Friday, February 29, 2008

Kadhi- Khichadi : Comfort Food!

I missed it again!! Darn! I am getting so absent minded!! I wanted to send in my entry for RCI - Gujarat and had this sitting in the draft for ever so long! all I had to do was review it once and publish!
What with my last day at work .. yep, I resigned.. want to take a break, some 'me' time is what I want! and then savouring every minute of my 'return to the housewife' days, I got terribly lazy and did my daily round of peeping into all blogs, but neglecting my own!
So when I saw RCI Gujarat.. I was all of Kem cho? Maja ma? Jamva mate shu che ( ok, overlook all the mistakes here..) I am a fan of Gujarati food and Mumbai offered a fantastic spread of Gujju food! I would literally starve myself for a day and then go in to Rajdhani or Surti or Kamath' s and then feast! Fortunately, everyone in my family loves Gujarati food, specially my Father and so there was no argument when going to a Gujarati restaurant was concerned!

When we did not eat out, my Mother or Father would make a trip to Dadar (W) to a famous shop, 'Surti Farsan' where they sold the yummiest 'Undhiyu'. Mom or Dad, would get up early on a Sunday morning ( yes that is the kind of love we have for this cuisine!) get ready, pick up a large size steel 'dabba' .. they are not fans of plastic take alongs and indeed those were not available in India then. Catch a bus to the market and then jostle among the hundreds (not kidding !) who were already in line to buy the undhiyu which would be sold out by 10:00 am!! I would on some occasions tag along and would be amply rewarded for my patience with a packet of dholka or kachori.. plus not to mention, the 'taste' of a khandvi or a jalebi the shop-keeper would give me in return for my sweet smile! Oh yes! I used to do that when the parent was not looking! Nothing like getting a little tidbit from the mouthwatering mounds of yummy stuff sitting right in front of your nose and the aroma wafting to your nose and making you drool!

Though M likes to call me a 'spicitarian', I really enjoy the slightly sweet taste of Gujarati food and enjoy all the varieties that it offers.

Among all the delicious dishes that this cuisine has, one extremely simple and comforting dish stands way out, Kadhi Khichadi combination! The simplest of ingredients and no spices make this combo a hit with me. This is so nourishing and perfect for bleak evenings and a perfect remedy for a sniffly nose (in my case)!!

For many months now, M would not touch Kadhi and khichadi.. he would turn up his nose at it , called it food for invalids! .. that just made things difficult for me as I can enjoy kadhi for any meal! On one rare occasion, however Mr. Picky obliged and sipped a spoonful of kadhi.. hhmmm... not bad.. not bad at all! That disdainful look vanished from his eyes and they showed a good deal of interest in what lay before! I was thrilled! He still likes kadhi, I had my doubts that the initial liking was a flash in the pan, and has even progressed to enjoying sipping kadhi like soup!!

The recipe is as simple as ABC..! All you need is :
2 cups Sour Yogurt
2 tbsp Besan
2 tbsp ghee /oil
1 inch ginger (grated)
2 green chillies
Few curry leaves
1 Red chilli halved
1/2 tsp mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/8 tsp Asafetida
1/8 tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp Sugar
2 cups water
Cilantro to garnish

Add the besan to yogurt, add water and blend , make sure there are no lumps. Add sugar and salt and keep aside.

Heat ghee / oil, add the mustard seds. after they pop, add cumin seeds, chopped green chillies and halved red chilli, curry leaves and asafetida, turmeric and ginger. Pour the yogurt mixture. Stir well. Add more water to attain the consistency you want ( the besan makes the kadhi thicker) and let it come to a rolling boil. Switch off the heat. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with hot Khichadi .

To make khichadi
1/2 cup Mung daal
1/2 cup rice
1 green chilli
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Ghee
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp
2 1/2 cups water
Wash the mung daal and rice, drain all water and set aside. Heat ghee, add mustard seeds, after they pop, add cumin seeds, asafetida, chilies and curry leaves, turmeric. add the washed rice and daal, saute till all the grains are coated.

Add water, salt and pressure cook (as you would cook rice) . I usually add extra water to get a soft and slighty mushy khichadi. Serve with a dollop of pure ghee kadhi , pickle and papad for a thoroughly satisfying meal!!

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