Thursday, June 23, 2011

Come cook with me...

This past week I got from my public library a wonderful book by Miriam Hospodar called "Heaven's Banquet". I have been reading the book quite intently however for me cooking is as much a gut instinct kind of an activity as a cerebral activity. So tomorrow I will venture to make two of my favorite dishes from the book with my own special tweaks. The dishes are the humble Khichidi and themselves simple but when paired with each other - the perfect couple, yin and yang, two peas in a pod...yeah yeah you get the drift. They remind you of home, the comfort of your mother's arms soothing out uncertainity and unrest...warming not just your physical being but filling you with a sort of a mental peace. It is not by chance that these two dishes reign as super stars in Indian Ayurvedic cooking.

Here is my simple and straightforward way of making Khichdi and Kadhi, hope you will walk this journey with me -

For the Khichidi you need
  • 1 cup of Moong Dal (use whatever lentils you have but Moong lovingly dry roasted in a stainless steel container works best)
  • 1 cup of Brown Basmati (or whatever rice you have, try to make a move to unprocessed, whole grain rice and your body will thank you)
  • 1 cup of mixed vegetables ( I will use a cup of frozen peas, carrots and beans mix)
  • Hing, Turmeric powder, Fresh Roasted Cumin powder, Ginger (thinly chopped), clarified butter, fresh chopped cilantro leaves
The steps are simple :-
  1. Wash and soak the rice and lentils in water for an hour
  2. Take your pressure cooker ( if you don't have one use a stainless steel or cast iron pot).
  3. Heat the clarified butter (about a tad bit, I usually use Olive oil but this tastes the best). When it shimmering add the Hing, Turmeric Powder, and the ginger. Cook for about 1/2 a minute 
  4. Add the vegetables and the cumin powder. Cook for a minute and a half. Add the Dal and Rice mixture (soaked). Mix thoroughly. Add Salt to taste
  5. In the pressure cooker let it go about 6 whistles (minimum), if you want a creamier khichidi like I usually do, I let it go another 2 whistles (total of 8 whistles).
  6. Garnish with Cilantro and add Black Pepper and Lemon Juice to taste

For the Kadhi you will need:
1 cup of Yogurt
1.5 cups of water
3 tsp besan (chickpea flour)
1 tsp sugar
Dash of salt
  1. Mix the above in a bowl and keep aside
  2. Heat a pan and add some vegetable/olive oil and temper with hing, mustard and cumin seeds and  5-6 curry leaves ( Tip: I usually buy 1-2 bags from the indian store and microwave them to dry and then they last me 3-6 months in my masala daba). Now add minced ginger, cut green chillies
  3. Once the tempering is sizzling and fragrant add the yogurt mixture and bring to boil. Simmer it for 10-12 minutes until the chickpea flour is cooked.
  4. Garnish with Cilantro
So are you going to cook with me today? Walk the path seldom walked in this fast paced life...yes there is stress right stress that I would not wish on anyone...yet there is a sense in the background of peace to come and every evening that I cook a meal alone in my beautiful kitchen, the sense of equilibrium slowly returns and there is an inner reassurance of good things to come.

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