Like our earlier series of articles on biryani and gol-gappa, here we profile the humble khichdi and explore its evolution through different styles across India. At its heart, khichdi is a comfort food with rice, lentils and spices. But these ingredient styles and components vary. No wonder, due to this vast variety and universal acceptance, khichdi was chosen as the item of choice to showcase the country during the World Food India 2017. Let us look at these varying styles:
Bhaja Muger Dal Khichuri
This style is famous in Bengal, and is typically associated with the bhog offered during Durga Puja. Unlike in other parts of the country, in Bengal, Khichdi has always been associated with gourmet cuisines as it is much more than rice and lentils. Oodles of ghee is poured in this preparation and all kinds of vegetables are added. Most favourite of the vegetables used are- peas, potatoes and cauliflowers. An egg omelette is the perfect accompaniment with it.
Bisi Bele Bath
Bisi Bele Bath is extremely popular in the south, but especially in Karnatak. Due to the abundance of its availability, generous flavourings of tamarind are added to the mix. Sambhar goes very well with it.
Bajra Matar ki Khichdi
This is a simple rural dish, but it has now gained popularity among millennials due to its gluten-free and thus healthy status. The green peas add to the colour, and pickle or cucumber raita needs be served alongside.
Pulagam is a style originally from Andhra with moong dal being the main ingredient. Cashew nuts and curry leaves are added to the mix. This dish is extremely nutritious and offered as prasad during Sankranti and other festivals.
Gehun ki Bikaneri Khichdi
Gehun Ki Bikaneri Khichdi Recipe (Wheat Kernel And Moong Dal Khichdi) is a lentil preparation made by blending wheat kernel and moong dal in pressure cooker till it is well done. The Khichdi is then given a tempering with the Indian spice. The recipe hails from Bikaner as the name suggests which is a part of Rajasthan. It is the place where people prefer to eat wheat more than rice thus many of their dishes consists of wheat. This recipe is diabetic friendly as well as quick to make for a breakfast preparation.
This style is specially prepared for the Sri Krishna Mutt Festival in Karnataka. Green chillies and coconut are a must in this preparation to render the unique taste.
Kuttu ki Khichdi
The Kuttu (buckwheat) atta is a staple Navratra ingredient across north and west India. In Gujarat during the same time, this khichdi attains massive popularity. It is a comparatively complex preparation involving friend peanuts, ginger, tomato, potato, varied spices and chillies in addition to the obvious lentils and the buckwheat. It is a concoction of buckwheat rice, potato, carrot, ghee, and a melange of spices. You can also make this main dish recipe when you are fasting, as it will give you an instant energy.
Also known as Kara Pongal, this is especially popular in the state of Tamil Nadu. Here, it is a breakfast item rather than lunch or dinner as in most other parts of the country. Mustard seeds, ginger and asafoetida are must ingredients. It tastes and looks even better when garnished with cashews.
Bohri Mutton Khichdi
To clarify, khichdi need not always be vegetarian. This unique meat-based khichda as popularly known originates from Gujarat and is a specialty of the Bohra community there. The mutton to be used must be boneless. The lentils to be used must ideally be toor (pigeon pea).
There has been a lot of gourmet intervention on the oft-humble khichdi, but none as exotic as this risotto styled. As the name suggests, pumpkin is a major ingredient in it along with parboiled arborio rice and spices as per taste.