February 25, 2012

A Poor Man’s Feast

February 25, 2012
Khichdi, khichri, khichdee, khichadi, khichuri, khichari, khicri, khecheri and many similar names (that don’t sit well with a Western tongue) refer to a nutritionally balanced stew of rice and pulses, depending on the region it is prepared in. Despite of the linguistic acrobatics, the genius of Indian cuisine lies in the simple recipes. This poor man’s feast is combined with high quality grains, easily digestible lentils, fresh vegetables, exquisite spicing and homemade ghee. It is adequate, luscious and comforting.
Kitchari01Kitchari02

As many as there are names, there are ways to cook “kitcheree”. The pulses, spices and vegetables may differ. Nuts and even raisins may be added. In Orissa, in the ancient temple of Sri Jagannath, it is daily served as rich as it gets with almonds, coconut, currants and sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves.
Kitchari3Kitchari4-roti
My basic recipe stems from our acarya, Srila Prabhupada, who introduced it to his disciples as a staple pillar of vegetarian diet. In various forms I’ve cooked or eaten it every day, either for breakfast or lunch, for over 20 years and never gotten bored. Ayurveda, the Indian wisdom of medicine, recommends it for all body types as a cleansing regimen. It is perfect yoga food in sattva-guna, the mode of goodness.
Kitchari-roti1Kitchari-roti2
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To compliment “kitcheree” you may serve some roti (unleavened bread), plain yogurt, raita or chutni. I like to contrast it with roasted or (on finer occasions) fried vegetables. This time I served it with wholegrain chapati, roasted Brussels sprouts and coconut & mint chutni. Delicious!
Kitchari5-brusselKitchari6-brussel
Kitchari-hangerKitchari-recipe
Thanks.

47 comments:

  1. che meraviglioso piatto, a quest'ora lo mangerei molto volentieri! :)

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  2. your pictures and recipes are always enlightening and inspiring. I will never ever make flatbread (roti) like yours!

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  3. That flatbread looks amazing! It's going on my list of things to make right now!

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  4. This is comfort food for us too,..perfect clicks,

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  5. I just can't get over how you converted a hanger to a "phulka" maker. :)

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  6. ha ha.. I love what you have done with a hanger :-) Khichdi is one of the staples in our home. In my opinion it is one of the most versatile dishes there is.

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  7. What a wonderful recipe! Thank you for sharing it!!

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  8. Brussel sprouts wit khichdi! That's a pairing I should try next time. Nothing more comforting that a bowl of soupy khichdi.

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  9. I've never before seen the humble khichdi photographed so well. Awesome pictures.

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  10. Thank you for this...I will make it today as I have all the ingredients and it looks nourishing and delicious!
    Best wishes!

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  11. The idea with a hanger is briliant.
    We eat kitri very often. My best one is with broculi, tomatos, parsley (I hate cilantro!), little milk and lots of butter. I love chapati with kitri but my most favorite is hot kitri with bread and butter. When you eat it together butter on bread melts and mix with a kitri. One of the best culinary combination. YUM!
    Och and congratulations on the pictures. I know how hard it is to make this humble dish looks as good as it deserves. Good work Laksmi.

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  12. The "hangar" is such a brilliant idea! Love your photography as usual. You have such an innovative way of pairing food, the brussel sprouts on the skewer are so beautiful. Wait, I could go on and on about this post Lakshmi. This is just gorgeous. Pure and Exquisite.

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  13. Thank you! I'm glad you like the hanger :-) It works well.

    Cintamani, I've never heard of khichuri with milk! How interesting! I often make it with coconut milk, though. In Sri Caitanya Caritamrta there are references of Bengalis cooking dal with milk, but I always thought of sweet preparations. Your sentiment regarding bread and butter is agreed upon. Even bread and olive oil :-) Unfortunately, I don't bake or eat bread with yeast any more...

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  14. OMG That hanger is an absolute wow!!!

