Food Stories/ One Pot Meals

Layered Baked Khichri

Layered Baked Khichri as the name speaks is a meal in itself. Khichri, be it with arahar dal, moong dal or chilke-wali moong dal is dinner staple in most of  the traditional Gujarati households. Slow cooked, piping hot  Khichri with a dollop of ghee was believed to be the most comforting food to dive into. It relaxed us after a tiring day at work or eased our ill tummies. Long  before the variety bug bit us,  Khichri and Kadhi or Khichri with milk or Khichri with some simple rasawali subzi  (thin gravy veggie) had been a traditional dinner in Gujarati households. You must  be thinking what the heck is variety? Variety, my dear readers is  what dinners have become in our households. Not eating the conventional food but choosing for Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Chaat and the likes as a dinner option has become a norm. Sadly, the children and most adults simply refuse to eat the regular Bhakhri-Shaak or Bhakhri-Shaak-Khichri, Handvo etc.  for dinner. While evenings are reserved for variety,  the weekends are dedicated to take-aways or dinning outside. To be honest, the urban Gujarati families are eating less and less of conventional Gujarati foods more so,  it is becoming trendy to refuse or  frown upon the foods of our heritage or regular everyday food.

Khichri, the subcontinental staple has always enjoyed a special place on our plates and  in our hearts. A dish that breaks all cultural, social, economical barriers, Khichri till date is enjoyed in its numerous regional avatars. In Gujarat  the vaghareli khichri/tempered Khichri, ravaiya ni khichri/stuffed eggplant khichri, fresh tuver/pigeon peas Khichri, Bajri ni Khichri  are some of the numerous ways we love to cook it. I believe that when cooked with vegetables, Khichri pretty much becomes a one pot wonder. As a working profession I have always loved the convenience and comfort of one-pot meals. Believe me they are a blessing ❤️

During my recent (Decemeber 2017) trip to Ahmedabad I had loads of  such simple yet elegant everyday meals planned to be cooked and shot for the series of One-Pot Meals I plan to post on this space. And there was no other recourse than re-visiting my old cookery books, the ones I had bought in late 80s and early 90s. Guys, those were the times when internet was non-existant and we had to refer books for information 😇. Since those days, Ms. Tarla Dalal has been one of my favorite cook book author and I own a vast collection of her books. I think barring few I have most of her books. The early books were very comprehensive and have wide spectrum of recipes from simple to elegant. It was also the time when I cooked a lot from her books and few recipes have stayed along. Of course, I did not experiment with ingredients then but as you grow as a person and cook you tend to be more bold in your approach towards your cooks. So we begin with this Layered Baked Khichri from an old Tarla Dalal cookbook  ‘The Joys of Vegetarian Cooking’.  It is an exquisite dish almost like Biryani and calls for very little effort. Nothing much taxing. And believe me  it tastes divine…

Try it…

Layered Baked Khichri

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • For the Khichri
  • 1+1/2 cup uncooked rice, small grained
  • 1/3 cup arahar dal
  • 1/3 cup moong dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 1 inch
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • salt to taste
  • For the curried vegetable layer
  • 4 large tomatoes,
  • 2 large onions, minced or grated
  • 3 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 3 cups of medium boiled vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, peas, french-beans)
  • 2 tablespoons malai+yogurt, whisked to smooth consistency
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander-cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ghee for baking

Instructions

1

Begin by cooking the khichri.

2

Wash and soak the rice and dals for 15 minutes.

3

Discard the soaking water.

4

Place a large heavy bottom pan on medium flame

5

Heat ghee and fry the cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms and bay leaves for a few seconds or until they release their pleasant aroma.

6

Add the soaked dals and rice and add enough water (about 4 cups), turmeric powder and salt.

7

Cover and cook until tender but not mushy. We are looking for separate grains here.

8

Spread the khichri on a wide plate to cool off and stop from cooking further.

9

While the Khichri is cooking proceed to make the vegetable curry.

10

Soak tomatoes in hot water for 5-7 minutes, remove the skin and chop finely.

11

Heat the ghee and fry the onions till the turn pink in color.

12

Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.

13

Add the powdered spices, salt and fry for some seconds.

14

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.

15

Add the vegetables, mix well and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

16

Add the malai-yogurt mixture. and mix well.

17

The curried vegetables should have thick consistency so add a little water to loosen up if you find it dry and adjust the spices accordingly.

18

Add finely chopped coriander to the curried vegetables. Mix well.

19

Now take a baking dish and spread ghee at the base.

20

Make alternate layers of Khichri and curried vegetables, beginning and ending with khichri.

21

Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 25 to 30 minutes.

22

If desired you can unmold the Baked Khichri to serve.

23

Serve hot with yogurt or Kadhi, papad and pickle.

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