Monday, December 15, 2008

Bengali Khichudi, Labra(Mixed vegetable curry) & Tomato-Apple Chutney

Ohhh...this post was on my draft folder for long it is going to be a quite big post, I made the draft now and then, but couldn't finish it ever... as it is raining heavily everyday in Singapore I thought to finish up and publish it.
One of the most common recipes that is popular with Bengalis when the heavens are pouring their goodness all around you is a dish called ‘khichudi’. Khichudi, in common language means hotch-potch. It's a one-pot meal with rice, dal(lentil) and some vegetables, cooked with very little spice and served hot . It's easy to prepare and wonderful to taste. The aroma of the hot khichudi on a rainy day, the comforting feel of the warm khichudi spreading warmth to your body and soul on a cold rainy day, is really something. The thought of khichudi will bring a hundred memories in every bengali's mind. It is also served in puja as a food offering called 'Bhog' to the god. Khichuri is not the only part that bengalis crave for in rainy days, the combos/side dishes that go with it, that makes khichuri more special. If you're making khuchuri with vegetables, then fries like omelette or any fish fry(Rui/Hilsa), Bringal/Potato fry, Papad and tomato chutney are good. If it is without vegetables, then Labra or mixed vegetable and chutney is a very common combination. One such rainy day, I also made khichudi, Labra and tomato chutney and off course some Papad was also there.... Inthis post I am going to share them with you....try out some time......and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ingredients for KHICHUDI :
Basmati/parboiled rice : 2 cups
Moong Dal & Chana dal : 11/2 cup
Onion : 1(medium)
Tomato : 1(medium)
Green Chillies : 2 (slit into 4)
Ginger paste : 1 Tblsp.(tablespoon)
Green peas : 1/2 cup
Turmeric : 2 tsp.(teaspoon)
Cumin powder : 2 tsp.
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
Bay leaf : 1
Cardamom: 2-3
Cinnamon : 1(1")
Cloves : 4
Handful of green peas
Salt to taste
Sugar : a pinch(1 tsp.)
Oil : 3 tblsp.
Ghee : 2 tblsp.
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

Method :
  • Wash the rice, drain all the water. Roast moong dal until golden brown and set aside.
  • In a heavy-bottomed pan or cooker, heat oil, add bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves abd cumin seeds. When all starts crackling and turn light brown, add chopped onions.
  • Stir fry for some time then add ginger paste, green chillies and tomatoes. Saute in medium flame for 2 minutes, then add turmeric and cumin powder, mix with the onionand tomato very well, lastly add roasted moong dal, chana dal and rice.
  • Mix everything very well with little water added to the masala. Season with salt and a pinch of sugar. Now add water , at least double the amount of rice. Bring to boil and let it cook in medium flame. Keep stirring time to time to avoid burning the bottom.
  • When rice and dal are done, add green peas. Sprinkle ghee over the top and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. When done, khichuri should be semi liquid, not dry.

Khichudi is it's turn for Labra or Mixed vegetable curry

Ingredients :

Pumpkin, white cabbage, cauliflower, sweet or regular potato, radish, eggplant or anything available

Tomato : 1 (medium)Green chilli : 2 ( as per taste)

Dry red chilli : 1(break in two)

Panch phoron : 2 tsp.( is a mixture of similar amount of fennel, cumin, black cumin, mustard & fenugreek seeds)

Turmeric Powder: 2 tsp.

Red chilli powder : 1 tsp.

Salt to taste

Sugar : 1 tsp.

Oil : 2 tblsp.

Fresh coriander Leaves for garnishing

Method :
  • Wash and cut all the vegetables in same size.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add dry red chilli and panch phoron. wait until all get brown, then add all the vegetables. Add salt and stir for a minute or two. Then add tomatoes, green chilles. Green chillies are optional but it adds some taste to the curry.
  • Now add turmeric, red chilli powder, sugar and mix well with all the vegetables. Add enough water to cook the vegetables. When water evaporates and vegetables are tender, check the seasoning.
  • vegetables should be just done, not overcooked or mushy. It should not be very dry. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and labra is ready to serve.
Labra is a must have with khichudi but also goes well with white rice and dal.

Now On the way is Tomato-Apple chutney :
It's a sweet and sour chutney..goes well with anything..even bengalis specially me, love to have this chutney with white rice itself.

Ingredients :
Tomato : 3 (medium)
Apple : 11/2 (grated)
Panch Phoron : 1 tsp. ( is a mixture of similar amount of fennel, cumin, black cumin, mustard & fenugreek seeds)
Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.
Chilli powder : 1/2 tsp.
Salt : 1/2 tsp.
Oil : 1 tblsp.
Dates & raisins :1/2 cup (optional)
Tamarind juice : 1/3 cup (as per taste)

Method :
  • Grate apple finely and cut the tomatoes in small pieces.
  • In a pan, heat oil, add panch phoron, let it brown, then add apple and tomatoes. Stir for 2-3 minutes adding little salt, turmeric and chilli powder.
  • Then add about 2 cups of water and let it boil. When it starts boiling, add sugar and add dry fruits. Let it cook in medium flame.
  • As sugar will boil, the chutney will get thicker. When all the water absorbs and chutney will take a semi-thick consistency, add tamarind juice and mix well with chutney.
  • Add tamarind juice little at a time, checking the taste as it will be sweet as well as little sour. Mix well and serve at room temperature or cold.
So, I'm finally done with posting this three mouth-watering it's your turn to try this wonderful combo next time you see it's raining outside your window and don't forget to write to me........


Usha said...

Wow, all three of these look delicious, especially loved the tomato apple chutney, it sounds so intriguing...will give it a try soon !

Soma said...

Thanks for stopping by. I am also a Bong:-) Tomar ei combination dekhe amr khide peye gelo! ar barite pujor kotha monay pore gelo. Best combination ever.

Vaidehi said...

love the recipe..especially Tomato Apple chutney seems more delicious..worth to try :) thanks for sharing


Indrani said...

Thanks a lot, Usha, Soma & Vaidehi

its me said...

Thanx for the quick Bengali Khichudi recipe, helps students like me to cook quickly and not miss my mum's food when I'm away from my country :)

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