November 16, 2015
Inspired by the regal Bengali Cholar Dal, this wholesome dish has the added goodness of Brown Basmati rice. The nutty warmth of the rice and lentils is perfectly matched with the delicate sweetness of the coconut and ghee caramelised sugar in this Brown Basmati Khichdi. I’ve been enjoying this recipe for years, but a Supper Club with the lovely folks at Tilda Basmati for National Curry Week over in the UK, finally made me take the plunge and write it down. Needless to say, it went down a treat.
There is a time and place for Khichdi, the Indian rice and lentil meal in one that doubles up as a giant hug in a bowl. This is classically eaten when the weather is rainy and miserable, when the body won’t play ball and when a hug is needed most. It’s best served with something crispy – roasted papad or fried goodies. The creamy texture of Khichdi is the Yin to the Yang of fried goodies.
So here is the recipe for Brown Basmati Khichdi, for your eating and cooking pleasure. Read about what I served with it at the Tilda Basmati Supper Club here.
If using raw rice, wash the rice and lentils in a sieve thoroughly until the water runs clear. Place in a bowl, cover with fresh cold water and leave to soak f or at least half an hour. When the time is up, bring a large pan to heat on medium with the ghee. When it’s hot, add in the bay leaf, cardamoms, cinnamon as sugar. As the sugar caramelises, stir in the ginger.
Next, drain the rice and lentils and add it to the pan. Stir it well, adding the turmeric, salt and four cups of cold water. Stir again to incorporate the lot. Now, bring the whole lot to boil. When it does, lower the heat to a medium low and let the rice and lentils bubble away until cooked. This will take a good 30 – 35 minutes. If the rice starts drying out, add another cup of water and stir. If you’ re using the steamed pouch, just soak and cook the lentils first as above but with three cups of water. Then cook and mix in the contents of the steamed pouch about 25 minutes in, when the lentils are soft but still whole.
The texture of this dish is more moist than pulao but not as wet as a risotto. To finish, mix in the garam masala and check for salt, adding more if you fancy it. You could stir in a teaspoon of golden raisins too. Toast some coconut chips in ghee and drop on the top of the Brown Basmati Khichdi to serve.