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Thursday, April 18, 2019

A - Z Indian Biryani / Pulao / Khichdi Series ~ P for Pariba Khechudi

A 'mandira khechudi' paired with a 'tomato -khajur khatta' were on my to do list for years now and the recipe I had bookmarked was on a laptop that has gone kaput now. The reference of 'mandir' aka 'temple' alludes to the fact that it is served as one of the prasads in the Jagganath temple at Puri, if memory serves me right. This was the one and only khichdi I had on my mind while planning 'khichdis' for this rice series. I could not locate the original recipe but came across a similar one called paribha khechudi online, and it was also called a Mandira khechudi. I used about three recipes as reference and came up with this.

Puri Jagganath temple is located in Odisha / formerly Orissa, a state on the eastern coasts of India. The temple is famous for it's 'Chappan Bhog' mahaprasad. 56 varieties of food items are offered to deities here, during six particular times each day, the food ranging from fresh fruits and desserts to rice items and curries. It was mentioned on Wiki that the items are not cooked here under supervision of any but instead the ingredients are added to earthen pots and kept on a wooden fire. The items are taken away from fire after certain time has passed and are taken to Grabhagriha, the Sanctum Sanctorum for offering. My assumption is that the reference is mostly towards the preparation of rice or curry items as everything can not be cooked in that manner, especially sweets. 

The steam cooked food then is offered to Lord Jagannath first and then to Goddess Vimala. The blessed food then becomes 'Mahaprasad' and is sold to all devotees. Legend has it that no one can smell the food while being carried to the temple but when it being carried back to the selling point after being offered to the Lord, a delicious smell spreads along in the breeze and the food is considered blessed. The food is even a part of all auspicious / social functions, including weddings for the locals. Mahaprasad is partaken first before consuming anything else during special occasions. Wiki has an article about 'Mahaprasad' and the complete list of various food items offered at the temple. 

I noticed that not one but a variety of khichdis are offered at the temple including one called 'ada hengu khechudi' meaning ginger - asafoetida flavored khechudi that somewhat is on the lines of a Andhra 'pulagam' though made with a few extra flavorful ingredients like ginger, bay leaf and coconut. No surprises there considering that the two states are neighbors and the food along the borders is similar. My grandmothers used ginger in a 'pongali' but not in a 'pulagam'. I wonder why.  Anyway, I was stuck on my 'mandira khechudi' which proved to be one with a special touch of nuts' garnish that made it entirely different and delicious. I added nuts generously and the  crunch of nuts in each morsel of khichdi was way more than welcome. The dish is spicy on it's own. Thanks to cloves, chillies and pepper corns used in the recipe, it needs no side dishes. 

I am not sure what vegetables authentically go into this style of khechudi preparation but I used those I prefer normally in my khichdis. The original recipe also used cabbage, pumpkin, plantain, and radish which did not sound any unusual when I came across another khichdi called 'Ek varna' on YouTube. It used kantola (spiny gourd), parval (pointed gourd) and radish and that combo didn't sound appetizing at all to me. I almost stopped myself from asking my husband to check the authenticity of the dish from his colleagues from Odisha to see if I can try it with a different set of vegetables. Anyhow, this one pot, wholesome and filling khechudi turned out yum with the prospects of getting repeated in my kitchen.

Ingredients to pressure cook:
1/2 cup rice (I used sona masuri variety.)
1/4 cup chana dal / yellow split peas
1/4 cup moong dal 
3 cups mixed vegetables*
1/4 cup grated coconut 
1/8 tsp. ground turmeric

Ingredients for tempering:
1 tbsp. ghee
1/4 cup almonds (I wasn't sure whether peanuts or almonds are used. Even adding both would be yum.)
2 tbsp. raisins
2 tbsp. cashews
2 cardamoms
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. pepper corns
1 red chillie
1 green chillie
Salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste

* I used one inch green beans pieces, peeled and cubed potato, peeled and diced carrot, diced tomatoes, green peas. Other additions would be white pumpkin, cabbage, plantain, and radish.

1. Soak chana dal in water for about 2 hours and drain the water.
2. Rinse rice and dal with water and drain. Pressure cook rice, chana dal, moong dal, vegetables, coconut and turmeric together adding 2 cups of water, for 3 whistles. 
3. Heat ghee in a small pan and add almonds, raisins and cashews. Toast them until cashews turn light brown and raisins plump up. Remove them with a slotted spoon and keep them aside. Next add cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, pepper corns, red chilies and saute for about 30 to 40 seconds.
4. When the valve pressure is gone, remove the cooker lid and mix the rice - dal mixture well once. Then add the tempering from the step 3, salt, ground pepper and a cup (or extra) of water. (Taste and adjust the seasonings and water quantity as needed). Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the flame and let it simmer for a minute or two.
5. Garnish with toasted nuts and raisins.
6. I served it with some ghee, papad and achaar, a spicy Indian pickle.

So far in my Biryani / Pulao / Khichdi series,
A for Ambur Biryani
B for Basanti Pulao / Misthi Pulao
C for Corn - Fenugreek Greens Pulao
D for Donne Biryani
E for Ek Toap na Dal Bhaat
F for Fada ni Khichdi
G for Gutti Vankaya Biryani
H for Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biryani
I for Iyengar Puliyogare
J for Jaipuri Mewa Pulao
K for Kashmiri Pulao
L for Lucknowi Biryani
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99.


Sharmila Kingsly said...

So new to me I was not so familiar with odisha food..except few sweet dishes.. lovely share..

Gayathri Kumar said...

That is an interesting read on Jagannath temple bhog. This kechudi looks so delicious with all those nuts as the topping. Perfect pick for the day.

Harini R said...

That is a lovely khichdi from Odisha, suma. I also have heard about chappan bhog and the mystery surrounding the aroma of mahaprasad. Very interesting read and the prasad from the temple is one to die for says my Odisha friend.

vaishali sabnani said...

Wow ! How well you have created the Prasad Khichadi , it looks gorgeous , love that garnish , it’s way too tempting .
Besides being divine it is such a healthy Khichadi with some unique ingredients .

sushma said...

Wow such a lovely looking khichdi from Orissa. Looks nice and colorful. Garnish looks too good.

Srividhya said...

Love the intro. This khichdi was on my list too but changed it last moment. Love the way you presented it Suma. Great pick.

Srivalli said...

Nice to know we ended up doing the same dish for some of the letters Suma. We loved this one and the vegetables were surely a unique combination. Your pictures look so lovely!

Kalyani said...

I am so making this ! love veggie loaded khichdi and yoru research for mega BMs is always commendable , suma !

cookwithrenu said...

The khichdi has turned out so well. Don't know how to tell, but like a perfect khichdi everything is nicely mixed up and looking so colourful and vibrant. Delicious share.

Swati said...

Interesting read about the Khichdi and mahaprasad.. Khichdi loos so flavourful and delicious!! Love the flavours and colors in it!!