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Sweet & Sour Carrot Khichdi

March 22, 2010

You’ve probably figured out by now that I have a special fondness for sour things. My theory is that sourness is a diplomatic taste: it mediates very successfully between contradictory tastes like sweet and spicy, and brings them together on the tongue.

There are many sour ingredients used in South Asian cooking, but my favourite is definitely Amchur. It is made by powdering dried raw mangoes, and is probably the easiest sour ingredient to use. Just sprinkle over any curry to instantly add smoky depth and piquancy.

I found this funny pack of Amchur in a neighbourhood store. This one little packet is a cultural train smash: it is an Indian spice, made in Trinidad, with the picture of an Indian Chief on it! I had to bite my tongue to resist the temptation of saying, “NOT THAT KIND OF INDIAN!!”

I used Amchur today to make my own version of Khichdi: an extremely comforting hotchpotch of rice, lentils and vegetables. There are many different kinds of Khichdi and each home has its own recipe. But they are always simple, with very few spices. Mine is a little unconventional in that it is sweet & sour. The recipe follows:

खट्टी मीठी गाजर खिचड़ी | Sweet & Sour Carrot Khichdi
To serve two, you need:
1/2 cup of Rice (washed)
1/2 cup of Brown Lentils, or Masoor Dal (soaked for an hour in warm water)
1 large Carrot, sliced into rounds.
3 tsp of Sugar
1 tsp of Amchur
1 tsp of Cumin seeds, or Jeera
3/4 tsp of Chilli Powder
A pinch of Turmeric Salt to taste
You can make Khichdi in a covered pot, or a pressure cooker. Either way, the procedure is the same.

1. Heat some oil, and add the Cumin seeds. Wait for a few seconds, and add the Sugar.

2. Stir the Sugar, till it starts to brown. The idea is to caramellise it slightly. Now add in the Turmeric powder and Chilli powder.

3. Drop in the Carrots, and add the salt. Stir it for a minute or so.

4. Add the Amchur and stir, letting the spices coat the Carrots.

5. Now add the Rice and Lentils and stir for about two minutes.

6. Pour in 2.5 cups of water. Pour the water in all at once, or the hot oil might splutter and scald you.

7. If you’re using a pressure cooker, give it about 5 whistles.

8. In a covered pot, you will have to let it cook for at least 25 minutes. At the end of that time, check if the lentils are cooked through. If not, add a little water, and cook for a few more minutes.

The final result should be a loose, wet hotchpotch that requires minimal chewing. Khichdi is best eaten warm, and according to me potato chips are the best accompaniment. A little yogurt or sour cream on the side is all you need for a complete meal!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2010 10:25 pm

    Just because you’re showing off your amazing cooking skills, it doesn’t mean you should do the same with your photography. What hubris!

  2. Akhila permalink
    March 23, 2010 8:41 am

    I am trying this out TONIGHT!!!!!!

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