|Alternative names||Khichri, Khichadi, Khichdee, Khichadi, Khichuri (Bengali), Khisiri (Assamese), Khechidi (Odia), Kisuri (Sylheti), Khichari, Kitcheree, Kitchree|
|Place of origin||Indian Subcontinent|
|Region or state||Indian Subcontinent|
|Associated national cuisine||India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal|
|Main ingredients||Rice, lentils, spices|
Khichdi (pronounced [ˈkʰɪtʃɽi]), or khichri, 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. Khichdi was the inspiration for the Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree.
Etymology and spelling
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.
In Hindi-Urdu phonology, the etymological origin of the retroflex flap was /ɖ/ when it occurred between vowels. Hence in Devanagari the letter ड, representing /ɖ/, was adapted to write /ɽ/ by adding a diacritic under it. In Urdu script, the phonological quality of the flap was represented by adapting the letter ر, representing /r/, with a diacritic added above it to indicate the retroflex quality.
Although in IAST the Hindi letter ड़ is transliterated as <ṛ>, popular or nonstandard transliterations of Hindi use <d> for this sound, because etymologically it derives from ड /ɖ/. The occurrence of this consonant in the word khicṛī has given rise to two alternative spellings in English: khichdi, which reflects its etymology, and khichri, which reflects its phonology.
The Greek ambassador of Seleucus 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 circa 1350. Khichdi is described in the writings of Afanasiy Nikitin, a Russian adventurer who travelled to the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century. Khichdi 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 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, similar to haleem, is traditionally served to children and sick people. It is the first solid that babies are introduced to. 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 semi-paste like consistency and eaten with lots of 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 customary to eat khichdi every Saturday in Bihar, and also at dinner during Makar Sankranti. A popular variation in khichdi in the winter months is the addition of cauliflower and green peas.
Khichdi is a very popular dish of Gujarat. It is served with special kadhi and adon dishes such as Surati undhia and ringan na ravaiya.
In particular, it is a staple food (and daily diet) for most of agrarian communities such as Patels.
In Bharuch district, Gujarat, khichdi is rice cooked with turmeric to make it yellow, served mixed with kadhi, a thin sauce made from gram flour, 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 can 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 nature cure.
Kichadi is a popular traditional staple in Haryana, specially in the rural areas. Haryanvi kichri is made from bajra 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 Mong 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. There are varieties of khechidi in Odisha like 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, Khichdi, Ground beef, and a sour sauce, made of tamarind and sesame. The Dish is commonly eaten with an omelete as well.
In Pakistan, Khichri (Urdu: کھچڑی) is prepared with rice and pulse or lentil and has salt as condiment. Khichri could also have Baghaar where fried onion is added to the Khichri. 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 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. The Khicri 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 metres above the flame, so as to illustrate the amount of time it would take for someone to "complete a task"
Khichra and khichdi
Khichadi as India's "National Dish"
Recently the Indian media unofficially designated it as the National Dish and it is being globally promoted by the Government of India as "queen of all foods". India's Minister of Food Processing Industries Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, "Khichdi is considered nutritious, healthiest food in India, and it is eaten by poor and rich alike, irrespective of their class. It symbolises India's great culture of unity in diversity. So it has been selected as the brand of Indian food." Under the wider plan to popularize and promote Indian cuisines internationally and to provide opportunities for both investment and trade in the food processing sector for leading Indian and international companies, the government plans includes popularisation of the brand India Khichdi and recipe in restaurant and kitchens throughout the world by Indian Foreign Missions. India Khichdi recipe includes rice, moong beans, amaranth, jowar, bajra, barley and Indian spices.
The report that the government may designate Khichadi as India's "National Dish" brought significant ridicule from the opposition politicians. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, wrote. “Do we have to stand every time we see it being eaten? Is it compulsory to eat before a movie? Is it anti-national to not like the stuff?,” The Union Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal clarified that there was never such a plan.
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.|
- Kushari, the Egyptian equivalent
- Congee, a type of rice porridge eaten in many Asian countries
- Kedgeree, the Anglo-Indian version
- Pongal in Tamilnadu
- Kichadi, a side dish in Kerala Cuisine
- Bisi Bele Bath, a similar dish in Karnataka with vegetables added
- Hetal of MasterChef U.S. season 6
- Sean Williams, 2015, "The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook, Volume II: Complete Meals from around the world", Routledge Taylor & Francis group, page 37.
- Uma Aggarwal, 2009, "The Exquisite World of Indian Cuisine, Allied Publications, page 106.
- Charmaine O' Brien, 2013, "The Penguin Food Guide to India", Penguin Books Penguin Books.
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- "Hyderabadi Brunch: Khichdi Khatta Kheema". talkistania. 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
- "My Kitchen's Aroma: Khichdi Keema Khatta". mykitchenaroma.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
- "Government to designate 'khichdi' as national dish", Business Standard, 1 November 2017.
- "'Fictitious' Says Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Khichdi Won't be the National Dish", NDTV, 1 November 2017.
- Nothing cooking: Khichdi not national dish, says minister after Twitter storm, Hindustan Times. 2 November 2017.
- Khichdi not national food, clarifies Harsimrat Kaur Badal. 2 November 2017.
- IN PRAISE OF KHICHDI. Daily Pioneer. 6 November 2017.