Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chana Dal Khichdi - Cholar Dal er Khichuri

Snuggling in the coziness of bed even for an extra 5 minutes could be so rewarding in the winter mornings when clambering out from under the quilt seems nothing short of a torture. I remember how my father in order to wake me up every morning, during winter, would tiptoe into my room and loosen the fastening of the moshari (mosquito netting) from all of the four bed poles, the net untied loose flopping over me in a clumsy mess forcing me to get up. Fuming for being forced out of sleep I would swear few obscene words under my breath with sheer irritation at him before stomping out of the room. My father, as if deriving some sort of impish pleasure at my exasperation would flash one of his wickedest grin sending thousand vaults of irritation through my vein.  Now those moments of irritation make me moist as I fondly remember my father who is fast getting old and losing his faculties, one after another. Time just whizzes by and soon the moments comprising our present change into a cluster of distant dreams lived long back stowed in the dungeon of memories.

I miss my parents a lot these days especially when I am unable to meet them. It's been a year since I have seen them last. My father's deteriorating health has been a growing concern for me; the only consolation is my elder siblings are there in Kolkata taking care of him whenever needed. That my parents are not alone entirely gives me immense mental peace.
Khichuri was once a sought-after item in our menu. When sick, cold and tired or simply lethargic to make a time-consuming preparation for a meal, our one and only solution lied in khichuri. Make a bucketload of khichuri and enjoy for two days at a stretch. No need to scurry around the kitchen chopping veggies and cooking or cooking and grinding, just toss some regular ingredients together and a hearty fulfilling meal is ready. Cholar Dal er Khichuri is one of my favourite khichuris, because of its simplicity in the making. The soothing aroma wafting from the rice lentil concoction infused with ghee makes this khichuri a relish to have.

Ingredients:                                                           Cooking time: 25 minutes
ü  1 cup chana dal or cholar dal or yellow bengal gram
ü  1 cup gobindobhog or kaminibhog or basmati rice
ü  2 large size onions (chopped into squares)
ü  5-6 green chillies (chopped)
ü  1 tsp cumin paste
ü  1 tsp turmeric powder
ü  1 tsp ginger paste
ü  3 tsp sugar
ü  Salt to taste
ü  Mustard oil for cooking
ü  2 tsp ghee
For Sauté:
ü  1 tsp kalo jeera or kalonji or nigella seeds
ü  2 dry red chillies
ü  2 bay leaves
1) Soak chana dal for 2 hours.
2) Wash the rice repeatedly under running water. Then mix rice and lentil together. Keep aside.
3) Heat mustard oil in a wok. When oil turns hot, add the ingredients for saute and wait till they begin to crackle.
4) Add onion and green chillies. Fry till onion turns translucent. Add turmeric powder, ginger paste and cumin paste. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
5) Pour the rice and lentil mixture into the wok and add 1 tall drinking glass of water. Cover and cook on medium heat till rice and lentil are cooked through. (Meanwhile, if in case the mixture turns dry clinging to the bottom of the pan, add more water.)
6) Finally, when both rice and lentil are cooked and the water dries up, add ghee and cover for 10 minutes before serving.
7) Serve hot with fried potato rounds.

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