Khichuri for Atiya


Comfort food is not always easy on the eyes. Khichuri does not “look” delicious but it is soft, warm, roasty, soupy, buttery and all things comforting. Often served for a big crowd since the rice and lentil stew expands, offers protein and warm stick-to-your-ribs comfort. It can be easily modified to the season and personal taste. It tastes like a South Asian version of Italian Risotto or Asian Congee. This week, this dish was Atiya, my baby’s request.  Perfect for the changing of the seasons. You will certainly find this in any Ayurvedic/ Yoga recipe book.

Usually, I make this with a sunny side up egg curry in a light tomato sauce. Today I was out of tomato sauce. So, instead, I made a spicy omelet with fried onions, cilantro, and chili peppers.

Basically, the dish requires rice, lentils, and water, cooked together to make a thick soup. That’s it. Everything else is up to family/ personal preference. Throw in whatever spices and vegetables you like.

Here is how I made mine today (tomorrow and next month might be different)

Wednesday Night Khichuri

  • 1/2 cup of lentils (red and yellow mung dal mixed)

  • 1 cup Jasmine rice (makes it extra mushy, Basmati is the traditional choice)

  • 2 cups of water

  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth, or just more water)

  • 1 Bay leaf

  • 1 Cinnamon Stick

  • 3 Cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger Paste

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Cook over medium heat in a big pot until the rice and lentils break down and become a super soft mush (about 40 minutes). Fry an onion sliced, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 garlic clove sliced in 3 tablespoons of ghee or butter. Add the golden onion mixture to the rice. Stir in. Today I also added a chopped tomato for a bit of brightness. Other days I add carrots or peas or other veggies.  You may need to add more liquid to make it as soupy as you like. As it sits the Khichuri tends to absorb all the liquid and set up. You can always add more broth when you heat it back up.

Serve with store-bought fried onions, ghee, and a lime wedge.

You can add a sunny side up fried egg, an omelet or an egg curry. You can also serve with fried eggplant or a spicy beef curry.  Really, anything goes well with Khichuri.

If you make this in a pressure cooker, it takes about minutes for the rice to breakdown. After you carefully open the lid, add the fried onions. All done in 15 minutes. Today I had time and had my pot simmering for an hour while I watched Chopped on Food Network (Love that show!).

Try this or something that brings you comfort.

Wishing you a happy fall season,







New Braces: Compromised Chewing not Taste


Puberty and braces unfortunately happen together here in the U.S.  Last week we had one child completing her time with braces while another began the process. New braces brought new challenges to my already complex chopped and blended dinner table. Soups and smoothies worked until she got tired of a liquid diet. Then came the minimal chewing but more substantial meals. I made her soupy khichuri (a Bengali mix of rice and lentils, lightly spiced), one of her favorite, braces or no braces. She also enjoyed the savory corn pancakes (a batter made with the addition of creamed corn). The chicken enchiladas still required too much chewing for her comfort. I lost a point there. Its always somehow surprising when small unrecognized parts of ourselves, once hurt or broken, change the way we do things. Teeth are wonderful machines that allow us to enjoy so many delicious simple things, like apples and crusty bread. Certainly not to be taken for granted by foodies, eaters and gourmands.

I’ll report back with brace friendly bowl food like khichuri, congee, risotto, grits, polenta and various sauces for the months of tightening to follow.