There are several festivals throughout the year in Nepal. The interesting fact is specific cultural foods are eaten during the specific festival, which also reflects the richness of food culture in Nepal. Brahmin and Chhetri communities, especially from western hilly districts (Gulmi, Argakhachi, Palpa, Baglung, Parbat & Syangja), celebrate the Maghe/Makar Sakranti, a solstice festival, by eating Khichadi. It is a simple one-pot savory dish prepared from black lentil (kalo maas), rice, ghee, and spices.
Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 min
Ingredients (4-5 pax)
700 gm split black lentils
500 gm rice
8-10 tbs ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp turmeric powder or 1 thumb-sized fresh turmeric root
2 thumb-sized ginger
1 tsp cumin seed
Few stalks fresh coriander leaves (for garnishing)
Wash the black lentils and rice separately to remove impurities.
On a pressure cooker, add a liter of water, turmeric powder or crushed fresh turmeric, black lentils and about 3-4 tbs ghee. Cook lentil on a medium heat until it whistles 3-4 times. Turn off the heat and let the steam releases by itself. The lentil should be cooked.
Again add about a liter of water in the pressure cooker and then rice. Add crushed ginger and the 3-4 tbs ghee. Cover the pressure cooker with lid (but not in a way to pressure cook) and cook on a low-medium heat until all the water is soaked and the rice is perfectly cooked.
On a small pan, heat about 2 tbs of ghee and fry the cumin seed until light brown, and immediately pour it over the cooked Khichadi. Mix them together, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and Khichadi is ready.
Serve it hot with pickle, extra butter or ghee, plain yogurt or milk.
- You can use other beans such as rice-beans instead of black lentils. In India, the Moong Daal Khichadi is very popular.
- You can add some green chilies, bay leaves, cloves or cinnamon for more flavors.
- You can even use vegetables like taro or Colocasia (pidalu) or yam (tarul)
Recipe by Chef Laxman Prasad Bhandari
Photo by Gagan Thapa/Nabin Baral
Mr. Laxman Prasad Bhandari is a chef with several years of professional cooking experience in both Nepal and outside the country, and initiator of Chef’s Federation of Nepal.