Bhog Khichuri - Bengali Mung Dal And Rice Khitcheri
This khichuri/khichari is usually offered to God and Goddess because it is very Satvik (the word Satvik or Sattvik mean true/genuine/honest/virtuous, but here it is used to mean pure/vegetarian). Hindus do not consider ghee as animal product and use it in prayers. This dish is easy to digest, thus suitable for anyone e.g. old, young, children of any age as well as patients. As there are no onions/garlic in it, it is suitable for 'Hindu Vaishnavas' also.
The rationale behind serving Khichuri at Puja is that rice is the staple food of Bengal. So most of pujas (prayer ceremonies) in Bengali community can not be done without using rice in some form. For example, khichuri, payesh, naivadya, murmura, lawa, dhaan, chiwra, etc., all made from rice. Khichuri is usually served at Durga puja, Sarswati puja, Kali puja (celebrated on Diwali day), in puja pandals. Serves 4
50 gm. ghee
200gm. basmati rice
250 gm. dhuli mung ki daal (skinless, split green gram dal or mung)
100 gm. green/frozen peas* see notes
2 tsp. ginger paste or finely grated ginger root
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1-2 bay leaves,
2 green chillies, slit lengthways
1-2 red dry chilli
2 small-medium tomatoes chopped (roughly 150 gm. total)
Salt to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1 level tsp. turmeric
A sprinkling of Bengali Garam masala powder, made of 4-5 green cardamom, 4-5 cloves and 1" stick of cinnamon
In a dry pan or wok, dry roast mung dal. You will get an aroma of bhuni/roasting dal. When the colour becomes dark yellow, turn heat off. Add to the rice and wash together in cold water.
In a sauce pan, put rice and dal and enough boiled water to cover and be about 2 inches or 5 centimetre above the rice-dal mix. Now put on a high flame and bring to boil.
Turn heat down to simmer and add salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally. When it is nearly cooked, turn heat off and take it off the cooker. You can check and adjust salt at this stage.
Heat ghee in another, large pan. Throw in cumin seeds, bay leaves, green chillies, whole red chillies and sugar. When seeds splutter, add ginger and cumin powder and stir fry for a few seconds.
Add chopped tomatoes and stir fry until mushy
Add peas and stir fry for few more seconds.
Now add cooked rice and dal mix and stir well. It should be thoroughly mixed up, almost mashed but not too mushy. In Hindi we say daal should look 'Ghuta hua'.
If dal and rice are not fully cooked at this stage, add 1/2 cup boiling water and cook on low heat for another 7-8 minutes, stirring off and on. When khichuri is ready, it should be like porridge, not too dry.
Turn heat off. Sprinkle garam masala and cover.
*You can use few florets of cauliflower, new whole small potatoes and carrots also. In India, we use them in winter, because they are winter vegetables there.
Also see Dal Selection.