Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Khichda

As a kid, I loved visiting one of my aunts - mainly because she used to have a stack of glossy Bollywood magazines like FilmFare, Star & Style etc! It used to be my favorite activity as my mom and aunt would catch up on the mundane issues about life. :-D During one such enlightening moments, I was reading about Dimple Kapadia's my favorites or something like that where she mentioned "Khichda" as her comfort food. The first thought that came to my mind was that it was a typo for Khichdi and second, how on earth, gorgeous Dimple loves Khichdi? Well I was wrong and wrong again. Khichda is no Khichdi...And Khichdi can very well be comfort food, but it took me several years and thousands of miles away from my home to realize it.

Later I came to know that Khichda is a Bohri delicacy with meat, whole grains like wheat and lentils. But I must admit, the recipe scared me a bit. I wanted to try it from a long time. Finally I came across Shaan'sKhichda Mix pack at the local Indian stores. So decided to use it. It can be your one dish complete meal. I followed the recipe as given on the back of the pack. I reduced the amount of ghee.

The garnish of crunchy onions and mint gives a special flavor to this hearty strew.


Khichda
Meat-Whole Grains Casserole
Ingredients
1 packet Shaan Khichda Mix
(It has two parts. One is grains/lentils mixture* and the other is a spice sachet**)

Tempering
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
1 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
Shaan Masala Sachet**
10 cups water

1 cup mint/pudhina/phodina - chopped

Garnish

1 tbsp oil

1 big onion, thinly sliced

few sprigs of mint, chopped

Method

0. Marinate chicken pieces with ginger-garlic paste.

1. Soak the whole grains packet* in water for 1 - 2 hours.

2. Brown thinly sliced onion in 1 tbsp oil or ghee. Stir in chopped mint leaves - few sprigs. Keep aside for garnish.

3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker.
4. Saute marinated chicken, masala sachet for 5 minutes. Add soaked/drained grains.

5. Add 10 cups water.

6. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure drop of its own.

7. Open the lid. Add mint leaves. Simmer for 7 minutes.

8. Switch off the gas. Cover and keep aside for 10 minutes.

9. Serve in individual bowls, garnish with browned onion-mint mixture.

Note
1. Shaan Khichda Mix packet yields in a huge amount of Khichda. So make it when you have company or be ready to freeze the leftovers. Otherwise, you may need to use half of the khichda mix.
2. I like to serve this as a one dish meal on the wintry nights. You can also serve it along with Naan or Pita bread.
3. For richer taste, use ghee/clarified butter instead of oil.
4. I reduced the amount of chicken needed for the recipe.

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