February 8, 2018
Imagine a bowl of warm, yummy, soft and savory porridge-like food that is so healthy that is can be called a superfood. Imagine this being readied in 20 minutes with simple ingredients and easy cooking techniques. This unique food is organic khichri and it is gaining popularity globally. Make sure you take advantage of it! Learn all about how it is quick and easy to make, its history and the flavor variations of masala khichdi.
It needs to be healthy but I don’t have the time!
In today’s times when we are short on time, low on energy and our to-do lists seem never-ending we all need to focus on our health. It is important to keep our minds and bodies healthy and a quick bowl of khichdi is the ideal way to do this. With simple ingredients (rice, lentils, and a pinch of spices) and the ability to absorb any vegetables into its recipe, khichdi is an amazing whole meal that can be readied in 20 minutes or less.
You can add a wide array of vegetables to your khichdi: peas, diced potatoes, chopped onions, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, grated carrots and green beans to name a few. By changing the spices you add to your mix of rice and lentils you can create a variety of flavors of khichdi. Some people might like just a hint of salt and turmeric in theirs and others might like stronger spices like cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves. Garlic and ginger can also be used to give your dish a deeper taste.
Khichdi: The Crocodile:
Historians have observed that khichdi is one of the most ancient foods in India and yet, it hasn’t changed too much over the years. It still preserves its simple preparatory technique, high nutritive value and deliciousness in taste. Here we can draw an unlikely parallel to the crocodile; these reptiles have been around for close to 85 million years, and haven’t changed much morphologically. Khichri is an ancient superfood that, like the crocodile, hasn’t changed significantly, and continues to awe people.
The History of Khichri
Khichri originated from the Indian Subcontinent and has travelled across the world as globalization occurred. Different regions make this in varying ways; consistency, ingredients, spices and the proportion of rice to lentils vary from one type of khichri to another.
We have various versions of this superfood now, organic sprouted khichdi, millet khichri and masala khichdi. Their main word comes from the Sanskrit word khiccā, which translates into English to “a dish made with rice and lentils”.
In a lot of cultures one version or the other of khichri is the first semi-solid food given to babies. It is easy to make, it is nutritious and babies usually take to it.
What do I need in my kitchen to make khichri?
All you need to make khichri is a pot to boil the rice and lentils in, ideally a pressure cooker (rice cooker), and something to stir it with. You can also make your khichri in a crock-pot.
You can savor your khichri by itself – warm and comforting, or you can pair it with a number of accompaniments to add a little zing and introduce new flavors to your palate. Greek yogurt, mint chutney, tamarind chutney or even homemade yogurt are great additions to your organic khichri dish. You can add a crunch to each mouthful with a roasted papaddum or just sprinkle the masala khichri with finely chopped cilantro.
Those with a sweet tooth can sprinkle jaggery or powdered sugar onto their hot khichri!
Akbar- Birbal and the Khichri Story
There are many humorous anecdotal stories about the Mughal King Akbar and his trusted aide Birbal. One such story features the superfood khichdi. Akbar and Birbal’s stories have incidents in which the wise Birbal puts together peculiar circumstances so that can make Emperor Akbar understand a truth he was overlooking or a fact that he didn’t know. In this particular story, Akbar is unwilling to give due credit to a man who undertook a challenge to brave cold water and freezing weather for an entire night. Akbar thinks that the man got warmth from a street lamp near the lake, thereby not staying true to the challenge of spending a night with only the cold water around him. Birbal misses Akbar’s court the next day and Akbar finds out that it is because Birbal is cooking his ‘khichdi’ in a pot tied high on a tree with a fire on the ground. Amused Akbar points out to Birbal that he is trying to achieve an impossible task; the fire is too far away from the pot of khichri. Birbal then makes Akbar realize that in the same way the poor man in the cold lake could not have kept himself warm by the heat of a lamp so far away.
With mentions in ancient texts and folklore, this the queen of superfoods is marking its spot in modern kitchens. It is a healthy favorite of all those who put it into their plates.
Author-Bio- Sonal Khakhar is a founder of Aahanas Naturals. She have continued with the heritage of preserving traditional family recipes, and tweaking the inherited recipes further with her knowledge as a Nutritionist.