Think of a word for those who don’t leave their house. Most of us or I should say almost all of us will go for “Lazy”. But, under different conditions, when a person says “I am not leaving this God Damn House” then that person is known as a “Holdout”. Government or private firms try to woo such people by offering them millions of dollars for their land. That piece of land might not be large enough but crucial enough for that project. Many go for those million dollars but a few become “Holdouts”. One such story is of Deepti Sen living in West Bengal, India. Deepti stayed on rent at our place as she had her project for 6 months (in the year 2011). She became a good friend of mine and has an interesting story associated to her. The girl and her parents were offered huge money for their house in Bengal. Builders wanted that piece of land for a commercial project. However, she was least interested in money and said “No”. This was her 108 year old ancestors farmhouse. She has seen a lot of in this house. This house must be more living for her than other things. In the end, what we cling on to are the memories. They may be good ones or bad ones but once you are over them, they are memories, beyond good and bad.
Deepti had been to many places, but that farmhouse was always something she looked forward to. The most living thing among the living ones. She said that she won’t leave that house until her death. She was stubborn enough and didn’t leave that house and so is this food for today’s menu – Khichri. That’s a good recipe I learnt from her. Khichri has been in South Asian meals, especially India for centuries and will be there forever. With Eid-ul-Fitar coming ahead also check my recipe Mutton Biryani. For today, let’s try vegetable Khichri, loved by Asians especially Indians. Khichri is served with papad. Papad is a thin and crisp disc shaped Indian and Pakistani food. It is based on seasoned dough which is made up of black gram flour (urad daal flour). It is fried or prepared with heat. Many kinda flours are used for the same eg. lentils, rice, tapioca, chickpeas, potato etc. We get prepared papad in markets of India and Pakistan. All we needa do is fry or heat the discs and serve immediately. It’s chiefly popular in India. Nevertheless other countries enjoy it too. If you ask me why South Asian recipe? It’s because my research for Dragon Boat Race festival showed me a lot of new recipes.
1 Bay Leaf,
2/3 cup Rice,
4 Curry Leaves,
3¼ cups Water,
Salt as required,
1 chopped Onion,
1 small Cinnamon Stick,
1/3 cup Split Yellow Gram,
1/4 teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
2 tablespoons Clarified Butter,
1 cup chopped Mix Vegetables,
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
Black Peppercorns as required,
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder.
Wash and soak rice plus split yellow gram (Chana daal) in water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain and keep aside. Dice mix vegetables (carrots, beans, potatoes). Also use peas.
Heat clarified butter in a deep pan over medium flame. Add 3¼ cups water to boil. When clarified butter is hot enough, add cinnamon, black peppercorn, curry leaves, cumin seeds, cloves and bay leaves. Stir for 40 seconds.
Add chopped onion, saute until it turns golden brown. Add mixed vegetables. Saute for 3 minutes, reducing the heat. Now add soaked rice, daal, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well and saute for another 3 minutes.
Add water and cover it with a lid. Simmer for 20 minutes over low flame. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Keep the pan after turning of the flame for 5 minutes to cool a bit. Serve hot.
You can also prepare the recipe in pressure cooker, using 2 whistles such that it is completely cooked. Cool the cooker for 5 minutes after the second whistle.
Garnish with tomato as shown. Serve hot with Papad and Pickle!
Enjoy the treat!