Tuesday, January 28, 2014

khichudi/begun bhaja

This is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. When I think of ghar ka khana, this is what I miss the most. To be best eaten on rainy Sunday afternoons. Rice cooked in one pot with yellow lentils served with crispy fried eggplants. Or a fried egg.

Ingredients for the khichudi:
--Ghee (clarified butter)
--Cumin Seeds
--Bay leaves
--Dried red chilies
--Ginger paste
--Moong dal 
--Jasmine rice
--Green peas

Ingredients for the begun bhaja:
--Eggplant (cut into thin slices) 


Lightly roast the moong dal on a heated pan. Be careful so as to not burn the lentils. They should be toasted and just on the verge of turning brown. Transfer the lentils into a bowl and wash the beans in cold water.

In a big pot, melt one tablespoon of ghee. Or a little bit more. Throw in a pinch of cumin seeds, a couple of dried red chillies and bay leaves, and a bit of ginger paste. Fry for a minute or so. Add the washed moong beans and the jasmine rice. Pour 3-4 cups of water and cover the pot with a lid. Set to simmer. 

(I used about 1/4 cup of rice and 1/4 cup of moong beans. This will result in more than enough servings - enough to last me at least 3-4 meals. Sadly enough, Mr. Sachinky who usually loves everything I make refuses to eat this for dinner. Oh well, more for me, I guess.)

Add salt and sugar to taste. More than a pinch of turmeric for the distinctive yellow color. My mother doesn't usually add potatoes but I had baby potatoes at hand and figured what the hell. Add boiler onions (or red onion cut into large chunks), diced tomatoes, and peas (if using frozen peas, wait till the khichudi is almost done).

You might have to add a cup or two more of water till it achieves the level of consistency. Mushy is what you're aiming for. Keep an eye on it - you don't want it to burn. It might look like baby food but tastes far from it. I promise. Serve with a dollop of ghee on top. Nothing better than the sight of ghee melting into rivulets on a steaming pile of khichudi. 

The eggplants are mad easy, yo. Slice into thin rounds (back home, it's usually cut into really thick rounds but I was hungry and didn't want to wait long enough for them to cook. Also, if you cut them really thick it takes longer to cook which turns the eggplant almost black. I prefer the lightly fried ones). Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sugar. On a plate, put out some flour and press the eggplant rounds into the flour to get a nice coating. Heat oil in a pan and cook the eggplants for a couple of minutes on both sides to get a nice, brown crispy exterior. 

Just typing this up makes me want to heat up a second helping!

Comfort food.