Khichdi (pronounced [ˈkʰɪtʃɽi]), is a dish from the Indian subcontinent made from rice and lentils (dal), but other variations include bajra and mung dal kichri. In Indian culture, it is considered one of the first solid foods that babies eat. Hindus, who avoid eating grains during fasting, eat Sabudana Khichadi made from sago. Kichri is a salty porridge. Dalia is another similar sweet porridge made from the crushed wheat or barley mixed with sugar and milk. It was the inspiration for the Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree.
|Alternative names||Khichri, khichadi, khichdee, khichadi, khichuri (Bengali), khisiri (Assamese), khechidi (Odia), kisuri (Sylheti), khichari, kitcheree, kitchree|
|Region or state||Indian Subcontinent|
|Associated national cuisine||Nepal|
|Main ingredients||Rice, lentils, spices|
Etymology and spelling
The term khichdi (Khicṛī) (Urdu: کھچڑی) is derived from Sanskrit खिच्चा khiccā, a dish of rice and legumes.
Some divergence of transliteration may be noted in the third consonant in the word khicṛī. The sound is the retroflex flap [ɽ], which is written in Hindi with the Devanagari letter ड़, and in Urdu script with the Perso-Arabic letter ڑ.
The Greek king Seleucus during his campaign in India (305-303 BC), mentioned that rice with pulses is very popular among people of the Indian subcontinent. The Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta mentions kishri as a dish in India composed of rice and mung beans, during his stay around 1350. Khichdi is described in the writings of Afanasiy Nikitin, a Russian adventurer who travelled to the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century. It was very popular with the Mughals, especially Jahangir. Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th-century document, written by Mughal Emperor Akbar's vizier, Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, mentions the recipe for khichdi, which gives seven variations. There is an anecdotal story featuring Akbar, Birbal and khichdi.
Khichdi is a very popular dish across the Indian subcontinent, including in Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan also. The dish is widely prepared in many Indian states, such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Maharashtra. Vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, and green peas are commonly added. A popular variant in coastal Maharashtra is made with prawns. Khichdi is also a favourite comfort food, owing to the convenience of being able to cook the dish in a single simmering pot.
In Bengal, the dish is known as Bengali: খিচুড়ী, khichuri, Sylheti: ꠈꠤꠌꠥꠞꠤ kisuri, and is considered a rich gourmet delicacy. Often seasoned with ghee (clarified butter) and achaar (oil-based pickle), it is accompanied with meat curries, fish, potato chops, eggplants, and omelettes. The rice is commonly cooked and served on rainy days. It is a staple for holy ceremonies and as an offering to gods.
Cooks and homemakers often prepare this dish with many ingredients mixed with it. That is one of the reasons the idiom joga khichuri (জগা খিচুড়ী) is used in Bangla to mean "a mess".
A stickier version of the rice is traditionally served to children and sick people. It is the first solid to which babies are introduced. Rice and lentils are simmered till mushy, seasoned with turmeric and salt, and fed to infants to introduce them to "adult" food. The elderly and sick, especially those having stomach problems, are served with the rice as it is easily digestible compared to other dishes which involve more meat and spices.
During Ramadan, Muslims in the city of Sylhet in Bangladesh, and Sylheti diaspora in countries such as the United Kingdom and United States break their fast with kisuri, and it is a notable delicacy to eat during the holy month by the Sylheti people.
Khichdi is also very popular in Bihar. It is made with rice, dal, and garam masala, cooked into a semipaste like consistency and eaten with ghee, baigan ka bharta, aaloo ka bharta (mashed potato with onions, green chilli, salt, and mustard oil), tomato chutney (blanched tomato, onion, green chilli, grated ginger and mustard oil), pāpaṛ, tilori (a fried snack), and mango pickle. It is customarily eaten every Saturday in Bihar, and also at dinner during Makar Sankranti. A popular variation in khichdi in winter is the addition of cauliflower and green peas.
Khichdi is a very popular dish of Gujarat. It is served with special kadhi and addon dishes such as Surati undhia and ringan no oro.