    My husband loves Khichidee, he can eat it at every meal... This looks fabulous!!
    You know I have Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking In her book she mentioned that she learned Vedic style of cooking under the guidence of Swami Prabhupada.
    I love the book....

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  15. Khichri was a favorite of mine growing up in a Pakistani/American family...such a comfort food for me! Love your photography!

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  16. The "hanger" idea is simply brilliant,Lakshmi! In our cuisine kichdi refers to a sweet made with grains,pulses,jaggery and coconut milk.one of the nourishing and wholesome sweet...

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  17. lakshmi, khiciri is comfort food, nothing beats it when topped with ghee. Love brussel sprouts kabab I am so going to make it.

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  18. Thank you. Happy to meet other khichuri lovers!

    Reem, yes, Yamuna's book is my Bible! Did you know she passed away a few months ago? What a loss! She is such a beautiful soul. Her book is a masterwork of Vaishnava cooking.

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  19. Love your pictures and wish I could eat exactly what you've prepared for lunch today!!

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  20. Absolutely LOVE This! I have been making this for awhile with my boyfriend and it has always been one of our favorite meal but you have definitely given me some new ideas to spice it up! LOVE YOU FOR THIS :)

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  21. I am so sorry to hear that, It is such a huge loss. I read her biography after I read her cookbook as I was so inspired by her work and passion and I wanted to know more, she is no doubt a beautiful soul.

    I have had the pleasure of knowing a little bit about the principles and style of Vaishnavas cooking, I must say I admire the purity and calmness of the cuisine. And her book truly showed it in a beautiful way.

    I have to say Lakshmi, I feel the same way and see almost the same love and calmness in your food...
    Beautiful!!!

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  22. You bring out the best in everything.. the hanger ;) besides the so wonderfully comforting mung dal khichudi with ghee. The temple prasad khichudi are the ones I love the best; a little sweet with the raisins and with some sweet chutney and fried/roasted veggie on the side. But I never had it with roti! and to make khichuri look so beautiful,only you can do it.

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  23. Thank you Florence, Lauren, Reem & Soma for stopping by.

    Reem, thank you for your kind words about Yamuna. She was a soul with a purpose and blessings unparallel. Her cooking skills were just one manifestation of the beauty of her heart. Similarly, her singing bhajan revealed her nature and devotion. She was a humble, private person despite of having befriended famous people from the Beatles to the aristocracy and intelligentsia of India. Her focus was immaterial and internal, undeviated from the spiritual values.

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  24. I love Kichdi in all forms but my favorite is when it's simple cooked with some soft vegetables and topped with a basic simple tempering. Perfect comfort food. But a humble bowl of kichdi never looked better before. LOVE the roti photos too...
    Once again a beautiful post....

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  25. Oh! Forget how awesome your 'Kitcheri' looks Lakshmi.. That life cycle of the hanger is something I'll remember for some time to come! "Creative" is your middle name I suppose.. :)

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  26. So delicious. This recipe looks like it would be superbly adaptable for whatever is on hand.

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  27. Thanks :-)

    Strawberriesandpepper: exactly! For 365 days a year you can make different kind of kitcheree, depending on whatever is at hand. It is such a versatile base for any combination of spices, lentils, veggies and herbs. By changing the portions of rice, dal and water (or any other stock or liquid)you can have variety of texture and density. I like kitcheree silky soft and melt-in-the-mouth, but I've seen it cooked as if it was a block of cement! Pick your style... :-)

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  28. Kichidi is my comfort food and is one pot wonder. That was one of the few dishes I started for my son when he turned 12months. Safe and nutritious to babies and perfectly delicious for adults too. Loved the pairing with brusselsprouts. Gorgeous clicks!

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  29. I very much enjoyed your post. The photos are ethereal and the graphic of the hanger is pure whimsy! I'm charmed!

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  30. Hi First time here and I was just wondering how did I not bump into your page before..Such a beautiful page with lot of recipes.

