Khichdi (Hodge-podge) is one of the famous dishes in Gujarat, India. I have this vague memory of listening to whistles from pressure cookers every evening, around 6 or 7 pm, when we lived in one of the apartments in an apartment complex allotted to us by the Gujarat Gov’t. I and a lot of other kids would be out playing kho-kho, daud-pakad, land or sea, etc… and it would be these whistles that would tell us that it is now time to go home, wash up and have some garma-garam khichdi!!! Oh… those good old days…
One of the other things that we used to do as kids, was reading Akbar & Birbal stories... Here is one of ‘em:
In a court setting Akbar asked Birbal, “Tell me Birbal! Will a man do anything for money?” Birbal replied “Yes!” The King asked him to prove it.
The next day Birbal came to the court along with a poor Brahmin who merely had a penny left with him and his family was starving. Birbal told the king that the Brahmin was ready to do anything for the sake of money.
The King ordered the Brahmin to be inside the frozen pond (it was winter) all through the night without any attire if he needed money.
The poor Brahmin had no choice. He stood inside the pond for the whole night, shivering. He returned to the durbar the next day to receive his reward.
The King asked "Tell me Oh poor Brahmin! How could you withstand the extreme temperature all through the night?"
The innocent Brahmin replied "I could see a faintly glowing light a kilometer away and I withstood with that ray of light."
Akbar refused to pay the Brahmin his reward saying that he had got warmth from the light and withstood the cold and that was cheating.
The poor Brahmin could not argue with him and so returned disappointed and bare-handed. Birbal tried to explain to the king but the King was in no mood to listen to him.
Thereafter, Birbal stopped coming to the durbar and sent a messenger to the King saying that he would come to the court only after cooking his khichdi.
As Birbal did not turn up even after 5 days, the King himself went to Birbal's house to see what he was doing. Birbal had lit the fire and kept the pot of uncooked khichdi one meter away from it.
Akbar questioned him "How will the khichdi get cooked with the fire one meter away? What is wrong with you Birbal?"
Birbal, cooking the khichdi, replied "Oh my great King of Hindustan! When it was possible for a person to receive warmth from a light that was a kilometer away, then it is possible for this khichdi, which is just a meter away from the source of heat, to get cooked."
Akbar understood his mistake. He called the poor Brahmin and rewarded him 2000 gold coins. :)
Coming back to my Khichdi… This is a must every evening in our household and this will go perfect with Kadi (recipe coming soon!!!)…
1. Three tsp cooking oil
2. A pinch of cumin seeds
3. Two cloves
4. Half inch cinnamon stick
5. One medium onion – thinly sliced
6. Two cloves of garlic – thinly diced
7. Two cups basmati rice – washed at least three times
8. Half a cup toor dal – washed at least three times
9. Salt per taste
10. Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
11. Water – Four cups
1. In a pressure cooker, heat oil.
2. Add in cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, onion and garlic
3. Once onion turns brown, add in water along with salt and turmeric powder.
4. Add in washed toor dal and mix well. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes.
5. Add in washed rice and close the pressure cooker. (On a high flame).
6. After three whistles, turn the flame to low.
7. Let it cook for another five minutes and then turn off the flame.
8. Make sure to open the pressure cooker only after the gas comes out.