One-Pot Kala Chana Masala| Black Chickpea Pressure Cooker Curry

Kala Chana Masala is a beauty of a dish made using black chickpeas, a flavourful gravy that is a family favorite. With pooris, naan, rotis or parathas – just about any kind of flatbread – it makes for a wonderful accompaniment. We love slurping this up with some hot steamed rice too. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for this dish, the way I make it.

All of us at home are big fans of the rustic, earthy texture of black chickpeas aka kala chana. We love the way they lend themselves beautifully to a variety dishes. I have already shared the Pani Poori recipe and Kala Chana Nu Rasavalu Shaak in which we often use these chickpeas, and now there’s this one.

One-Pot Kala Chana Masala

What goes into Kala Chana Masala?

Black chickpeas are the main ingredient, of course, cooked in a tomato and onion gravy. The home-made Punjabi chana masala powder that goes into it elevates the flavour quotient by several notches. It is finished with a touch of kasoori methi i.e. dried fenugreek leaves and some fresh coriander.

There are no fancy ingredients in this curry, no thickening agent, no artificial additives – only honest to God ingredients. Yet, this Kala Chana Masala gravy turns out delightfully thick and very, very delicious.

It is not a very difficult dish to prepare. You do need some prior preparation, in terms of soaking the black chickpeas overnight. Once that is done, though, it is a simple thing to put together. What I have shared here is a one-pot recipe, which can be easily made in a pressure cooker.

#FamilyFavorite at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this Monday is #FamilyFavorite, wherein all of us are showcasing recipes that are hits in our respective families.

Aruna, a very talented cook and the author of Vasu’s Veg Kitchen, was the one who suggested the theme this week. Check out the lovely home-made chocolates that Aruna has prepared for the theme – I’m soooo tempted to give them a go myself!


How to make One-Pot Kala Chana Masala

Here is how I make it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 cup black chickpeas
  2. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 1 small onion
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 5-6 garlic cloves
  6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  7. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Red chilli powder to taste
  12. 2-3 teaspoons chana masala or to taste
  13. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  14. 1/2 tablespoon kasoori methi
  15. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom left and right: Step 4

1. Soak the black chickpeas in enough water to cover them fully, for 8-10 hours or overnight.


2. When the chickpeas are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Transfer them to a wide vessel. Add in fresh water, about an inch above the chickpeas. Place the vessel in the pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 5 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.


3. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked chickpeas out. You know that they are done when you are able to crush them entirely between two fingers – there should be no hardness. Retain the water in which the chickpeas were cooked, too.


4. Now, chop the tomatoes finely. Peel the onion, ginger and garlic and chop roughly. Grind the tomatoes, ginger, onion and garlic together to a smooth puree. Keep aside. 

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Below top right: Step 7, Bottom left and right: Steps 8 and 9

5. Now we will start preparing the One-Pot Kala Chana Masala. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom and add in the cumin. Allow it to sputter. Add in the asafoetida and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Add the tomato puree to the cooker. Turn the flame down to medium. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the paste is completely gone. Stir intermittently.

7. Add salt to taste and the turmeric powder.

8. Add in the red chilli powder.

9. Also add in the cooked black chickpeas, along with the water they were cooked in. Add in 1/2 cup of water or as needed. Mix well.

Top left and right: Step 10, Below top right: Step 11, Bottom left: The gravy, after pressure cooking, Bottom right: Step 12

10. Add in the chana masala and jaggery powder. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt and spices.

11. Close the pressure cooker. Allow 2 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

12. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, mix in the finely chopped coriander. Crush the kasoori methi roughly between the palms of your hands and mix it in too. Your One-Pot Kala Chana Masala is ready – serve it with hot with flatbread of your choice or steamed rice.

Is this a vegan and gluten-free recipe?

This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that is vegan as well. It is suitable for those following a plant-based diet.

