Unfortunately more often than not good and wholesome is also sorely lacking in taste. For the past two months we’ve been following a diet that has been good and wholesome – fatless, sugarless, saltless and unfortunately often tasteless. Of course this has led to a cumulative weight loss of at least 15 kilos ( for the entire family) but has also led to severe cravings to eat something good and wholesome and simultaneously YUM.
|Fada and whipped yogurt|
Returning home from a day out on our “farm” I had this absolute urge to eat something different, something wholesome, something specially meant for a chilly February evening. So I thought of rustling up some “Fada nu Khichada” or a vegetarian wheat based khichadi, my all time favourite at the iconic eatery SWATI in downtown Mumbai famous for its “snakes” . Khichada is a mix of rice and lentil and was normally served in my home while growing up, on wet rainy days or when the tummy sorely needed some special care.
So I took 2/3 cup broken wheat, 1/3 cup moong dal and washed them together and let them soak for around 5 minutes. While they were soaking, I peeled a potato and cut half of it into tiny wedges, chopped half a tomato into small wedges, and cut up two florets of cauliflower into tiny pieces and cut four French beans into tiny pieces.
I added 1 tablespoon of ghee in a pressure pan and let it heat up on high heat taking care not to burn it. When it was hot, I added 1 green cardamom, 1/2 ” piece of cinnamon, 4 cloves and 4 pepper corns. To this I added a pinch of asafetida 1/4 tspn each of turmeric and red chilli powder. Then I drained off the water and added the broken wheat and dal to the spice mix sizzling in the pan. I sauted it for a bit and then added the vegetables and continued sauteing for another minute or so taking care not to scald it. To this I added 1/2 a cup of whipped curd, 1/2 tspn salt and 1 1/2 cups of water to cook the khichada. Khichada is gooey and well cooked so it needs more water than normal i.e. the total quantity of liquid should be twice that of the dry ingredients. I added some salt, put on the lid and the pressure and allowed it to cook for 4 whistles.
I am now going to eat it with whipped curd over which I poured some red chilli powder in hot ghee and perhaps a deep fried udid dal papad to provide the crunch…………..
If this is not wholesome and yum, I wonder what is!
If you allow the wheat and dal to soak for longer, you will have to cook it for less whistles ( 3) and you can reduce the quantity of water as well. Khichada starts drying up as it cools down so you may have to add some more water just before serving ( and of course heat it up!) to make it gooey