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Geeli Khitchdi

Geeli Khitchdi

Khitchdi is a delicious mix of rice,lentils and spices which is internationally famous!Often touted “The poor man’s food” it has reached international heights when the British adopted it their way known as Kedgeree which included vegetables,meat and fish!

Recently Khitchdi was in the news as there were rumours that it would be the “National Dish” but the rumours were dispelled and it in actuality turned out to be a World Record in the Guinness Book as around 1000 kg of the recipe was cooked by none other than Masterchef Sanjeev Kapoor along with a very popular name Imtiaz Khan – an expert in Mughal Cuisine from Lucknow who is a celebrated name in Biryani!

There was a beautiful pic of India being represented for this very popular and healthy recipe in a map!Here is the image :

The picture shows various kinds of Khitchdi prepared in all the States!The common ingredients are Rice and Lentils/Dals but the method of preparation,ingredients and consistency differ from State to State!

Picture Courtesy : Google Images

This was the topic for the 118th FoodieMonday Bloghop where the Theme was Khitchdi!

I chanced on an article by The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement about the Mahaprasad they give in their various temples.In Kolkata they dole out what is known as Geeli Khitchdi.Geeli means wet which means this Khitchdi will not be of a totally dry consistency but slightly runny and semi solid!The recipe was mentioned with the article which I saved for future use.Little did I know that I would be making that lovely,delicious and divine Khitchdi for the Bloghop!

A simple Khitchdi is made using rice,dal and a tempering of spices.However this Khitchdi uses a mix of lentils/dals along with long grained rice,spinach,tomatoes and potatoes which are deep fried to a golden brown and served on top.Believe me this was one of the best recipes I had in a long time and now this is bookmarked as a comfort food on rainy/cold and winter days as well as a soul food when anyone is below the weather!You will love the flavours,the taste of pure ghee,the perfectly cooked lentils,the aroma of the rice and the delicious fried Potato cubes on top – crispy on the outside and fork tender inside!Let us check the recipe out!

Preparation Time : 30 minutes

Soaking time : 1 hour

Makes : 5 – 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

For the Khitchdi :

1 1/2 cups long grained rice/Basmati rice

1/4 cup Mung Dal

1/4 cup Toor/Arhar Dal

1/4 cup Chana Dal

1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)

1 tsp Asafoetida (heeng)

1 tsp Nutmeg Powder (Jaiphal)

1 tsp Clove Powder (Laung)

2 tbsp Ghee

1 tbsp butter (optional)

The vegetables :

2 cups chopped Spinach (Palak)

3 medium Tomatoes (diced)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Asafoetida (heeng)

2 Potatoes – boiled and peeled

2 tbsp Oil

1 tsp Ghee

Other ingredients :

3 bay leaves (tejpatta)

1 tbsp Ginger paste

2 tsp salt

1 tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)

METHOD

Wash rice and lentils and soak them for 1 hour.

Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a pan and fry the Potato dices on medium heat till golden brown.Take out on a plate and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder and mix well.Keep aside

Prepare the vegetables :

In the same pan you fried the Potato dices,add the 1 tsp ghee and Asafoetida.Add the diced Tomatoes and chopped spinach.Sprinkle the 1/2 tsp salt and cook on medium heat.The Spinach leaves will give out their water and wilt completely.Cook till the Tomatoes are completely soft and mushy and the Spinach cooked and starts leaving Oil.Take out on a plate and keep aside.

Make the Khitchdi :

Drain the soaked rice and Dals in a colander.

Heat ghee and butter in a pressure cooker.Add the bay leaves,cumin seeds,Asafoetida,clove and nutmeg powders and fry till they release their aroma.Add the ginger paste,the drained rice and dals and mix well till the ghee slicks on all the rice grains and dals,Add Turmeric powder and the prepared Tomato and Spinach mix.Stir gently to amalgamate and pour water approximately 2 inches of the rice and vegetables.Add salt to taste and stir.Close lid and place cooker on medium heat.Let it cook for 1 whistle.You can wait till 2 whistles if you like.Allow the cooker to cool gradually and the pressure to stabilise.

Open the cooker and check for salt.If you have a dry but cooked rice and dals,pour 1 1/2 cups of water while gently mixing the Khitchdi.Any extra salt can be added now.Do not add the water all at once as we do not want a soup but a semi-solid delicious and healthy mix of rice and lentils.

Once you see the Khitchdi has come to the right consistency,ladle it into serving bowls or plates and put 3 – 4 fried Potato dices per serving!Serve with accompaniments of your choice!

A popular rhyme in North India says :

” Khitchdi ke Chaar(4) yaar,

Dahi,Papad,Ghee,Achaar”

which translates into 

There are 4 friends of Khitchdi,

Yogurt,Poppadams,Ghee and Pickles!

I have served this lip smacking Khitchdi with Boondi-Onion and Pineapple Raita!



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