To make this gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the recipe. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

The home-made chana masala I have used here is vegan and gluten-free as well. However, if you are using a store-bought spice blend, do ensure that the ingredients used therein suit your dietary requirements.

Tips & Tricks

1. You may skip adding the jaggery, though I would personally recommend it. The little amount of jaggery used does not make the Kala Chana Masala sweet, but rounds off the other flavours beautifully.

2. I have used home-made Punjabi chana masala powder here. You may use a store-bought version instead, too.

3. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Kala Chana Masala you require.

4. The chana masala I have used here has some amount of tanginess to it. I have also used the tart ‘Nati‘ (country) tomatoes here as opposed to the ‘farmed’ ones. Hence, I did not need to use lemon juice or any other souring agent. However, if you need to, you may add in some amchoor powder or lemon juice to taste.

5. I have used a large 7.5-litre pressure cooker here.

6. After the cooked chickpeas are added in, you may do away with the pressure cooking. In that case, simply cook uncovered on medium flame for about 5 minutes or till the gravy thickens. I prefer the pressure cooker method, though.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Malai Kulfi| Creamy Kulfi Without Cornflour

Malai Kulfi is an evergreen classic in the world of frozen delicacies. I’m sure the simple dessert has many fans – I’m definitely one of them!

Today, let me share with you all how to make absolutely divine, creamy and delectable Malai Kulfi at home from scratch. The best part – it is made using natural ingredients, with no cornflour, store-bought cream, condensed milk or other processed ingredients. This is how my mom used to make it back when I was a school-going kid, and things like cornflour and condensed milk weren’t big. It’s such a simple thing to make, to be honest, with just the bare minimum of ingredients.

Delectable Malai Kulfi

It’s raining frozen delights at the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Shhhh Cooking Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The theme for this month, suggested by Pavani of Pavani’s Kitchen, is ‘Frozen Delights’. I’m drooling, looking at the gorgeous Easy Oreo Ice Cream that Pavani has created for the theme. I’m soooo trying it out!

For those of you who are interested, I’ll tell you about how the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge works. Every month, the group members are divided into pairs. Each pair then goes on to exchange two ingredients, unknown to the rest of the group. The pair has to use these ‘secret’ ingredients in creating a recipe that fits the theme of the month. Isn’t that super interesting?

I was paired with Narmadha, the warm and bubbly author of Nams Corner, for the month. She suggested I make a frozen food using ‘cardamom’ and ‘rose essence,’ and here I am with this Malai Kulfi recipe! I gave Narmadha ‘sugar’ and ‘raw mango’ as her secret ingredients, and she made these absolutely brilliant Raw Mango Popsicles using them.

How to make Malai Kulfi

Here is how I make it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 litre full-fat milk
  2. 1/3 cup sugar or to taste
  3. 20 cashewnuts
  4. 3/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  5. 4-5 drops of rose essence (optional)
  6. 5-6 almonds for garnishing (optional)
  7. A generous pinch of saffron threads for garnishing (optional)

Method:

1. Take the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame. Allow the milk to come to a boil, which should take about 5-6 minutes.

2. Add the sugar to the pan. Mix well. Reduce flame to low-medium. Allow the sugar to get completely dissolved in the milk. Taste and adjust sugar if needed.

3. Take the cashewnuts in a small mixer jar. Powder them coarsely.

4. Keeping the flame at low-medium, add the coarsely powdered cashewnuts to the milk, stirring constantly.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

5. Continue to cook the milk at low-medium flame for a good 15-20 minutes or till it is well reduced and thick. Stir intermittently. Cream will form on the sides of the pan – scrape it back into the pan with a spatula. When the milk has reduced more than half of its original volume, switch off the gas.

6. Mix in the cardamom powder.

7. Mix in the rose essence, if using.

8. Allow the milk mixture to cool down completely. Now, transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight freezer box. Place in the freezer. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours, after which the Malai Kulfi will be ready. Cut into slices using a knife and serve immediately, garnished with saffron threads and chopped almonds (if using).

