February 21, 2008

Khichdi and Kadhi

Wherever I go, I try and sample the local cuisine of the place. Of course I sample global foods without ever once having even flown over those lands. I’d never seek out Indian food while traveling abroad. Firstly, I am not the biggest fan of Indian food to have the face of this earth. I enjoy it as I do any food. Secondly, I don’t like to lose out on the chances (to taste different cuisines) that life offers me. While in Paris, I had the misfortune of being with two Indians who’d seek out atrociously expensive Indian food at Strasbourg Saint-Denise every night. They spoke no French and they sort of emotionally blackmailed me all the time. They didn’t know how to ask for food without any meat and were unwilling to learn basic French. To top it all, they thought a trip to McDonald’s constituted sampling local food! I used to travel all over the city each day after work picking up small snacks along the way, taking in everything the beautiful city had to offer. My academics in Tourism will never be a waste. (And I can beg you all never to order Baingan Bharta anywhere in Paris!)

The first Indian state that I traveled extensively in happens to be Gujarat. I should have said the first Indian state that I didn’t “belong to”. This was about 21 years ago. Until that time, our travel was limited to the three states that I have called home: Maharashtra, Karnataka and TamilNadu. I don’t count going to Tirupati as it is closer to Madras than it is to most urbanized parts of A.P. Gujarat left its indelible mark on me. Literally and figuratively. Literally as it was the very first time I was experiencing temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius. (Yes, Madras in those days wasn’t half as hot as it is now.) I developed heat boils, which, as they healed, left scars on my neck and legs. (I even had to have one boil surgically removed.) Figuratively, I was so impressed with what the state had to offer that I made three or four trips since then. And I keep going back.

One of the things I love about any place is the food on offer. It’s not like I’m never disappointed. But Gujarat has never disappointed me in this matter. From the khakhras to the dhoklas and khandvis to the theplas and rotlis to the quintessential khichdi and kadhi… I love them all. I once joked to my cousin about wanting to marry a Gujju boy so my MIL could feed me all the lovely stuff. She said, “Your MIL will probably get stuff from the shop, as it is so much simpler, which you can also do”. Initially, I got my recipes from my dear friend M who could never understand why I loved her food so. As soon as Tarla Dalal came out with her Gujarati Cookbook, one copy was on my bookshelf.


I think this book of Tarla Dalal’s is like the Rasachandrika of Gujarati cooking. The recipes that M gave me are almost identical to the ones in the book. So I love it even more. Khichdi and Kadhi is a combination that I used to make very often when I was single. There was this time when I was attending German classes in the morning and so had very little time to make lunch. I ate khichdi for lunch throughout this 7 week period. There’s a slight variation to my khichdi and that is the addition of vegetables. I also add equal amounts of rice and dal as it makes me feel good. (Don’t ask why!)


1 cup Rice (Basmati or Sona Masuri), washed and drained
1 cup Green Gram (Moong) Dal, washed and drained
1 tsp Oil
1 cup Mixed Vegetables (Carrots, Beans, Peas)
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Peppercorns
1” piece Cinnamon
2 Cloves
1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
¼ tsp Asafoetida
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds, asafetida, peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves. When the cumin crackles add the rice, dal and vegetables. Fry for a minute and add the chilli paste and salt. Add about 4-5 cups of boiling hot water and cook for 20 minutes (4-5 whistles).

While the khichdi is cooking, get the kadhi going.


2 tbsp Gram flour (Besan)

2 cups Curd

2 cups Water
½ tsp Green Chilli Paste
½ tsp Ginger Paste

2 Curry Leaves

1 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste

For the tempering:

1 tsp Ghee (clarified butter)

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
½ tsp Mustard Seeds

¼ tsp Asafoetida

1 Red chilli, broken into bits

Beat the curds with the gram flour and water until you get a smooth mixture. Add the green chilli and ginger pastes, curry leaves, sugar and salt. Bring this mixture to a boil on a low flame.

In a frying ladle, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When the mustard splutters, add the asafetida and the red chilli. Add the tempering to the kadhi and boil for 1-2 minutes.

Serve the kadhi along with the khichdi. This would also go down as a classic comfort food for me. S doesn’t care much for kadhi and sometimes I make the mixed vegetable khichdi alone which we have with pickle and curd.

This is my first entry to the Regional Cuisine of India: Gujarat event which is being hosted by Mythili. if time permits, I'll send in my other recipes too. I'd like to send the Khichdi to


Meeta's Monthly Mingle. The theme this month is One-Dish Dinners. Happy hosting Meeta and Mythili!


Asha said...