Khichdi is also served in various flavor such as Sadi Khichdi, Masala Khichdi, Swaminarayan Khichdi etc.
In particular, it is a staple food (and daily diet) for most of the agrarian communities such as Patels.
In Bharuch district, Gujarat, khichdi is rice and mung dal cooked with turmeric to make it yellow, served mixed with kadhi, a thin soup made from gram flour and curd, curry leaves, cumin, and mustard seeds, and eaten as an evening meal.
Khichari is the traditional diet and a daily meal of Kutchi people, and they make several varieties of dishes using khichari. Khichdi, when well cooked with a little oil, is considered a light and nutritious dish, and is especially popular amongst many who follow an ayurvedic diet or natural cure.
Kichadi is a popular traditional staple in Haryana, specially in the rural areas. Haryanvi kichri is made from pearl millet and mung dal (split mung bean) pounded in mortar (unkhal), and often eaten by mixing with warm ghee or lassi, or even yogurt. Sometimes, jowar is also mixed with bajra and mung dal. Kichri is salty and dalia is another similar sweet porridge made from the crushed wheat or barley mixed with sugar and milk.
Khechidi is very popular in Odisha. The varieties of khechidi in Odisha include adahengu khechidi (ginger-asafoetida khichdi), moong dal khichdi, etc. Adahengu khechidi is a popular dish in the Jagannath Temple, as well. At home, moong dal khechidi and other khechidis are served with pampad, pickle, curd, aaloo bharta, or baigan bharta, raita, dalma, and chutney.
Bisi bele bath, hot lentil rice, is a famous variant of khichdi from Karnataka, a state in southern India. Pongal, a dish similar to khichdi, is popular in southern India, primarily in Tamil Nadu. It is primarily made of rice and lentils, and seasoned with black pepper, cumin, and cashews.
The Hyderabadi Muslim community, of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, in present-day Telangana, Marathwada, and Hyderabad-Karnataka regions, make khichdi as a common breakfast dish, and is an important part of Hyderabadi cuisine. The dish is called khichdi, kheema, khatta, or other switch-around versions of the previous, named after the three parts of the meal,kKhichdi, ground beef, and a sour sauce, made of tamarind and sesame. The dish is commonly eaten with an omelet, as well.
In Pakistan, khichri (Urdu: کھچڑی) is prepared with rice and pulses or lentils and has salt as condiment. It could also have baghaar, where fried onion is added to it. Khichri is popular food for babies between 4 and 6 months when they start eating solid food, since it is soft and has no spices. People with an upset stomach also prefer khichri since it has no spices.
Khichri is a common and easy-to-prepare meal enjoyed in the Indian and also extending to growing numbers of Fijian communities. It is prepared by frying rice, lentils, masala, salt, onions, garlic, and often cubes of potatoes and ghee, and then adding water to boil it until cooked. It is consumed on its own or sometimes with pickles and chutney. The term khichri is referred to in a figure of speech common in the Indian communities "birbal ke khicri kab pakegi" (translated as "how long will it take to cook the khichri?'). This a reference to a folk tale where Birbal in a battle of wits with King Akbar, was challenged to cook khichri in a pot which was placed 20 m above the flame, so as to illustrate the amount of time it would take for someone to "complete a task".
Khichra and khichdi
National dish controversy
In 2017, Indian media unofficially designated it as the "national dish", as it is being globally promoted by the government of India as "queen of all foods". The report that the government may designate khichadi as India's "national dish" brought significant ridicule from the opposition politicians.
However, India's Minister of Food Processing Industries Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal clarified that while Khichdi is considered nutritious and healthy food in India, the government did not have any plans to designate a national food.
In popular culture
Khichdi has lent its name to media synonymous with ensembles or potpourri as depicted in the popular culture through movies such as Khichdi: The Movie, and TV sitcoms such as Khichdi (franchise), Khichdi (TV series), and Instant Khichdi.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Khichdi.|
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- Koshary, a similar Egyptian dish
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