Sunday, February 1, 2009

Khichuri with Begun fritters and Tomato Chatni

Khichuri is a popular dish of West बंगाल. The main ingredients are rice and pulses. Khichuri preparations can range from the most exotic to the most simple. The exotic variations are served during Durga Pujo and Saraswati Pujo as “bhog” (food blessed by the Gods) while the simplest preparations is made for the sick – as the ingredients are good for digestion. I present here the variation that is in-between these two – the one that is enjoyed by most Bengalis during a rainy day! As common lore goes, Khichuri is associated with a rainy day – you can enjoy it best in a “wet” atmosphere with the pitter-patter of the rain!! This is not to say that you cannot enjoy Khichuri otherwise. For more information about the Khichuri you can click here.

Khichuri goes with Chatni (a sweet preparation made of tomato) and Begun fritters/Beguni (brinjal fry).

Rice - 1 cup
Moong dal – 1/2 cup – washed and soaked
Masoor dal – 1/2 cup – washed and soaked
Potato – Medium sized pieces (fry a little)
Cauliflower – Medium sized pieces (fry until soft)
Carrots – Big pieces (fry a little)
Green peas
Spices – Tejpatta, Cloves (2), Black Cardamom, Dalcheeni, Garam Masala powder, Green Chilies (2 and slit), Jeera, Haldi, Salt, and Sugar
Ghee – 1 tbspoon

You have already fried the vegetables and kept aside. Lower heat and in the same oil add tejpatta, cardamom, cloves, a small piece of dalcheeni, and jeera. When you get the aroma, add the soaked moong dal. Fry a little and then add the soaked masoor dal and rice. Mix well. Now, add 4 cups of water, the fried vegetables (except cauliflower), green peas, haldi, garam masala powder, salt, and a little sugar. Pressure cook allowing one whistle. Open pressure cooker after 15 minutes. Now, add the fried cauliflower, slit green chilies, and ghee. Turn a little. Your Khichuri is ready!

Let me now run you through the accompaniments that make the Khichuri an experience to relish!kpip

Begun fritters or Beguni - preparation

Slice the brinjal thinly. Keep aside. Make a thick batter with besan and maida (equal proportion). Add salt according to taste. You can also add posto dana (poppy seeds) or white til, especially if cooking for special occasion. Dip the brinjal pieces in the batter and fry. I would advice to begin frying just before you are ready to serve because brinjal fritters kept for long becomes soggy.

Tomato Chatni - preparation

Cut tomato in small pieces and add ginger, garlic, a pinch of salt, and sugar as per your taste. Mash a little. Keep on slow fire. Keep mashing from time to time till tomato is pulpy. Now, heat one tbspoon of ghee with whole mustard and a slit green chilly, seperately. This is the tadka. Pour tomato over the tadka. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and your tomato Chatni is ready.

Enjoy a special meal and do let me know the result.

n Tit Bits
I take the opportunity to dispel a common perception about Bengali cooking with regard to sugar. Sugar is sprinkled in most Bengali cooking not because Bengalis have a “sweet tooth”. The reason is far more salty! Sugar balances or edges out the salt in the dish giving the preparation a sophisticated taste.



Anonymous said...

I have a query about khicuri. How much rice with how much dal makes maketh a good everyday khichuri? The recipe says 1:1 but I think that is too steep for many. May I ask what is the lowest amount of dal with 1 cup rice that will still make a good khichuri? For the less dal variety should there be any change in the recipe to keep it simply tasteful?

The blog needs some photos.

Urmila said...

Dear Anonymous,
Khichuri is a conglomeration of cereals, pulses and veggies combined into a coherent mass, in which every thing is well mixed. The proportion of dal and rice depends upon your taste. There are other khichuris too, if you want to experiment, eg. Daliya ki khichri, Sabudana ki khichri where these ingredients can be used in place of rice.