Masoor Dal Khichuri

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This recipe is from Indranee Ghosh’s book 'Spiced, Smoked, Pickled, Preserved: Recipes and Reminiscences From India’s Eastern Hills' (Hachette India). In this well-seasoned medley of memories and meals, the author brings together charming vignettes from her youth in the densely forested Khasi Hills and in Bengal with a delectable selection of recipes passed down over three generations.
Red lentils (Masoor dal) 1½ cup
Gobindo Bhog rice or any other small-grained rice 1 cup
Large potatoes (optional) 2 pcs
Carrots (optional) 2 pcs
Peas (optional) ½ cup
Large onions 2 pcs
Ginger 1 inch
Green chillies 2 pcs
Ghee 2 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds ½ tsp
Dried red chillies 2 pcs
Bay leaves 2 pcs
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Salt To taste
Sugar 2 tsp
Water 5 cups
1

Wash the dal and rice together and set aside.

2

Dice the vegetables and shell peas and set aside. Slice one onion and quarter the other. Julienne the ginger and slit the green chillies.

3

Heat the ghee over a medium flame in a kadhai or deep pan. Add the fenugreek, seeds, dried chillies, green chillies, sliced onion, ginger and bay leaves and fry till brown. Add the dal and rice mix, turmeric powder, salt and sugar. The spices and dal–rice mix will exude juices, so stir till the excess water has evaporated and the orange dal loses some colour.

4

Add water and stir. Once it starts boiling, turn down the heat and cook for 15 minutes, or till the khichuri is half cooked. Add the vegetables with the quartered onion and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve hot with chutney on the side.

Variations

For a richer khichuri, sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes before adding them to the khichuri. Instead of the quartered onion, you can use a handful of pearl onions.

 

You can add two cloves, two cardamoms and a stick of cinnamon to the pan along with the rest of the spices for added flavour. However, if you’d prefer to use a smaller amount of ghee, add the bay leaves and garam masalas later, when the water is added. The flavours will be the same, if not better.

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