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom right and left: Steps 7 and 8

Tips & Tricks

1. Use full-fat milk for best results. I have used Nandini full-cream milk here.

2. The rose essence is optional, but I would highly recommend using it. I think it elevates the appeal of the Malai Kulfi quite a bit. If you are sceptical about using essence, use a 100% natural brand that does not contain any chemicals.

3. I have used cashewnut powder here to thicken the milk. You may use almond powder or cornflour instead.

4. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use as per personal taste preferences.

5. Make sure you use a heavy-bottomed pan to cook the milk.

6. I have used home-made cardamom powder here. I grind a good handful of cardamom to a fine powder, along with the skins, and store it in an air-tight bottle. I use it as required. You may use store-bought cardamom powder instead, too.

7. You may add some finely chopped almonds to the milk, while it is reducing. I have not done so.

8. Make sure the milk mixture has thickened well and it has reduced more than half of its original volume. Only then will the Malai Kulfi be creamy and delicious and set beautifully.

9. Make sure the milk mixture has completely cooled down before you go about freezing it.

10. I have used a simple, air-tight stainless steel box to freeze the Malai Kulfi. You may use a plastic or Tupperware freezer box instead, or use kulfi moulds.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Parangikkai Rasavangi| Pumpkin Rasavangi

Rasavangi‘ is a heritage dish from the state of Tamilnadu, a flavourful gravy that is usually consumed with rice. Today, I’m sharing with you all our family recipe for Parangikkai Rasavangi, or Rasavangi made using red pumpkin.

Parangikkai Rasavangi – a treat to the tastebuds!

History of the Rasavangi

The Rasavangi is believed to have originated in Tanjore, Tamilnadu. The Marathas, who ruled the town of Tanjore for some time, were known for experimenting with locally available ingredients and coming up with several unique dishes of their own. It is said that the Rasavangi is one such dish invented by the Tanjore Marathas. Today, this is quite a common preparation in several Tamil Brahmin homes.

Rasa‘ is Marathi for ‘gravy’ and ‘vangi‘ is ‘brinjal’. Hence, the Rasavangi is a gravy that was traditionally made using brinjals or eggplants (‘kathrikkai‘ in Tamil). However, Rasavangi made using ashgourd or white pumpkin (‘poosanikkai‘ in Tamil) is also quite popular. My grandmother would prepare beautiful Rasavangi using red pumpkin (‘parangikkai‘ in Tamil), and two generations down the line, we continue to do so. The recipe I am sharing today for Parangikkai Rasavangi is my grandmother’s, the way we have learnt it from her.


A closer look at the Parangikkai Rasavangi

Rasavangi is made with a fragrant, freshly ground spice mix – lentils, dry red chillies and coriander seeds roasted till fragrant and then ground with coconut. Along with whatever vegetable you choose to use, there’s toor dal that goes into it, providing body to the gravy. There’s a hint of sweetness from jaggery, tamarind extract souring it. Can you imagine the rich flavours this gravy holds? It’s definitely a treat to the tastebuds, and not very difficult to put together too.

The light sweetness of the red pumpkin is a perfect complement to the coconut, jaggery and tamarind that goes into the gravy, making it a wonderful candidate for Rasavangi. Sometimes, whenever I have been able to get my hands on it, I have used butternut squash in Rasavangi instead of the regular Indian red pumpkin, and it has been a brilliant substitute. Here, though, I have used baby pumpkins that I picked up at Namdhari’s.

Rasavangi turns out so flavourful that is much loved even by people who aren’t fans of eggplant or pumpkin. It’s just a great foil to disguise these veggies, I say! It is a close cousin of the Arachuvitta Sambar, Pavakkai Pitlai and Kootu that are a few other oft-prepared things in Tamilian households. It usually has a thick consistency, thicker than sambar, and is a lovely companion to steamed rice. I know many who love eating Rasavangi with dosa, adai and rotis too.