You are so lucky to sample the regional cuisine for real! I just have imagine the taste and make it for myself. Both looks yum and they rhyme too!:))

Sig said...

Oh you said it girl, I never understand those people who wants to seek out Indian food in other countries... 1) they are letting go of a big chance to taste the local cuisine, the best way to learn about the place and the culture, and 2)Indian food outside India normall sucks... They just don't know what they are missing!!

Gujarati cuisine is completely new to me, lucky you, you got to taste the real stuff...I have to find a recipe soon for RCI.. :)

Meeta K said...

SO nicely said. I cannot imagine having a baigan bharta in Paris too funny! The kichidi though looks delish!

sra said...

Oh God, till a few years ago, I used to see travel agencies advertise Indian food cooked by Indian cooks! I'd hate to be on one of those trips - but what I've come to realise is that for many people, food is not the experience it is for us. It is just a subsistence thing, or another chore to finish. We must look equally strange to them - salivating over strange food and wanting to eat only that every single day!

Sagari said...

kichidi and kadhi looks soo comforting

Vaishali said...

Hi Raaga, Enjoyed reading about your food adventures. The khichdi and kadhi are such a classic combination and the food looks amazing!

Kalai said...

Wonderful intro to the post! I'm not familiar with gujurati cuisine, so this is a new dish to me. Looks great!! :)

Finla said...

You are really correct about eating the local food when you are in a nother place.

bee said...

gujju cuisine is my absolute fav, and i love the way you have presented these dishes. ask me aout guests who come to my home and insist on being taken to sucky indian restaurants. too bad, i pick restaurants i like.

i like indian home food, not restaurant fare.

musical said...

Khichdi kadhi is the timeless classic! Love the preparation! The kadhi looks really mouthwatering, what with the tempering fresh off the ladle :).

arundati said...

oh this is the story everywhere....seeking out the most hideous places to eat bad indian food (outside india or regionally) and then complaining that it isnt like what they got at home!! imagine giving up an opportunity to sample local cuisine....looks like the yummy khichdi i had at the akshardham temple in ahmedabad...we were told by all that the food esp the khichdi was awesome and to die for!! as soon as we reached there...K said forget going inside, lets go to the canteen to eat khichdi!!

Namratha said...

As Asha said you are lucky to have visited Gujarat and tasted the aunthentic cuisines in the State itself :) I still have a long list of must see places in India!! Both the dishes look gr8.

Coincidentally, while you were leaving a msg over at my blog, I am here reading your post :D

Raaga said...

@Ashakka: I have to do that with many states :-) Orissa and Bihar were tough for me. I had no idea what the stuff looked like :-)

@Sig: Want me to add your name to my post?? I'll take the khichdi, you take the kadhi... ok??

@Meeta: They put chopped pieces of brinjal in a gravy and called it bharta... and these guys paid some 100 francs to eat that stuff!! :-)

@Sra: I guess... its just that I am made this way :-) I know I look weird to most people :-))

Raaga said...

@Sagari, Vaishalo, Kalai, Happy: Thanks girls :-)

@Bee: I had guests from Scotland and after 3 days of eating Indian food, I thought they may be craving some European stuff... when I asked them what sort of food they'd like, they said, "Indian"... which is fine... we treated to different types of "Indian" food over the duration of their stay.

@Musical: That is what I love about photographs taken immediately after tadka :-)

Raaga said...

@Arundati: I totally agree... people tell me that the paneer they get in CHennai is hard... what about the sambar in the north... my mantra is "stay local" :-)

@Namratha: I love traveling and the food does make me crazy :-)

The Taste Tinkerer said...

...the khichdi looks so yummy..its one of my favorite comfort foods- having lived across india when I was growing up gave me the opportunity to taste a lot of different cuisines; now I try to recreate those dishes at home...reliving those memories ;-)...your blog is really interesting (chefatwork and onlineraaga).

Amanda said...

I have to admit that my exposure to Indian foods are very limited, and that I don't really even know what many of the ingredients are or where I would find them--but the photos and description are delightful!

Anonymous said...

Francs? surely you mean euros?

I have to say Paris had some amazing cuisine, subtlely fragrant. And if you visited Paris without hanging out at a local cafe for an hour sipping warm wine or coffee, you missed a lot!
Why ket yourself be emotionally blackmailed by a bunch of people? stand up for yourself, girl!

Raaga said...

@Anon: I did mean francs. I was in paris at a time when euros were really optional and each country did still have its own currency.

I did travel around a lot... without them. And I let them fend for themselves a lot... I mean, why get into a thankless routine!! :-)