Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Khichadi-Kadhi : The ultimate comfort food

This ones a classic combination as far as comfort foods go. Of course a lot of broth preparations go quite well with Khichadi such as Tomato-Saar, Rasam, Amsul-Saar etc but there is something about this combination which makes even the otherwise supposedly bland Khichadi a welcome dish.

As much as I love this, I can not come to terms with the fact that this can be regarded as a festive dish as well! Now theres a little story behind this. When we were looking around for a marriage hall for my wedding & looked at the menu options available, almost all of them in Pune, listed Khichadi-Kadhi as one of the items. Now, Khichadi has a reputation for being something very bland & simple, fit for the sick and to put all this in a very pleasant manner at the most a comfort food. I could never imagine having Khichadi on the day of my wedding! I had rejected the menu outright without even looking at the other items. I was completely adamant that come what may I will not have Khichadi for lunch on my wedding day and everyone had to finally decided on (they did agree with me on this point) Masala Bhat.

I said supposedly bland because there are so many variations possible and I bet each household has its own version of Khichadi. To give you an example my mom made it totally different than what my MIL makes and I must add here that her version is a bit different from my FIL’s. Yes! my FIL makes the best Khichadi I have tasted so far and also the Kadhi to go with it.

My version takes a bit of each of the above mentioned and tastes very different from theirs! I have taken whatever I like in each of the above and added some of my own to get to this. Again its not necessary that I will make it exactly this way everytime. I might do something different, increase one thing, reduce another, skip something or add according to my mood that day. What I giving here is the basic Khichadi recipe that I use.


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Serves 2


  • 3/4 cup rice (I used Sona Masoori)
  • 3/4 cup Split yellow Moong dal
  • 1 tblsp Ghee (Clarified Butter) or oil
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 6-8 Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 2 cloves
  • 6-7 Peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Salt


Wash the rice & dal and keep aside.

Heat the ghee/oil in a deep pan/kadai. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. Once they sizzle & change colour add the curry leaves and the Asafoetida.

Add the cloves & peppercorns and fry for a minute or two. You could coarsely crush the cloves & peppercorns before adding them. Next, add the turmeric powder and mix.

Add the rice & dal and mix well. Season with salt and let it roast for 2-3 minutes.

Now add double the amount of water than that of the rice and Dal, mix well and bring to a boil.

Reduce the flame, cover & cook till the rice & dal are completely cooked. The consistency for the khichadi is usually mushy.

I use a pressure pan to speed up the process. I do the tempering & roasting of the rice & dal, add water & then cover & pressure cook it for 6 whistles. If you don't have a pressure pan, you can do the tempering & roasting in a pan & then transfer the contents into a vessel that will fit into your pressure cooker & cook it for approx 4-5 whistles depending upon the type of cooker.

Serve hot with ghee poured on it, along with Kadhi, roasted papad & some pickle.

My Notes: The quantity of water has to be adjusted to get that mushy consistency for the khichadi.

For variations I sometimes,

  • add one chopped green chilli to the tempering.
  • use green split moong dal i.e. split moong dal with the skin. This brings a nice change in the taste.
  • add 1.5 tsp of Coriander-Cumin powder to make it a little more spicier.
  • add chopped fresh coriander leaves once the khichadi is cooked.

As for the Kadhi, I completely go by my FIL’s recipe, its really the best & the simplest. But I do like garlic in my Kadhi (my mom used to add this in hers!), so I just add a bit of crushed garlic.


Picture 182

Serves 2


  • 1 cup curd
  • 2 tblsp Besan (Chickpea flour)
  • 1/2 tblsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 4-6 curry leaves
  • 2 pinches of Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of Garlic, coarsely crushed
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp Sugar
  • Salt


Make buttermilk (Chaas) of medium consistency using the curd and water. Add salt to this and mix well and keep aside until required.

Make paste of the chickpea flour with some water & keep aside.

heat the oil in a deep pan. Once the oil is hot add the mustard seeds & as they start spluttering add the Cumin seeds, curry leaves, Asafoetida and the turmeric powder.