How to make Parangikkai Rasavangi


Here’s how we make it.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 2 baby red pumpkins, 3 cups when peeled, cleaned and chopped
  2. 1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil
  3. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  4. 1-1/2 tablespoons chana dal
  5. 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  6. 4-5 dry red chillies
  7. 1/2 cup fresh coconut
  8. 1/2 cup toor dal
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. 3/4 to 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  12. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  13. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  14. 2 sprigs of curry leaves

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in boiling water for at least 15 minutes, for it to soften. Let it get cool enough to handle.

2. Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds and strings. Chop into large cubes.

3. Wash the toor dal well under running water. Drain out all the water. Take the washed and drained toor dal in a wide vessel and add in enough fresh water to cover it fully. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Cook on high flame for 7-8 whistles or till the toor dal is completely cooked, soft and mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.

4. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chana dal, dry red chillies and coriander seeds. Turn the flame down to medium. Roast the ingredients till the lentils turn brown and start emitting a lovely aroma. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom left and right: Step 4

5. When the tamarind has completely cooled down, extract all the juice out of it. Use fresh water as needed to help with the process of extraction. I had about 3/4 cup of tamarind extract.

6. When the roasted ingredients have fully cooled down, transfer them to a small mixer jar. Add in the coconut. Grind everything together to a paste, along with about 1/4 cup water.

7. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash the toor dal thoroughly, with a masher.

Top left: Step 5, Top right and below: Step 6, Bottom left and right: Step 7

8. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in the same pan we used earlier for roasting. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida and curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

9. Add the pumpkin cubes to the pan, along with a little salt and the turmeric powder. Mix well and reduce flame to medium.

10. Add in about 1/2 cup of water. Close the pan with a lid.

11. Cook covered on medium flame for about 4 minutes or till the pumpkin is cooked through. Do not make it overly mushy. Open the lid intermittently to check on the pumpkin, and add in more water if needed.

12. At this stage, add in the tamarind extract. Continue to cook, uncovered, on medium flame for 2 more minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

Top right and left: Steps 8 and 9, Bottom left and right: Steps 11 and 12

13. Add in the jaggery, cooked toor dal and the ground coconut paste. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt.

14. Cook uncovered on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the mixture starts thickening. Add in some water if the mixture gets too thick. Switch off gas when the mixture is still a bit runny, as it thickens upon cooling. Your Parangikkai Rasavangi is ready. Serve with steamed rice.

Top left and right, below top right: Step 13, Bottom left: Step 14

Tips & Tricks

  1. I have used baby red pumpkins here, which I picked up from Namdhari’s. Butternut squash goes beautifully in this dish too. You may use the regular, commonly available Indian red pumpkin instead, too.
  2. In case you are using butternut squash, refer to this post to understand how to peel, clean and chop it.
  3. Adjust the amount of jaggery you use as per personal taste preferences. If the pumpkin is very sweet, you may skip adding the jaggery or use very little.
  4. Adjust the quantity of tamarind, dry red chillies and salt as per personal taste preferences.
  5. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Rasavangi you require.
  6. Brinjal (eggplant, ‘kathrikkai‘ in Tamil) or white pumpkin (ash gourd, ‘poosanikkai‘ in Tamil) can be used in place of red pumpkin used in this recipe.
  7. You may pressure cook the pumpkin for one whistle instead of cooking them in a pan like I have done here. Make sure they don’t turn overly mushy.
  8. Some families add black peppercorns and fenugreek seeds to the spices that are roasted and ground. We don’t.
  9. I have used a mix of the very spicy Salem Gundu and the less hot Bydagi dry red chillies here. You may use any variety you prefer.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Pudina Saadam| Mint Rice

Pudina Saadam is a delicious one-pot dish that you can put together within minutes. Considering we are living in very stressful times, meals like this one are life-savers. All you need are a pressure cooker and a few common ingredients.

