India is rich in cultural diversity, and the food world, alongwith its various ingredients, flavours, textures, etc., is one of the most important factors of it. Undeniably, I feel so enthralled to talk about the rich history, where khichdi has been one of the topics very close to my heart. And not just me, ask any Indian about the ‘chaar yaar of khichdi,’ they would definitely answer with a ‘ghee, papad, dahi, achaar!’ There is so much more to say about this humble dish, however, today I’ll take you on a route of fond memories, of which this one-pot, comforting rice and lentil dish has been a very important part. Khichdi is that dish, which not only packs flavours, but also is nutrient rich in each of its version that exists in households pan India. Such is the love for this dish, that today, it features on the menu of some of the most exquisite restaurants, in one or the other avatar. And whether someone agrees or not, but to me, khichdi easily fits to be the ‘national dish’ of bharat.
So, before I jump onto my glorious relation with khichdi, here’s some scoop about it from the pages of our history. To begin with, the famous references by Akbar to Birbal’s khichdi. This also owes to the fact that it had a strong grip in the imperial menu during medieval times. Where there had been numerable variants prepared using saffron, rich spices and dry fruits. Also, according to folklore, khichdi is considered to be one of the most ancient foods in India with its origin from the Sanskrit word khicca – a dish prepared with two ingredients namely rice and pulses. In the 14th century, it came to be known as kishri, which was eaten along with a considerable amount of butter and was consumed as a breakfast meal daily.
Of khichdi and records!
Moving onto the present times and my journey which has been as good as the saying ‘where there is a will, there is a way!’ Also, my inner trait of going against the tide and doing something different than the rest has always made me take up projects that have been unique. Yes, this was the experience of cooking about 918 kg of a special recipe of khichdi with the best of ingredients (rice, dals, bajra, ragi, jowar, rajgira, vegetables with choicest of spices in desi ghee) amongst the most renowned people at the World Food India, New Delhi in 2017. I was elated because this did fetch me a celebrated place in the Guinness Book Of World Records, but the actual reason for my happiness was the fact that all the efforts of me and my team went towards a good cause. It is events like this that make me believe – the joy of giving is more than the joy of receiving! Nothing on this planet comes close to being satisfied with an act of kindness. When I look back, it certainly seems like a dream come true moment! Sharing some of those instances from that day…
One of the challenges was that there was no flame but just steam with which the end-to-end cooking procedure had to be carried on. This steam pipeline was 150 metres long.
The kadai in which the hearty khichdi was to be prepared measured a gigantic 7 feet in diameter!
The experience became all the more divine as it was the day of Guru Purab. Once the khichdi was made, it was distributed to the deserving children in Delhi and the rest to Gurudwara langars across the city.
Has the wish to cook this khichdi ignited in your heart too? I know how emotion-evoking this event had been. So, here’s the recipe for you to try it at the comfort of your homes too. Don’t fret on looking at the length of the ingredient list as it is as easy to prepare as any other khichdi is. Just a few more additions, because it was for a special cause. It is extremely heart-warming and once you have it, you’ll know what a real bowl of comforting food means. Also, don’t forget to try some of my other khichdi favourites from a plethora of recipes at www.sanjeevkapoor.com
Guinness World Record Khichdi
1 cup rice, soaked and drained
4 tablespoons split green gram with skin (chilkewali moong dal), soaked
3 tablespoons sorghum (jowar), soaked and drained
3 tablespoons pearl millet (bajra), soaked and drained
3 tablespoons finger millet (ragi), soaked and drained
¼ cup amaranth seeds (rajgira), soaked and drained
2 tablespoons ghee + for drizzling
20 grams (1 sachet) Tata Sampann Dal Tadka Masala
1 inch ginger, chopped
10-15 curry leaves
Salt to taste
5-6 French beans, stringed and cut into 1 cm pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1 cm pieces
½ cup green peas
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Heat ghee in a pressure cooker, add Tata Sampann Dal Tadka Masala and sauté for a minute.
Add ginger and curry leaves, mix and sauté for a few seconds.
Add green gram, sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet and mix well. Add amaranth seeds, rice and salt and mix well.
Add French beans, carrots, green peas and 6 cups water, mix.
Add salt and turmeric powder and mix well. Cover and pressure cook till the pressure is released 6-7 times.
Drizzle some ghee and serve hot.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.