When you are going through a deep personal crisis, it is almost impossible to find your creative self or write. Alexa says that we have been neglecting the website for the last couple of weeks. Hence, this post is necessary but I am finding it impossible to write anything. Durga Puja holds such a special place in our hearts. Bengalis everywhere look forward to these five days of festivities. Celebrations also mean a whole range of food being prepared at home, community eating and dining out. Last year, there were severe covid restrictions. So I reckon, this year there would be revenge eating out. Ma’er bhoger khichuri, as usual, will be the high point during these days.
What is Bengali Durga Puja Bhoger Khichuri?
‘Bhog’ means the plate of food that is offered to the goddess during the puja days. Now it is a medley of several dishes, both vegetarian and fish or prawns that Ma Durga and her children have. Khichuri forms an integral part of this meal. And everything else is a side dish. Somedays, of course, there is pulao instead of khichuri. This particular khichuri has almost earned its GI tag. It is no ordinary khichdi. Moong dal is roasted and cooked with short-grained rice with a bouquet of whole spices and plenty of vegetables too. Literally bathed in ghee, Bengali bhoger khichuri is a treat for the palate.
In case you love reading more about Durga Puja and love reading about it, then check out this photostory on elements of Durga Puja
Bhoger khichuri and labra are a match made in heaven. Traditionally, it is slow-cooked but Bengali bhoger khichuri in a pressure cooker is also a possibility. In fact, many do it but I prefer the slow-cooked method for perfection. Bengali style bhoger khichuri is also niramish khichuri. It means that this recipe doesn’t have the use of onions and garlic.
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Sides offered with Bengali Durga Puja Khichuri
Bhoger khichuri is incomplete without the following sides:
- Panch rokom’er bhaja (five kinds of vegetable fritters/fries)
- Labra – a mish-mash of several vegetables cooked with fragrant spices.
- Tomato khejur ammshotter chutney (tomato chutney with dates and mango leather)
- Other than the above, you can also have dalna gravy, or papad.
- Payesh or rice kheer comes in the end.
Bengali Garam Masala is an essential ingredient for making khichuri. Here’s how you make it – Link
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Bhoger Khichuri | Durga Puja Khichuri | Bengali Bhog'er Khichuri
- 1 cup gobindobhog rice or any fragrant short-grained rice
- 1 cup moong dal yellow split gram/ yellow lentil
- 1 medium-sized cauliflower
- 3 medium-sized potatoes
- ½ a coconut
- 1 cup green peas
- 2 dried bayleaf
- 2 dried red chilies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
- 2.5 lts Boiling water
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp Bengali garam masala Link in the post
- 3 tbsp mustard oil
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 2-3 nos green chilies
- salt to taste
- Dry roast the moong dal in a wok or a frying pan over medium heat. While roasting, stir continuously so that nothing burns and it roasts evenly. Some will of course be a little extra red.
- Once they have turned red and some golden, take them off the heat and transfer them to another container. Let the moong dal cool down completely. Once the dal has cooled down, thoroughly wash under running water and set aside.
- Wash the rice under running water, three to four times and then drain off all the water and set it aside.
- Remove the stalks from the cauliflower and cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into large quarters or halves.
- Wash the potatoes and the cauliflowers under running water.
- Cut the coconut flesh into thin strips, each one cm long.
- Wash the green peas and set them aside.
- In a large saucepan, keep 2 to 2.5 ltrs of boiling water on simmer ready to use.
- Now take a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil.
- Slide in the potatoes and gently brown the potatoes. Cover and cook for three to four minutes also.
- Take the potatoes out of the oil and set them aside.
- In the same oil, fry the cauliflower florets. Sprinkle a little bit of salt so that the cauliflower cooks faster.
- In the case of the cauliflower florets, they need to be completely cooked and golden brown.
- Take them out of the oil and set them aside. In the same oil, fry the coconut pieces and keep them for later use.
- Add one more tbsp of mustard oil and 1 tbsp of ghee to the same pan.
- When the oil and ghee are hot, add dried red chilies and dried bay leaf.
- Stir fry them and then add cumin seeds.
- When the cumin seeds have turned brown (not burnt), add the freshly grated ginger to this and fry it for a few seconds.
- Add the moong dal and fry the moong dal in the ghee over medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- Then add the turmeric powder and continue frying. Season with salt too.
- Then add the gobindobhog rice. Fry the rice and dal over high heat now for a couple of minutes.
- Add the potatoes and fry once more. Add half a litre of hot water to this.
- Using a spatula, bring everything together. Make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add 1 tsp of sugar to this and stir. Add more salt if needed. Then mix it once and cover and let it cook over low heat for a few minutes or until the khichuri has soaked up the water.
- Uncover and add more hot water, stir for a few seconds and again, cover and cook over low heat.
- Continue this process, till the rice and the dal have cooked but are holding shape.
- Some of the dal can become mushy and that's all right.
- Midway through the process, add the coconut and the green peas. Stir and mix together.
- Once the rice and dal have almost cooked, add more water and over medium heat, keep stirring so that the creamy consistency is there.
- Finally add garam masala and ghee. Adjust the seasoning and add more sugar if needed.
- Add the fried cauliflower florets. Add split green chilies and drizzle plenty of ghee.
- The consistency of this khichuri is like risotto and should be slow-cooked for perfect results.
- Serve with labra and five kinds of bhaja.