What is Pudina Saadam?

Pudina Saadam‘ is Tamil for ‘mint rice’. It refers to rice flavoured with fresh mint leaves, along with some spices and other ingredients. The end result is delectable and very refreshing, and is a big favourite with all of us at home.

Like I was saying earlier, this is a pressure-cooker recipe or a one-pot dish that takes just a few minutes to prepare. It is a complete meal in itself, served with some curd or raita of your choice. This makes it a great choice for busy weekday lunches or dinners.

I am aware different people prepare Pudina Saadam in different ways. What I am about to share here is our family recipe, the way we make this dish. It is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation. It can be made gluten-free too, by simply skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. This is because most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

#MintMagic at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I am sharing this recipe in co-ordination with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this Monday is #MintMagic, wherein all of us are showcasing recipes using mint as a major ingredient.

Sasmita of First Timer Cook, who suggested the week’s theme, has a beautiful blog full of interesting recipes. You guys should definitely check it out for some traditional Odia dishes, global bakes and fusion dishes with very interesting twists to them. Sasmita made this lovely Cucumber Mint Lassi for the theme, and it absolutely has me drooling!

How to make Pudina Saadam aka Mint Rice

This is how we go about it

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  3. 1 small onion
  4. 1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces
  5. A small piece of ginger
  6. 1 green chilly or as per taste
  7. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  8. 3/4 tablespoon mustard seeds
  9. 3/4 tablespoon cumin seeds
  10. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  11. Salt to taste
  12. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  13. 3/4 teaspoon garam masala or to taste
  14. Lemon juice to taste (optional)

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and below: Step 2, Bottom left: Step 3, Bottom right: Step 4

1. Wash the mint leaves thoroughly, to remove any dirt from them. Drain out the water from them.

2. Add the washed mint leaves to a small mixer jar. Peel the onion and ginger, chop roughly and add to the mixer jar too. Add in the coconut pieces. Chop the green chilly and add to the mixer jar too. Grind everything together to a smooth paste, with about 1/4 cup water. Keep aside.

3. Wash the rice thoroughly. Drain out all the water.

4. Now, heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the mustard seeds and let them sputter. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.

Top left and right: Step 5, Below top right: Step 6, Bottom left: Step 7, Bottom right: The rice is cooked and ready, before being fluffed up

5. Add the mint paste we ground earlier, to the cooker, as well as the washed and drained rice. Saute on high flame for a minute.

6. Add 3 cups of water to the cooker. Also add in salt to taste, garam masala and turmeric powder. Mix well.

7. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

8. Once the pressure has completely gone down, wait for 7-10 minutes to open the cooker. Then after another 10 minutes or so, gently fluff up the rice. Mix in lemon juice, if using. The Pudina Saadam or Mint Rice is ready. Serve hot with curd, Boondi Raita or any raita of your choice.

Tips & Tricks

  1. I have used Sona Masoori rice here. You may use any type of rice you prefer.
  2. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon how grainy you want the rice to be. Also the quantity of water would depend upon the type of rice you use.
  3. I have used a large 7.5-litre pressure cooker here.
  4. You may allow fewer whistles if you prefer the rice to be grainy. Again this would depend upon the type of rice you use too. The above rice:water ratio and number of whistles work perfectly for us.
  5. I have used a bit of garam masala to add flavour to the rice. Instead, you could use whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise and bay leaves in the tempering.
  6. Wait for the rice to slightly cool down before fluffing it up gently, otherwise the grains might break.
  7. Using lemon juice is optional, but I would highly recommend it. It adds a beautiful flavour to the Pudina Saadam.
  8. Use very fresh mint leaves, for best results.
  9. You may add a few cloves of garlic and some fresh coriander leaves, along with the mint leaves, while grinding. We usually don’t.
  10. Some chana dal can also be added while tempering. I usually skip this.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Vaghareli Khichdi| Gujarati Khichdi Recipe

Khichdi, a soft and mushy rice and lentil dish, is comfort food for many Indians, and that includes me too. There are many different ways of making Khichdi across India, one among them being this Vaghareli Khichdi I’m going to talk about today.

