Sunday, July 24, 2011

In Praise Of The Humble Khichdi!

Sometimes simple things in life give you a lot of pleasure.
After a full two days of binging on spicy or heavy or meaty meals (English breakfasts included), typically Sunday evenings are earmarked for savoring simple delights.
As Sunday evenings approach, the binge of the last two days makes me crave for a simple delight, a comfort food that gives instant joy. Khichdi is one of such Sunday evening delights that I can relish even on a regular basis if it's made well.
Traditionally Khichdi is made of yellow skinned, split Moong Dal and rice dish cooked to heavenly perfection in a mushy consistency. Because of its lightness, in North India, Khichdi is considered to be an ideal wholesome meal for convalescing patients.
Even though I am technically "not unwell", Khichdi helps me recover from the excesses and get ready for the week ahead!
Having a nice warm mushy Khichdi is as delightful as having the best of meals anywhere. The ideal Khichdi, for me, is the one cooked with yellow Moong and pink Masoor dal, alongwith chopped tomatoes and them tempered with hing (asafoetida), jeera (cumin seeds), whole red chillies and coriander and red chilly powder. The meal is complemented with a dish of aloo sabzi - potatoes stir fried in sarson (mustard seeds), mango pickle and a bowl of curd. That brings the weekend to a satisfying end!
Khichdi is especially enjoyable on days when its cool and when its raining - the weather somehow brings out the aromas and taste making it even more satisfying to the senses, the mind and the soul.
Khichdi is such a versatile food that can be modified in many many ways. I recall visiting a tiny little eatery in one of the narrow alleyways of Girgaum in Bombay, called Khichdi Samrat, with my friend, Abodh, and my sister Neelima, way back in 2005. Khichdi Samrat caters to the Gujarati bens and bhais of the area. There were an amazing 70-80 varieties of Khichdis on the menu, some with vegetables, and wide array of lentils.
And that was the turning point. We carried back those very ideas from Khichdi Samrat to our little kitchen for our Sunday evenings. Our innovations married Khichdis to vegetables - the favorites being the ones with whole moong dal and spinach or fenugreek (Methi). That was a roaring success, as Neeti became an instant convert to Khichdism immediately after our marriage.
I can go on and on with my paens in praise of the humble Khichdis, but right now, I must end, because the intoxicating aroma of the humble Khichdi is in the air and I can't resist anymore!


Neelima said...

Try methi khichdi in Press Club in Bombay. Pretty awesome!

Kajal said...

My family laughs at me when I tell them I want "khichdi: over pasta and pizza..I loved this post.. Such a humble dish indeed:)
Glad to have found you at indiblogger. your newest follower and a regular visitor now.

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