During childhood, I remember eagerly waiting for an episode of the much-loved family show, Khichdi. This sitcom brings back some wonderful memories when the entire family would enjoy the antics of the oddball Parekh family.
Well, my love for ‘khichdi’ dates back to childhood (pun intended ) And in fact, everyone in India shares a unique bond with khichdi because it is one of the first solid foods served to an infant. A mix of rice, lentils, and veggies cooked with tempered spices, khichdi traces its origin to the Indian subcontinent, to as early as 1350. In colloquial lingo, khichdi is much like its preparation – a mishmash of ingredients.
Every region in India has a unique variant of this dish. Bengal’s khichuri; Haryanvi kichri with bajra and moong dal served with lassi; bisi bele bhat in Karnataka; Hyderabad’s popular breakfast khichdi kheema khatta are some of the popular khichdi varieties.
As a nutritionist, khichdi is one of my most favorite dishes. Be it sabudana khichdi, moong dal khichdi or bajra khichdi with dollops of ghee – yes, you read it right, ghee! – I am a big khichdi fan. It’s a wholesome meal that appeals to my taste buds and health. While you may agree with me on the health quotient, I can see you frown with my statement – khichdi tastes good.
For most, khichdi is the kind of food you eat when you are unwell. It is quite a bland dish. Yes, moong khichdi is an easy-to-digest meal with an upset tummy or fever but hey, that’s not what khichdi is all about.
Don’t believe me?
Then, go and eat the baked masala khichdi served at Swati Snacks, Tardeo (Mumbai) or Law Garden, Ahmedabad. I am confident your definition of khichdi will change forever. It’s one of those scrumptious dishes that can force me to travel a 2-hour distance from my house in the suburbs to town or make me wait for an hour for my turn!
The mere mention of this has got me hungry… Damn!
And if you are not a Mumbaikar or an Amdavadi, you can try this amazing dish at home.
Anyway, let’s move on to some of the popular variants of this hassle-free and nutritious dish:
With khichdi being traditionally a mix of rice and lentils, we often forget that the delicious sabudana khichdi is also a form of khichdi. Sabudana khichdi and fasting are synonymous. You should dig into this yummy dish whenever you are fasting. The goodness of peanuts balances the glycaemic index of sago and potatoes as well as makes it a wholesome meal.
But yeah, don’t go overboard with them. Check out how you can make this amazing meal.
Vari rice/ bhagar / samak with a bowl of cucumber raita is another super healthy khichdi you can eat when you fast
Moong khichdi may not fit in your definition of tasty food, but in Surat, this is a much-loved meal. You’ll love their khichdi served with piping hot kadhi and add-ons like undhia and ringan na ravaiya.
Don’t you feel like savoring a hot piping meal of khichdi with kachumber, curd, and pickle when you come back from a long vacation? Yes, that’s because khichdi is the ultimate comfort or soul food, however humble it may be.
Nutritionally speaking, khichdi and veggies make a balanced meal that reboots your digestive system after eating packaged and restaurant foods. And if you want to add some color to your khichdi, try a palak khichdi. It’s one of the healthiest one-dish meals you’ll eat.
So, let’s cook some khichdi at home, what say?
Bajra ka khichdi is a popular dish in Rajasthan eaten during winter. Bajra along with ghee keeps your body warm and your skin soft and supple during the sweater weather. You can whip up a lip-smacking bajra khichdi at home.
And if you’re in the mood for some royal food, try the Shahajani khichdi
Now, khichdi created quite a stir recently being declared India’s ‘national dish’. While the Food Ministry refuted the rumors, Twitterati was quick to throw in their views, especially regarding dal, which is a key ingredient of khichdi. They pointed out that labeling a dish made with this expensive ingredient as a ‘national dish’ is sheer absurdity.
That said, we don’t want any more khichdi cooking.
We, at bon happetee, only want you to realize the goodness of khichdi and include it in your diet.
Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years.
Love food, love life — is her mantra.