Make a khichri of it | Cover Story | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Dying to get in
    July 13, 2013
    At its AGM held on June 29, 2008 it was resolved to put a 5-year freeze on membership applications at Bangalore's most coveted club, the…
  • Still happening
    July 13, 2013
    The govt last year extended the club's lease up to 2050.
  • Mission admission
    July 13, 2013
    The news of a member stumping up over a crore for entry to Mumbai’s Breach Candy club only proves that the allure of private clubs still holds…
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
SIMPLY FOOD

Make a khichri of it

|



Khichri? Yuck. That's the standard response to the most maligned dish in the subcontinent. Its mention evokes images of invalids and upset stomachs. It's a synonym for an inelegant mish-mash, an unappetising jumble.

A ragtag political coalition is deemed to be a 'khichri government'. 'Khichri English' -English larded with vernacularisms - is sniffed at by purists. A potboiler of a movie, or other form of alleged entertainment (like this column) is dismissed as a 'khichri'. Thanks to Barack Obama's Af-Pak policy, the world is likely to end up in a mess, another nickname for khichri.

With so many less than savoury associations, it's understandable that the inoffensive khichri should have earned itself a bad name. Come to dinner;we'll have khichri, I say to friends. The recipients of the offer look offended. Do we look ill to you? We've never felt fitter, they protest. I try to explain that a Suraiya khichri is not an aid to convalescence, but a dish truly dishy.

My guests turn up on the appointed day, though in some trepidation. And to a silent fanfare playing in the background, I uncover the khichri. A scented melody rises from the dekchi, a fragrance of basmati, and cinnamon, and cloves, and cardamom, and peppercorns, and bay leaves. From a bed of fluffy rice flushed pale gold with dal peep whole onions translucent as pearls, peas green and sensual as parrots, carrots in an exuberance of crimson, chunks of potatoes hearty as friendship, and florets of cauliflower crisp and tender as a caress of winter sun. It's not to die for. It's to be born again for.

Does this Suraiya have no shame? you'll ask. Blowing his own trumpet - or rather, that of his wretched khichri - so brazenly? But that's just it, you see. It's not my khichri. For I can't make it. It was the invention of dear old Pingola, the much-loved major domoress who ran the household for us for some 30-odd years before departing, much missed, to that Ultimate Rasoighar in the sky.

Sans Pingola, I resigned myself to my khichriless fate. My friend Roopa Gulati - the celebrated chef - claimed she did a wicked khichri, which with a delectable lisp she pronounced 'khichwi'. But though Roopa feasted me on mince pies, honey glazed ham and other yummies too numerous to mention, she never did unleash her khichwi on me. And now that she's taken up residence in London, it's unlikely she ever will.

Then came Mukesh - originally to look after the dog - who one day confided that he could cook. Cook what? I asked. Khichri, replied Mukesh. Describe your khichri to me, I said. He did. And it was as though Pingola had returned, in the improbable avatar of a chubby 26-year-old dog-boy. I still don't believe in the transmigration of souls. But the transmigration of khichri is a different matter. The proof of the khichri, however, is in the eating. So find alongside the recipe for Pingola's khichri, as reprised by Mukesh.
And when you make a thorough muck up of it - which you will - holler for Mukesh to come do it right. Which is what I do in the first place. Maybe Obama should as well.

Reader's opinion (2)

Nawaz AhmedApr 9th, 2011 at 16:52 PM

The Khichri my mother made was of Zeeraksamba rice with onions and moong daal with a dash of turmeric. We would relish it with a dollop of pure ghee and tomato khatta, along with papad. This I preferred more than Biryani even though it was more tastier than all the hyderabadi and other versions

niraj.pant Jan 1st, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Khichri reminds of childhood--from granny when I was ailing or from mother when she was ailing--naturally we didn't relish it till Curd, Radish, Ghee and Pickle also came along. Shahi Khichri--full of dry fruits in ship to Antarctica and Jaula-cooked with sour curd are other recipes to remember.

 
Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service