Khichuri in India is of various types. A very light version of it is given to patients, while the one with much more spices is a must-have during festivities. Khichuri with hilsa fry is a nostalgic delicacy to enjoy the rains. So, khichuri in India is surrounded by multiple stories to tell. Here, I have shared the recipe of bhoger khichuri, which is offered to the deities during pujas.
What is Khichuri?
Khichuri is a spiced and vegetable-seasoned dal and rice stew. This is what Bengalis serve as Bhog during any Puja (which means something offered to please or delight the deities, hence termed as bhog).
The dish calls for roasting shona mug dal, a type of moong dal, and dry frying raw rice separately before cooking them together with veggies and spices. The end result is a fragrant, delectable one-pot dinner that millions of Bengalis around the world consider comfort food.
It’s simple, rustic, and incredibly tasty. When I serve it, I like putting a dollop of melted ghee on top, elevating it to a new level.
Ashtami, the eighth day of Durga Puja in Bengal, is incomplete without khichuri. This roasted Bengali khichdi is accompanied by Baingan Bhaja (Eggplant fry) or Aloo Bhaja (potato fry). A cup of yogurt and some roasted papads on the side will complement it nicely. I made both fried and baked baingan bhaja to go with the khichdi, and the combination was fantastic.
Notable Ingredients At A Glance
Lentils – Yellow moong dal is the most suitable lentil used for making khichuri. But, I often use red lentils, too, when I am making it at home. Not to mention, it tastes best when made with yellow moong dal. Bengalis prefer shona moong dal, one of the finest qualities of moong dal.
Rice – Preferably short-grained rice, also known as gobindo bhog rice. But, you can use any variety that is readily available in your nearby store.
Vegetables – Now, for vegetables, you can add in a couple of them, like I have used potatoes, broad beans, cauliflower, green peas, tomatoes, and carrots. But, mostly for bhoger khuchuri the common favorite vegetables are only potatoes and green peas.
Coconut – Grated coconut takes the khichuri to one next level. The richness of coconut complements the lentils and rice really well.
Green Chilis – I like it a bit spicy, so I added quite a few green chilis. You can adjust the quantity as per your taste.
Spices – The choice of spices is very important for this recipe. It does not demand many spices, but the only few it calls for are very important for the authentic taste of khichuri. So, you will need whole red chilis, bay leaves, and whole spices like cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. You will also need turmeric powder, cumin powder, and garam masala.
Oil – The typical Bengali-style khichuri is made with mustard oil. Hence that’s the most preferred choice. However, if you don’t want to use mustard oil, you can substitute it with the oil of your choice.
Ghee – Ghee imparts the main aroma to the khichuri. I personally love a lot of ghee on my khichuri.
How To Prepare Khichuri?
First, thoroughly wash the rice and lentils separately and keep them aside.
Now, heat mustard oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.
When the oil is hot, add the whole red chilies and bay leaves, followed by the whole spices.
Cook everything for a minute on low heat. Allow the cumin seeds and green chilies to sputter.
After a minute, add the tomatoes. Now, combine the salt, turmeric powder, and cumin powder and cook for another minute on low heat. Keep stirring them on low heat so they don’t burn.
When the tomatoes are cooked, add the rice and dal and cook for one or two minutes.
Then add the vegetables one by one. First, add the potatoes and cauliflower and saute for some time. Add the other vegetables like broad beans, green peas, carrots, and coconut.
After 2-3 minutes, add water and mix well. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Finally, add sugar, mix well, and let it simmer for 5 more minutes. Garnish it with garam masala and ghee.
Your Khichuri is now ready to be served.
Some Expert Tips For Preparing Khichuri
- Add an extra 12 to 1 cup of water to make the khichdi more porridge-like.
- Vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, capsicum, green peas, eggplant, french beans, baby corn, and broccoli can be combined.
- For the best flavor, always use a 1:1 ratio of rice to dal.
- Shona mug dal is the best dal to use when making khichuri.
- The greatest flavors come from grated coconut. You can also replace desiccated coconut powder, which is widely available in supermarkets.
- A dab of ghee on top of a platter of steaming khichuri never fails to wow.
Khichuri (Bhog) is a stew of dal and rice seasoned with spices and vegetables. This is something Bengalis offer during Durga Puja as Bhog (which means something offered to please or delight).
- ½ cup Yellow Moong Dal
- ½ cup Rice (preferably short grained rice also known as gobindo bhog rice, but you can use any variety).
- 2 Potatoes – medium, cut into 5 cm chunks
- 250 gms (1/2 lb) Broad Beans – cut in half
- 1 Cauliflower – small, cut into 4 cm florets
- ½ cup Green Peas
- 2 Tomatoes – medium, cut into 5cm chunks
- 1 Carrot – medium size, cut into 2 cm cubes
- ¼ cup Coconut – grated
- 4 Green Chili – slit length wise
- 4 Whole Red Chili
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds/Jeera
- 1 tsp Jeera Powder
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Bengali Garam Masala Powder
- 4 Cardamom, 1 inch Cinnamon, 5 to 6 Cloves – Whole Spices
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1.5 ltrs Water
- Wash the rice and dal thoroughly and keep them aside.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add mustard oil.
- Add whole red chilies and bay leaves.
- Now add the whole spices.
- Saute all of it for a minute on low flame.
- Add the cumin seeds and green chilies and let it splutter.
- Saute for a minute and add tomatoes.
- Now add the salt, turmeric powder and jeera powder.
- Saute them all for a minute on low.
- Keep stirring them on low heat so that it does not get burnt.
- Once the tomatoes become soft add the rice and dal and saute for a minute.
- Now add the vegetables one by one.
- First add the sweet potatoes and cauliflower and saute for some time.
- Add the other vegetables like broad beans, green peas, carrots and coconut.
- Add water and mix well. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
- Add sugar and mix well.
- Now add garam masala and ghee.
- And let it simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Your khichuri is now ready to serve.
Keywords: khichuri bhog