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Moong Dal

Desserts/ Festival Special/ Maharashtrian/ Smoothie/ South Indian

Moogachi Kheer / Parippu Kanji – A Festive Lentil and Jaggery Porridge

A healthy festive drink!

Last Monday we celebrated Akshay Trutiya, a religious occasion which calls for a sweet treat. “Akshay” means the never diminishing in Sanskrit and this day falls on the third Tithi (Lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of the Indian month of Vaishakha and one of the 3 and 1/2 “the most auspicious days” or also known as “Sade-Teen Muhurt” considered by Hindus. It’s believed that Akshay Trutiya was the day when Lord Ganesha started writing epic Mahabharata to Ved Vyasa’s dictation. It’s considered auspicious to start a new venture or a new job, buy new property and jewelry too.

Every year my aajji used to celebrate Akshay trutiya by buying a gold coin and visiting the Vishnu temple. And I used to wait for her to come back so that I could get the prasad – the sweets! She tried making new sweets every time and this Moong Kheer (Porridge) was one of those innumerable treats I have had from her. Parippu Kanji

Traditionally it’s served warm but I like it chilled too. A very simple lentil kheer with just over 3 ingredients. Easy to make yet rates quite high on healthy spectrum which is quite unusual for an Indian sweet.Here is what you need.

Moogachi Kheer

Moogachi Kheer

A festive healthy drink!  the two words fit in one sentence quite rarely!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Lightly toast the moong dal with some ghee in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Do not let them turn brown. You should be able smell their nutty aroma.Toasted Moong Dal
  2. Add one cup of water to moong dal and pressure cook it for 2 whistels. They should be well cooked with very little water left in your cooking pot. It will have soft and smushy texture.
  3. Meanwhile, add jaggery in 1/2 cup water an dlet it dissolve completely. Strain the mixture in order to separate any impurities. Keep it aside.
  4. Using a potato masher or churner, mash the lentils so they become creamy but still have some bits in it.
  5. Put these cooked lentils and the jaggery solution in a pan and let it come to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick to the bottom and burn.
  6. Add the milk and stir till mixed well, and turn up the heat a bit. Bring it to a boil, and let it cook for another minute.
  7. Take it off the heat and then add the powdered ginger and the cardamom. Stir well.

Let it cool a bit before you pour it in glasses. Serve it warm. This recipe serves 4 to 6 depending on size of serving.

Tips:

  1. Toasting helps to bring out the nuttiness which makes the kheer more flavorful. But be careful not to turn them brown or it would overpower the taste.
  2. Before adding milk, stir frequently as it doen't contain lot of liquid and it may stick to the bottom and burn.
  3. Add basil leaves and a pinch of saffron before serving. Adds another dimension to the simple flavors.

Paruppu KanjiI recently came to know that this is also known as Parippu Kanji or Paruppu Kanji where “parippu” is lentils and “kanji” is  porridge in Tamil and it’s almost synonymous to Shivratri in some communities.  I think it completely makes sense. The kheer made of moong dal, a rich source of protein yet easy on digestion system and jaggery which is unrefined sugar, high in energy,  added with milk, sounds like a perfect recipe which is light but nutritious for a fasting day. Enjoy your healthy treat!

Maharashtrian/ Rice & Dal

मूगा-तांदुळाची खिचडी / Rice Moong Dal Khichadi

Comforting to eat, Effortless to make

I will describe Khichadi in word one – Soul-food! It’s so comforting, fulfilling and satisfying. This was the first recipe I learned from my mom when I first started my job in Bangalore. It’s a ‘++’ version of  वरण भात ‘Varan-bhaat’  (dal-rice) but it’s actually easier to prepare than dal-rice.

The best part I like about Khichadi is it’s a one pot meal. All you do is mix all ingredients together in pressure cooker, then wait for few minutes and dig in! Well khichadi literally means a mixture. The rice in it adds the starch, which somewhat magically means comfort in any language, and the moong dal adds a good source of protein which is easy to digest.

It is also a dish that is found throughout the country in some form or the other – khichdi, khichri, khichuri, venn pongal, even kedgeree, which was adopted by the colonials, are all variations on the same theme. Like names there are different khichdis too. I like it soft, almost mushy and watery, but some prefer it like pulao, all grains intact.

My mom makes a milder version with no garam masala –

moong dal khichadi

I generally make a spiced khichadi with whole garam masala and green peas.

moonga tandulachi khichadiThe general rule is to use 2 parts rice and 1 part moong dal but I use both in equal proportions. You can use split moong dal which is green or yellow. Here is my version –

मूगा-तांदुळाची खिचडी Moong Dal Khichadi

मूगा-तांदुळाची खिचडी Moong Dal Khichadi

Comforting to eat, Effortless to make!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Wash and soak the rice and the dal in water for about half an hour. If you don't have time skip this step. 
  2. If you have time use a large wide and heavy bottom pan to prepare khichadi. Or you can also use a pressure cooker and make it quicker.
  3. Either ways, in a pan, heat the oil and add whole garam masala (clove, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom). Also mustard seeds.
  4. When they start to pop add cumin seeds, curry leaves, hing and turmeric.
  5. Drain all the water from the grains and add them to the oil. Mix well for a minute.
  6. Now add goda masala and red chili powder and mix well.
  7. If you want add green peas or any other vegetables and mix again.
  8. Add 4 cups of water and stir everything together.
  9. Add grated coconut.
  10. Add salt and taste it.
  11. Now let it cook on medium heat for 3 whistles.  If you skip the first step, you might want to wait for 4-5 whistles depending upon your cooker.
  12. If you are making it a wide pan, let the water come to a boil and then simmer for few minutes. Stir it occasionally. But keep a lid on it by leaving a small gap for the steam to escape.
  13. Serve it hot with ghee and chopped cilantro.

khichadi_ayurfoods If you still think this is not easy to prepare, there is an instant version too. I recently came across AyurFoods and I have tried their moong dal khichadi. It was as delicious as home made. It’s nicely packaged and can be a good healthy meal while travelling.

 

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