After posting a picture of a plate full of Bengali Niramish Khichuri a few days back in Facebook I got several requests for the recipe of the Khichuri! I was not sure exactly what to write given Khichuri is something, we (Bengalis) know very well how to make but we all have a family recipe and that is quite weird! However, the recipe I follow is sort of a tradition started by my Grandmom followed by my Maa and Jethima.
This is basically the recipe of the Bhoger Khichuri! The Bhoger Khichuri at our place is prepared every year following Thakuma’s recipe especially for the Jagadhatri Puja and that quintessential Niramish Khichuri is just heavenly. Even the Rannar Thakur (Maharaj ji) also followed the same recipe since then to make the Bhoger Khichuri for a larger group for the Puja feast each year!
Have you ever wondered what the Bengali Khichuri all about is! “If I am tired and going to make something that is considered epitome of Bengali comfort food then I am going to call it “Chale Daale” and would love to pair it with a decent omelette or “If I am to make it as Bhog then I am going to call it “Bhoger Khichuri” and can have it with “Niramish Labra” or “if I am going to make it for a vegetarian lunch, I am going to call it “Niramish Khichuri” and can have it with Beguni or “I can simply call it Moong Daaler Khichuri” on a rainy afternoon or night to pair it with my portion of fried Hilsa.
Basically, there is nothing in the name, ingredients are almost same in each case and the end product is something that we can have without any excuses. We can pair it with Beguni (Eggplant fritters) or with fried Hilsa or with a vegetarian Labra! This particular main course is something a Bong can die to have on a perfect rainy day!
Coming to the Niramish Khichuri prepared at our place for Bhog, we don’t use a pressure cooker to make the Bhoger Khichuri; instead, a big “Dekchi” is used. I follow the same recipe to make the Bengali Moong Daal Khichuri at my place and this particular dish is prepared without adding Onion and Garlic and to make the dish reach and aromatic we prefer to add whole Garam Masala, Ghee, Cashew Nut, and Raisins. Rest is actually a simple process of cooking the Niramish Khichuri! One thing Io should mention here, that heavenly aroma of Bhoger Khichuri is something that can tantalize the sense buds with ease.
- Gobindobhog Rice: 100 g
- Moong Daal: 150 g
- Potato: 2
- Cauliflower: 1 (small)
- Tomato: 2
- Ginger paste: 1 Tsp.
- Cashew Nut: 10-15
- Raisin: 10-15
- Green Peas: ⅓ Cup
- Ghee: 1 Tbsp.
- Mustard Oil: 2 Tbsp.
- Dried Red Chili: 1
- Cinnamon Stick: 1”
- Clove: 8-10
- Whole Black Cardamom: 1
- Whole Green Cardamom: 3-4
- Cumin Seed: ½ Tsp.
- Whole Bay Leaf: 2
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Cumin Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Red Chili Powder: ½ tsp.
- Bengali Garam Masala Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Sugar: 1 Tbsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Mustard Oil: 1 Tsp.
- Peel and Cut Potatoes into halves and separate florets from the cauliflower and chop Tomatoes.
- Peas need to be separated from using (I have used frosted peas).
- Boil around 2-litre water in a vessel by adding ¼ Tsp. Salt. This will be required to be added after frying other ingredients to make the Khichuri.
- Wash Gobindobhog Rice under running water until clean water comes from the rice grains.
- Make a paste with Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Red Chili Powder, Bengali Garam Masala Powder, Sugar, Salt and Mustard Oil and add very little water if required. This Spice Paste to be added in following steps.
- In a pan dry roast Moong Daal for around 1 minute in low flame until nutty aroma comes out and then switch off the flame.
- Wash dry roasted Daal and keep that aside.
- Take a deep bottom Pan (I have used my futura; see below) and heat oil in it.
- Fry Potatoes, Cauliflower florets, Cashew Nuts and Raisins one by one and keep those aside.
- Temper remaining oil with Dried Red Chili, Whole Cinnamon, Whole Clove, Whole Black Cardamom, Whole Green Cardamom, Cumin Seed and Whole Bay Leaf and keep the flame on the lower side.
- Add Chopped Tomatoes and cook until tomatoes soften and then add Ginger paste and cook for 1 minute in low flame until oil comes out from the mixture.
- Now add fried Cashew Nut and Raisin at this point.
- Add previously prepared spice paste and cook for around 3 minutes in low flame and add little water if the mixture started turning dry.
- Now add Fried Potatoes, Fried Cauliflower, and Green Peas and mix thoroughly.
- Once oil started coming from the mixture add Dry roasted Moong Daal and give the mixture a thorough mix and then cook for two minutes in low flame.
- Add Washed Gobindobhog Rice and mix thoroughly and cook for one minute.
- Now pour half of the boiling water over the mixture and mix with a ladle and cover the pan with a lid and start cooking on low flame.
- Check in between and add boiling water as and when required until Daal and Rice along with the veggies soften completely.
- Niramish Khichuri is mostly served neither too much dry nor excessively runny. A medium consistency is perfect for this dish.
- Upon reaching the perfect consistency add Ghee and a pinch of Garam Masala Powder and mix thoroughly.
- Khichuri to be served with a choice of the side which can be a Beguni or Labra if the options are vegetarian or can be served with a side of Omelette or Fried Hilsa to make it a perfect Non-vegetarian Platter.
Rice-based recipes from Debjanir Rannaghar: