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Food for good: Khichdi(Indian Porridge)

When I was a small child and got sick, my mom would often give me khichdi to eat.  In those days that I would have stomach upsets, I would get moong dal khichdi to eat.  And I ate khichdi on the eve of running my first ever marathon – The TMM 2020

Thus, you can say that I have a long term association with this wonderful meal.  I never really cared to understand the reason why it is given until I started to work on reducing my weight.   At that time, I was weighing 96 kgs(211 lbs).  I knew that the way I had been eating and filling my stomach had to change but I had no idea where to begin.

So, the smartest way was, to begin with well known, tried, and tested recipes that I had consumed in my life so far.    And Khichdi made it to the top of the chart.  This evening, we had khichdi for our evening meal and this inspired me to begin my culinary journey on this blog.

A bit of history

In the old days, I would guess, maybe some hundreds and hundreds of years ago, Khichdi had been a popular diet.  In the 1600s, the French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier wrote in his diary that “People in India ate a porridge kind of thing made of rice and lentils cooked with ghee(clarified butter)”.   It was Khichdi!

During Mughal times, Khichdi was a poor man’s meal.  The Mughal khansamah took it from the streets to the royal kitchens by enriching it with rich dry fruits.  In fact, according to a Russian traveler Nikitin, Jahangir popularized Khichdi that was made with an Anglo-Indian twist featuring fish and Eggs. 

SANJU RUNS

In today’s India, you can still find its many variants available through the length and breadth of the country.  The same Khichdi changes its name to Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Huggi in Karnataka.  So, while I was in Bangalore and away from mom, I would manage to eat Pongal Rice at the nearest Darshini(good outlet). 

Khichdi Benefits

Having so much history, let’s now dive into why it’s on the top of my wonder meals. 

  1.  A PERFECT BALANCE OF CARBS AND PROTEINS:  The basic food items that are used in cooking it are – rice and lentils.  Moong Ki Khichdi that my mom used to give me during sickness and lose motions is said to contain – Dietary Fibres, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, and 10 Essential Amino Acids. 
  2. EASY TO DIGEST:  Cooked with Ghee (Clarified Butter) and due to its Semi-Solid consistency, it is easy on the stomach.  As a result, you can digest it in no time and assimilate well.
  3. EASY TO COOK:  You don’t do much in this case.  Just mix everything and put in on the stove.  In fact, the term Khichdi is used colloquially in India to talk about things that are in total disorder or unorganized.
  4. A GREAT MEAL DURING DETOXIFICATION:  The loose motions and sickness are a welcome thing if it happens once or twice in a year.  That helps to detoxify your body.  So, as I mentioned to you, you can eat Khichdi during the days when your body is undergoing the process of cleansing.  During that time, you would need a nutritious diet as well as a diet that’s easy on the stomach because the metabolism function slows down.

When Should you eat?

The dish is good for every one of us: sick or not sick.  I would suggest that you have it during the evenings.  That is the time when you are going to bed.  Having it for your evening meal would help your stomach to work less at night and you will feel good about that. 

Here is a basic recipe of Khichdi:

List of Ingredients

Key Ingredients
Rice                        1 cup
Moong Dal          1 cup
( keep them soaked for 30 mins)
For crackling
Ghee                     1 Tablespoon
Cumin Seeds      1 teaspoon
Ginger                  3-4 medium-sized and cut them small
Garlic                     20 gms
Mustard Seeds 1 teaspoon
green chilies 2 splits
For spicing/Seasoning
Turmeric  Powder  1 teaspoon
Salt                         To taste
Tomatoes 2
Ingredients for making Khichdi: Sanju Runs

Method of Cooking

  1. Take your kadai or heating pan.  Put it on a mild heat. 

2. Start with adding ghee to the pan.

3. After the ghee is fully melted, you can add the cracklings – Cumin seeds, Mustard Seeds, Ginger, Garlic and green chillies. 

4. Then, you add cut tomatoes and allow it to cook for some time.  Maybe 2 to 3 minutes

5. After the tomatoes are cooked, add rice and moong dal to the pan.  And stir fry on high heat for a short while.  Approximately 2 -3 minutes.  Cooking on intense heat would bring aroma. 

6. Finally, add water to it.  While making Khichdi, the quantity of water should be equal to 2 marks on your forefinger. 

7. Now, leave it for cooking.  You can either convert the whole thing into a pressure cooker and close the lid and cook till you get a whistle.  Or you can leave it in the pan for 15 minutes.  To me, a pressure cooker sounds a better idea and that’s what I do.

So, try khichdi and please let me know in the comments below what you have to say!

sanju View All

a runner, a fitness enthusiast

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