potatoes ... no matter what it is lipsmacking! I am seriously thinking of making it a Friday night regular.

evolvingtastes said...

SuniKrishnan, that is quite a leap of faith! But thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know. Hope to see you around here.

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