Recipe: How To Khichdi

Khichdi is a light, subtly spiced lentil and rice porridge-like dish commonly found in South Asian households. Packed with nutrients, it’s pretty much the definition of ‘food is medicine’ – the brown person’s remedy anytime you’re poorly. (But especially if you have stomach-related issues and, well, pukey.) After a rough night of throwing up, Mum talked me through the process, so here’s a basic version to help those insides heal.

Khichdi

First step:

1/2 cup red lentils (skinless)

1/2 cup basmati rice

7 cups of water

  • Add these to a small pot, then wash like laundry 4-5 times, changing out the water each time, until the water runs clear.
  • Cook with 7 cups of water with the lid on until soft. Give it a mix-y, mix-y from time to time.

While that’s doing its thing:

A splash or two of grapeseed oil

1/4 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. fresh ginger (chopped)

1/2 tsp. fresh garlic (chopped)

1/2 cup onion (diced)

1/2 small tomato (diced)

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. garam masala

Salt (to taste)

  • Heat a frying pan on medium heat, then add the grapeseed oil.
  • Once heated, add the cumin seeds. It’s important you don’t burn these – they’ll turn everything bitter. Sizzle for 10 seconds or so.
  • Now add in the garlic and ginger, and let brown.
  • Throw in the onion, then saute until translucent.
  • Turning down the heat, sprinkle in salt, garam masala and turmeric. Mix together and let the turmeric lose its raw flavour, then de-glaze the pan using the acidity of the tomato. This is the flavour stage, so cook the tomato well (so until it’s mushy).
  • Add this tadka (or tempering) to the pot with the lentils and rice.
  • Pro tip: to make sure every last bit of the pan is soaked up, add some of the lentil/rice mixtures to the pan, swirl, then add that into the pot again.
  • Mum wanted it to be quite soupy, so you might need to add more liquid if it thickens up too much.
  • After a little more stirring action, this pot-o-goodness is now khichdi.
  • Taste and tweak the seasoning. Remember, spices need salt for their superhero powers to kick in.
  • Eat as is or if you’re not sick, and your stomach can handle it, with achaar (Indian pickle).
  • Get well soon.
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