Next, add the crushed garlic & onion and fry till the onion starts softening. Add the chopped chilli and mix.

Reduce the heat and add the earlier prepared buttermilk and stir well on medium-low flame.

Once the it is heated through, add the chickpea flour paste and sugar and continue to heat.

The Kadhi should not be allowed to boil too much. Just heated enough till the consistency goes from watery to glossy (the besan being cooked).

Adjust the salt & sugar according to your taste after switching off the flame.

My Notes: You could add any of the vegetables such as Okra, White Pumpkin, Snake gourd etc to get an additional boost in the taste.

Serve hot with Khichadi for that classic combination or with plain rice, or even along with Chapati-Bhaji. I like to have it plain & straight just like a soup too :)

Here’s another look at the dish again,

Picture 180

This plate makes for a great meal for the kids, my daughter S loves Khichadi. So it is on its way to Trupti’s Recipe Center, for the Cooking For Kids:Rice event, started originally by Sharmi of Neivedyam.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Farali Batata Bhaji (Potato stir fry)

I first came across this one when we had been out at a restaurant having an Indian Buffet, Gujarati to be precise. In fact most of the items on the menu even apart from the Buffet, such as the South Indian dishes (Dosa, Idli, Wada with the chutney & sambhar), North Indian Dishes (The Paneer, the Aloo-Matar etc), the Indo Chinese(Hakka Noodles, schezuan rice ) etc all have a very strong Gujarati influence.

But we keep going there every now & then, for the buffet. In fact whenever we go there, its only for the buffet. It does have some fusion kind of dishes such as Paneer Chilli, individual portions of Pizza, french fries etc but otherwise you get to have a perfect Gujarati Thali – Kadi, dal, 3-4 bhaji (both dry & gravy), poori/roti, rice, salad and most importantly the chat items (bhelpuri, samosa chat etc). Actually to be very honest its the chat items that beckon us even though the items in the buffet are always the same & we do tend to get bored of having the same things every time.

To come back to the recipe of this post, it was a good change to see this one on the menu when we had been there 2 weeks back. It was called ‘Farali Bhaji’ (fit to be had when fasting) and I took a spoonful only because it was potatoes and little S likes potatoes (of course I like it too) and this one looked like it wasn't very spicy either, in fact it looked very bland to me. I started giving S some poori with this bhaji & she seemed to like it a lot. Mid way through the lunch, I tasted it & was surprised to find it very tasty, in a very simple way I must add. I tried to think about what all went into it & could only come up with cumin, salt, pepper & the peanuts apart from the potatoes of course. I remember wondering how such a simple dish with minimal ingredients can taste so well. I then had 2 more helpings of the same after that.

I had also decided to recreate it in my kitchen there & then, seeing that S had liked it so much. Then when I actually set to make it I realised what was different about the bhaji & give it that unique taste. The tempering was supposed to be done in Ghee (Clarified Butter) and not oil. This was something very obvious which I should have realised earlier because most of the Upvaas (fasting) items are cooked in ghee and not oil. This is very quick to make & if you have boiled potatoes it takes not mare than 5-7 minutes for it to be ready.

Farali Batata Bhaji

Picture 002

Serves 2


  • 3 Medium sized potatoes, boiled & peeled
  • a handful of Peanuts (about2-3 tblsp)
  • 2 tblsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 4-6 Curry Leaves
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Roughly mash the potatoes and keep aside.

Heat the ghee in a pan & when its hot add the cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds start to sizzle add the curry leaves & peanuts.

Stir & fry till the peanuts get a little coloured. Now add the boiled potatoes, salt & pepper.

Mix thoroughly, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring in between.

Thats it! Serve hot with Roti/Poori.

Picture 00311

My Notes: The restaurant Bhaji used a lot more ghee, in fact you could see the ghee in the bhaji, but I have reduced the amount here. Increasing it would have achieved exactly the same taste as in the restaurant, I am sure. Also please don't add any coriander leaves or other such garnish, it will make a huge difference to the taste.

