Rice, lentils and recovery

Mallika Basu - Rice, lentils and recovery

Posted 18th November 2006

khichdi.jpgFriday was a write off.

I went to two Bond parties on Thursday night and got so drunk that I could barely lift my head on Friday. But did the world care? No. Instead it served up an achingly long work day that ended with a painfully difficult client meeting. Wonderful, really…

So at the end of it all, I decided to cook fellow sufferer the partying hubby a warming Indian rice and lentil dish called khichdi (pronounced: khich-ri).

Khichri is traditionally served on cold, rainy days or when you are unwell. It is highly nutritious – packed full of proteins and carbohydrates and the goodness of the vegetables you chose to add to it. It is also very low in masalas, when compared to a standard curry or pulao, so very easy on the taste buds and the tummy. Perfect for a hangover!

There are lots of different ways of cooking khichdi. The basic premise is that rice and lentils are cooked together. The masalas and vegetables added vary from family to family, depending on what they prefer. The accompaniments also vary, Parsis have it with a prawn dish, Bengalis have a selection of fried vegetables, while some just prefer it with a dollop of yoghurt and some pickle.

Here is my uber simple recipe to cheer two up on a miserable day:

Half cup rice
Quarter cup red lentils (masoor)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1″ cinammon
4 cloves
4 cardamoms
1 tsp whole cumin
1 bay leaf
Half tsp turmeric powder
3 cups of water
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Wash the rice and lentils well and mix together. Heat the oil and when hot fry the cinammon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf. When the leaf starts going brown, add the whole cumin and let it sizzle up.

Then add the onion and fry well until it starts going brown. Chuck in the turmeric and give the masalas a good stir.
Add the rice and lentils, and fry for a minutes stirring the masala into the mixture evenly. Add some salt at this stage.

Lower the flame to a medium heat, add the water, cover and cook. During this time, you can add raw carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, peas etc to make the dish even more healthy.

When the lentils lose their shape and the rice is cooked, your khichdi is ready. It should have a runny consistency.

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