Palak Khichdi 

A spoonful of health and flavour…

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This humble old recipe is every Indian mothers answer when someone in the house says they are feeling under the weather. 

Traditionally defined as bland, boring but healthy. Khichdi is made from lentils, rice, turmeric and a bit of salt. As a child I labelled this dish ‘bimaaron ka khaana’ i.e. ‘ill people’s meal’. I never wanted to eat it and you wouldn’t blame me! 

Today Khichdi and I are good friends. What changed? Well Khichdi became a little more glamorous. Different spices and veggies have elevated this dish and put it at par with risotto from Italy or paella from Spain. All Khichdi is missing now is an exotic name.

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Ingredients: 14  Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 250 gms of rice
  • 250 gms of yellow split peas (channa dal)
  • 500 ml of spinach puree
  • One brown onion, finely chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One large cinnamon stick
  • Six to eight cloves
  • One to two blades of mace
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon coriander powder
  • One teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • One tablespoon butter
  • Salt to season 
  • Fresh lemon for garnish 

Begin by washing the rice and lentils thoroughly. Soak them for about 15-20 minutes before cooking.

In a heavy-set pot, melt butter. Add mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves and mace. Mace gives this dish a subtle peppery flavour and goes really well with any rice dish. If you can’t find mace you can use half a teaspoon of grounded nutmeg, but add it along with other powdered spices later in the dish.

Once aromatic add onion and garlic. Cook on a medium heat for five to seven minutes or until the onion is lightly browned.

Drain the rice and lentils and add them to the onion mixture. Now add garam masala, coriander powder and nutmeg if using it. Mix well, evenly coating all the ingredients.

Finally add the spinach pureè, about four cups of water and season with salt as desired. Cover the pot with a lid and let the Khichdi simmer on a low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Whilst Khichdi is simmering remember to stir it occasionally so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Your lip smackingly delicious Khichdi is ready to be served. I have served it with a side of crispy cumin potatoes and garnished it with a wedge of lemon. Here’s to health and happiness in every bite of life!!!

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Vegetable Pulao

Happy New Year…

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 I am a little bit late but as they say better late than never. Here’s wishing all you gorgeous people out there a very happy, healthy and proposerous new year. 

If you are anything like me you’ve probably already broken your New Years ‘eating healthy’ and ‘losing weight resolution. After all #yolo, so just eat those carbs. The key to a healthy lifestyle is not going without anything but having everything in moderation.

Today’s recipe is one that is cooked and savoured in every Indian home. It proudly embraces carbs, veggies and is packed with loads of flavour. An easy weeknight meal or lazy weekend lunch, a vegetable pulao perfectly lends itself to any occasion. It’s also a fuss free dish as you can use any vegetables fresh or frozen and the dish will still taste amazeballs!

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Ingredients:  12    Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Two cups of basmati rice
  • Half a cauliflower, cut into florets
  • One cup peas
  • One cup of carrots, sliced
  • Two tomatoes, finely chopped
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • One large bayleaf
  • One large cinnamon stick
  • Five to six cloves
  • 1.5 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 1.5 tablespoons of ghee
  • Salt to season

Begin by thoroughly rinsing basmati rice. Let them soak for about 15-20 mintues prior to cooking. Then cook the rice, ensuring not to overcook them.

In another heavy bottom saucepan heat and melt ghee. Add bay leaf, cinnamon and cloves. Once aromatic add sliced onions and cook on a medium heat for five to seven minutes, until caramelised.

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Now add chopped tomatoes and mix the ingredients well. Add garam masala, stir well and cook until tomatoes are soft.   

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Toss the vegetables through the onion tomato paste. Season with salt and cook until vegetables are slightly tender. Personally I prefer them to be slightly crunchy, it gives the dish a great texture.  

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Now add cooked rice and gently toss them through. Your lip smackingly delicious vegetable pulao is ready to serve. Serve it hot along with a cooling cucumber raita (raita recipe can be found here )

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