Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bangladeshi Eid Recipes Incoming



Khichuri - the big yellow bowl of rice, accompanying
spicy duck, deep fried fish and tomato salad.
Dinner at my Nani's in Dhaka

Khichuri is great. A dish of lightly spiced yellow rice, it can easily be morphed from comfort food to something fancier for a dinner party. As the former our family has always cooked it mushy and watery, often with a few vegetables thrown in to make it "healthy". The variety served at dinner parties is usually drier, and tends to be cooked with a more complex spice combination. I decided it would be the carb entry for my Eid menu, so be aware that the amounts below are enough for 6 to 8 people. Why I cooked so much I don't know, given there were only 3 of us in the house! 

I've kept things simple in the recipe below, as while I like my khichuri I don't want it to overpower whatever dish it's meant to accompany. Khichuri has a few items its traditionally served with - think spicy chilli-onion omelettes and fried aubergine. Even more well known is the idea that it should be served with beef, on a rainy day during the monsoon season. Do what you want of course, though my personal opinion is that khichuri works best with spicier food, whereas polao is best for the mild.

  • 250.00 g of basmati rice
  • 200.00 g of yellow mung beans
  • 1.00 teaspoon of ginger paste
  • 1.00 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1.00 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 4.00 cups of boiling water
  • 2.00 cm of cinnamon, split into half lengthwise
  • 2 or 3 cardamoms 
  • 2.00 green chillies 
  • Salt, to taste

  • Heat some oil in a large non-stick pot
  • Mix the chilli and turmeric with two teaspoons of boiling water, and add to the pan along with the fresh chillies 

Powdered chilli, turmeric and fresh chillies frying

  • With the heat on medium-low, stir the spices into the oil and fry for 6-7 minutes, adding boiling water by the teaspoon when necessary to prevent the mixture from drying out
  • Wash the rice and mung beans, and transfer to the pot along with the 4.00 cups of boiling water

All the ingredients in the pot, ready for the cover to go on

  • Turn the heat up to medium-high to bring the dish to boil, all the while stirring the spices through the rice
  • Once the water is boiling, add the cinnamon and cardamom
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover partially and let cook until the rice and the mung beans are done
  • Typically this takes 20 to 30 minutes for a "drier" khichuri - the rice cooks fast, but the mung beans take longer to boil and break down
  • Add some water during the cooking process if you feel that it's dried up to quickly, or indeed use extra water deliberately if you want a mushier variety of the dish

Additional Info:
Throw in a few vegetables after the water has started boiling - perhaps carrots, peas and even cauliflower. Time it properly if you want the veggies to remain firm, or leave to go completely soft with the khichuri if you want to be traditional. And a note on the turmeric - the amount needed really depends on the quality of what you're using. If I had the fresh turmeric my family usually hauls in from our village, I wouldn't expect to even need a whole teaspoon. Finding how much works for you will be a trial and error experience based on your local stockist or supermarket brand.

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