Bengali Khichuri | Bhaja Muger Dal Khichuri | Bhoger Khichuri
Driving back home from a meeting at 2 pm, I saw the skies go through a Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation. Bright and sunny gave way to a dark shade of grey. Continuous claps of thunder provided the background music to the drama in the sky. Having left home at 7 in the morning, without even a cup of tea, I was ravenous. With the impending heavy downpour, all I could think of was….not maggi, not pakoras, but a warming pot of khichdi that I could tuck into along with some papad or aloo bhaja or both.
While I prepare khichdi with all manner of combinations of grains and pulses, the classic one of course is that of rice + mung dal.
Did you know that rice and dal, are both incomplete proteins as they lack one or the other essential amino acids. But combine them together, and they provide all essential amino acids, making it a vegan source of complete protein. It is a one pot balanced meal in the truest sense of the word.
In my short stint as a PG, one of my roommates was from Assam and she would make this divine khichuri in the pressure cooker. The aroma of bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and sometimes the extra smattering of panch phoron would whet the appetite for a humble yet filling dinner after a long day’s work. All you need is dahi or some store-bought pickle with this khichdi and you can feel right at home anywhere in the world.
Check out another such one pot dish – Dal Khichdi, a comfort food
Bhaja muger dal khichuri is typically prepared as a bhog (prasad / offering) during Durga Puja celebrated by Bengalis, on Saraswati Pujo day or as an Astamir Bhog (on Durgasthami).
The Bengali khichuri thus prepared as offering is prepared ‘niramish’, which means a strictly vegetarian dish from which even onion and garlic is excluded. If you are not preparing this for the festive offering, then go ahead and add sliced onions for extra flavour. I have added chopped potatoes with skin and julienned green beans. You can also add green peas and cauliflower when they are fresh and in season in the winters.
The difference between this Bengali khichuri and the Tamil pongal or any other Khichdi is that the ratio of rice: lentils here is 1:1, while in pongal, we use 3:1, i.e. 3 parts rice to one part moong dal. The additional flavour in the Bengali Khichuri comes from toasting the moong dal on a slow flame until it is deeply aromatic and golden brown. That is why it is called Bhaja Muger dal khichuri i.e. fried mung dal khichuri. I use the pressure pan to make quick work of the cooking, but you can also prepare this in a pan with a lid, simmering it all together until cooked. Moong dal does not take too long to cook anyway.
Here is my recipe and I do hope you try this Bhaja Muger Dal Khichuri – Bengali Khichuri, for a one pot dinner and that you love it as much as I do.
More Bengali vegetarian recipes for you-
- Kancha Peper Ghonto – raw papaya curry
- Sheem Paturi – green beans in banana leaf parcels
- Kesari Bhapa Doi
Equipment required to make Bengali Khichuri
Bengali Khichuri - Bhaja Muger Dal Khichuri
- 1/2 cup yellow mung dal (split skinned mung)
- 1/2 cup short grain rice
- 1 medium potato washed and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup green beans juliennes
- 1/4 cup green peas optional
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 green cardamoms
- 2-3 dried red chillies
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 4-5 cloves
- 1 tsp ginger juliennes
- 1-2 green chillies optional
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- To prepare the Bengali Khichuri: In a saute pan, toast the moong dal on a slow flame for 6-7 minutes until it is aromatic and golden brown. This needs a bit of patience to reach the golden brown stage gradually without burning the dal. Transfer to a bowl, wash with water and drain. Cover with fresh water and keep aside for 15 minutes.
- Wash the rice 2-3 times and keep aside.
- Heat the ghee in a pressure pan. Add all the whole spices and fry on high flame until aromatic (20 seconds). Fry the ginger and green chillies (if using). Lower flame and stir in the turmeric, garam masala powder and red chilli powder for few seconds.
- Add the chopped vegetables and fry along with the spices for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the rice and the drained moong dal into the pressure pan. Cover with 3 cups water. Season with salt. Bring this to a boil on a high flame. Cover the lid of the pressure cooker with the weight plugged in. After one whistle, reduce flame to lowest setting and allow to cook for 7-8 minutes. Turn off flame and open one pressure drops. Serve hot with a drizzle of ghee.
- I used Jharna ghee from West Bengal, for that authentic taste 🙂