Vaghareli Khichdi or Gujarati Khichdi

What is Vaghareli Khichdi?

Vaghareli Khichdi is commonly prepared in Gujarati households, using rice and split moong beans with the green skin on (chilka moong). These moong beans with skin are considered to be highly nutritious, and so is this khichdi. This one-pot khichdi is a complete meal in itself.

Vaghar‘ in Gujarati refers to ‘tempering’ or ‘tadka‘. ‘Vaghareli Khichdi‘ this refers to a type of Gujarati khichdi which is served with the tempering on top. Mustard and cumin seeds, asafoetida and dry red chillies are tempered in ghee, which then goes atop this khichdi, taking its flavour quotient up by several notches.

Easy to cook and digest, Vaghareli Khichdi aka Gujarati Khichdi is a delicious thing, ideal for when you are feeling down in the dumps physically or mentally. No wonder I have been turning to it quite often lately, when India is reeling under a brutal second wave of the Corona virus, leaving tonnes of grief and heartache in its wake. Sigh!

Vaghareli Khichdi aka Gujarati Khichdi recipe

Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1/2 cup split moong dal with skin (chilka moong)
  3. 1 medium-sized tomato
  4. 1 medium-sized onion
  5. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  6. Salt to taste
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  9. Red chilli powder to taste
  10. 1-1/2 tablespoons ghee
  11. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  12. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  13. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  14. 2-3 dry red chillies
  15. Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
  16. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

Method:

1. Chop the tomato and onion finely. Keep aside.

2. Wash the rice and split moong dal under running water. Drain out all the water. Keep aside.

3. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the onion. Saute on medium flame for about a minute or till the onion starts turning brown.

4. Add in the chopped tomatoes, along with a little water and salt. Cook on medium flame for 1-2 minutes or till the tomatoes turn mushy.

5. Add in the washed and drained rice and moong dal. Saute on medium flame for a few seconds.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom right: Step 4, Bottom left: Step 5

6. Add in 5 cups of water. Also add in salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well.

7. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Turn the flame to high.

8. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally. Wait for 5-7 minutes to open the cooker, then gently fluff up the rice. If you want the khichdi to be more runny, add in 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then, switch off gas.

9. Mix in the lemon juice (if using) and finely chopped coriander.

10. Heat the ghee in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Now add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida and dry red chillies. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Now add this tempering to the rice and mix well. Your Vaghareli Khichdi is ready. Serve hot with curd/raita.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Below top right: Step 8, Bottom right: Step 9, Bottom left: Step 10

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used Sona Masoori rice here. You may use any variety of rice that you prefer.

2. You may omit the onion if you do not want to use it.

3. Adjust the quantity of garam masala depending upon personal taste preferences. The same goes for red chilli powder. You may use slit green chillies instead of the red chilli powder.

4. You may substitute the garam masala with whole spices used in the tempering – cinnamon, cloves, whole black pepper, bay leaves and the like.

5. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the khichdi you require.

6. If you don’t have chilka moong, you may use regular split moong dal instead. However, chilka moong is the specialty of this khichdi.

7. You may add some finely chopped garlic to the tempering, too. A pinch of red chilli powder can be added too. Here I have not used either of these ingredients.

8. The lemon juice is optional, but I love using it. It adds a beautiful light tanginess and oodles of flavour to the khichdi.

9. I have used a large 7-1/2 litre pressure cooker to make this khichdi.

10. This is a vegetarian recipe, but NOT vegan or plant-based because of the use of ghee. If you want to make this khichdi vegan, please skip the ghee used in the tempering and use oil instead.

11. If you want to make gluten-free Vaghareli Khichdi, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, hence, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!