MM KidsLunches

This goes to Monthly Mingle – Kids Lunches, an event started by Meeta @ Whats for Lunch Honey? and being hosted by Srivalli this month.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Instant Carrot Paddu

This is a variation on those round ones. I stumbled upon Carrot-Ginger Appe at As Dear as Salt, when looking for options for breakfast and liked it very much. I made some changes to the original recipe and made these.

The best part about them is that they are instant, no fermentation required. And they pack in carrots so they are healthy too. I would like to try a different combination of veggies next time.

Instant Carrot Paddu

(Adapted from this recipe at Richa’s As Dear as Salt)

Picture 0441


  • 1.5 cups grated carrot
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 Green Chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 4-5 tblsp All Purpose Flour (Maida)
  • 2-3 tblsp Rice flour
  • 1-2 tblsp Semolina (Rava/Sooji)
  • Salt
  • Oil


Mix all the above ingredients except for the oil to make a thick batter. Use a little water if required.

Heat the Appam Pan and lightly oil each depression.

Pour spoonfuls of batter into each depression, reduce the flame and cover and cook for about 2-3 min.

Remove the cover, drizzle some oil on each of them & cook on high flame for another minute.

Flip over the paddus & continue to cook on medium flame for another 2-3 minutes.

Picture 0381

Remove on Kitchen towels. Serve hot with any chutney of your choice. I served these with the Dhaniya-Pudina Chutney.

My Notes: Adjust the quantity of the flour (Maida, rice & Semolina) depending upon the consistency of the batter. The final batter should resemble a thick Dosa Batter. Actually it could be a little thicker than that too. I will try to reduce the Maida, the next time I make it.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Cherry & Almond Cake

While I am quite a confident cook, or if I can even say so myself at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, a seasoned cook, I am not so sure when it comes to baking. Although I am not new to baking, having made quite a few cakes, cookies, muffins even bread etc, I am always nervous when I am baking. It could be a tried & tested recipe but I am still biting my nails until I have seen the final product.

I would always look at the baking books on the shelf in the store & sigh, thinking whether it will be a good investment. I decided I had to start somewhere and was delighted to find ‘Easy Baking’ and I didn't have to think twice before buying it.

The recipes are basic and limited but have been so neatly presented along with great pictures that I wanted to try everything at once. There are a few recipes that I have already tried but there are some which I have always wanted to try & was on the look out for easy & manageable recipes. And this book gives me exactly that.

I chose this particular cake as my first from this book basically because I had an opened pack of glace cherries which I wanted to use. What happened to the earlier used cherries is a different story for another post

Cherry Almond Cake

Picture 016


  • 2 cups Glace Cherries
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup golden caster sugar (I used regular caster sugar)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ground Almonds
  • 2 3/4 cup Plain Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
  • Flaked Almonds for topping


Pre heat the oven to 160 deg C. Prepare a 7 inch square cake tin by lightly greasing it & dusting it with flour.

Cut the glace cherries in half and run water through them to get rid of the syrup. Dry them & keep aside.

Combine the butter, sugar, eggs & ground almonds and beat together.

Sift the flour & baking powder and add to the above wet mixture. Beat well to mix.

Add in the cherries and stir to mix. Spoon in the mixture in the cake tin and smooth the top.

Sprinkle the Almond flakes on the top. I did not have flaked almonds with me so heres what I did. Blanched the almonds & removed the skin and then chopped them into thin slivers and used them to top the cake.

Bake in the pre heated oven for about 1 1/2 hrs to 1 3/4 hrs until a thin knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Leave in the tin for about 10 min and then remove and cool on a wire rack.

When cool enough, cut into slices and store in an Air tight container. We finished off the cake within 2-3 days but I feel it will keep good for about 4-5 days.

Picture 024

My notes: The cake was very nice, tasting a little similar to the pound cake or the butter cake as it is called. Although I would cut the cherries into smaller pieces next time to distribute the sweetness.

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This goes to JZ’s Tasty Treats for Lets go Nuts - Almonds. The event has been initiated by Aquadaze of Served with Love.