    Kichidi is my all time fav with a dollop of ghee on top, simple and healthy start for a fresh morning.Nice photos of roti and kichidi

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  31. I was at the Puri Temple of Shri Jagannath and was lucky enough to eat it :) They have a few versions of these rice based prashads . Oh what a feeling it was !

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  32. Hot Phulka with kichdi paired with brussel sprouts,they look so very delicious.Lovely clicks they look so divine and pleasing.

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  33. That coconut sauce sounds so great, I wouldn't expect it with brussel sprouts, but I love unlikely combinations.

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  34. This is great when your on a budget ! Yum !

    ratedkb.blogspot.com

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  35. Hey, this is my first comment here. I LOVE your blog ! My husband and I made the kichari recipe for dinner and it was delicious! :) Can't wait for more recipes!! All our love, from some devotees from Amsterdam! :)

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  36. Thanks.

    Anonymous - glad to hear! Haribol.

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  37. sister, your blog is speakin' my language! i LOVE it!

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  38. Just discovered your blog today and think its fabulous! I am going to try and make the sourdough bread to accomany my brussel sprouts, you have a lot of recipes that I cant wait to try..Have a great day..
    maria

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  39. Hi Lakshmi,

    We love your version of khichadi and make it almost every week with whichever veggies we have in store. Its just wonderful. Thankyou so much for this.

    Yours is a lovely blog with beautiful pictures; its just the replica of the beautiful person you are.

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    1. Thanks Prachi, nice to hear you like the recipe. We love khichadi with my husband and could eat it every day :-) There are million ways of making it to taste a little bit different each time.

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  40. Wow--this is a really tasty recipe! I cut down on the salt and ghee a bit, and it was still fabulous. And I LOVE the hanger-cum-phulka-rack. Can you show us a clearer photo and how you made it? Also what type of stove do you use?

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    1. Kathleen, I'm glad to hear it turned out well. The hanger is just bent by force to serve the purpose. It's soft, aluminium-like metal and, thus, bends easily. I'm using an alectric stove at the moment, which is the worst for chapatis. As an alternative to the hanger, I have a fine mesh rack I place, slightly elevated, on the top of the heat source. It works even better. Also, sometimes I just keep turning, flipping and gently pressing the chapatis on the pan until they puff. I'm making parathas more often than chapatis because they are sooooo yummy and less taxing to make.

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  41. I have an electric stove too--they ARE terrible for roti. Gas is the best. :) Hmm...a metal rack..I wonder if a small cooling rack would work. I might have to give it a try. And I completely agree with you; parathas are much easier. Will you share a recipe?

    Looking forward to making this khichri again tomorrow.

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    1. A cooling rack will work well, as long as you will be able to elevate it slightly above the heat source and the wholes are not too big.

      I don't have a paratha recipe at hand now. I measure by eye when I make them. I use 2/3 wholegrain spelt to 1/3 all-purpose spelt (that's the ratio), salt, ghee (a couple of tablespoons per 1 to 1 1/2 Cup of flour), and as much water as it takes to make a soft dough.

      When I'm making yogurt or buttermilk at home, I skim the cream from the top and churn it into butter and through it into the dough! It makes the best, soft parathas.

      Oil, instead of ghee, makes flakier parathas. I’m not fond of oil, in general, but it gives a nice texture here.

      When you are making parathas, use moderate temperature. As soon as the air bubbles appear, flip it over, brush with ghee and let it puff. Then, turn it and brush it again. I love to sprinkle parathas with chaat masala before lifting them from the pan. Yumm!

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  42. The khichuri looks absolutely delicious. We had it for the last two days, cooked in two different ways. Khichuri is 'the' comfort food for a Bengali.The hanger idea is actually brilliant.

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  43. This can be a very good feat for even a rich man.. Great Recipe.. Love the Rotis you made

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  44. I’m thrilled i always uncovered this weblog. Finally no junk site, which we can easily get back to frequently. Thank you for sharing this around.

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