|Place of origin:|
|Region or state:|
|Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal|
|Rice, lentils, spices|
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Khichṛī (Hindustani pronunciation: [ˈkʰɪtʃɽi]), alternate spellings khichdi, khichri, khichdee, khichadi, khichuri, khichari, "kitcheree", "kitchree", and many other variants, (Hindi: खिचड़ी khicṛī, Urdu: کھچڑی khicṛī, Oriya: ଖେଚେଡ଼ି khecheṛi, Bengali: খিচুড়ী khichuṛi, Gujarati: ખીચડી khichḍi, Nepali: खिचड़ी khicṛī,) is a South Asian preparation made from rice and lentils (dal). Khichri is commonly considered to be a comfort food, and was the inspiration for the Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree. Khichri is also thought to be the inspiration for the popular Egyptian dish, Kushari. Khichdi has no relation with the Keralite dish kichadi.
Etymology and spelling
Some divergence of transliteration may be noted in the third consonant in the Hindi/Urdu word khicṛī. The sound is the retroflex flap [ɽ], which is written in Hindi with the Devanagari letter ड़, and in Urdu script with the Perso-Arabic letter ڑ.
In Hindi-Urdu phonology, the etymological origin of the retroflex flap was /ɖ/ when it occurred between vowels. Hence in Devanagari the letter ड, representing /ɖ/, was adapted to write /ɽ/ by adding a diacritic under it. In Urdu script, the phonological quality of the flap was represented by adapting the letter ر, representing /r/, with a diacritic added above it to indicate the retroflex quality.
Although in IAST the Hindi letter ड़ is transliterated as <ṛ>, popular or nonstandard transliterations of Hindi use <d> for this sound, because etymologically it derives from ड /ɖ/. The occurrence of this consonant in the word khicṛī has given rise to two alternative spellings in English: khichdi, which reflects its etymology, and khichri, which reflects its phonology.
The Greek ambassador of Seleucus mentioned that rice with pulses is very popular among people of South Asia. Khichdi is described in the writings of Afanasiy Nikitin, a Russian adventurer who travelled to the South Asia in the 15th century. Khichri was very popular with the Mughals, especially Jahangir. Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th-century document, written by Mughal Emperor, Akbar’s vizier, Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, mentions the recipe for khichdi, which gives seven variations. There is an anecdotal story featuring Akbar, Birbal and khichri.
In Bengal, the Khichuri (Bengali: খিচুড়ী khichuri) is a rich gourmet delicacy. Often seasoned with ghee (clarified butter) and achaar (oil-based pickle), it is accompanied with meat curries, fish, potato chops, eggplants and omelettes. The rice is commonly cooked and served on rainy days.
A sticker version of the rice, similar to haleem, is traditionally served to children and sick people. It is the first solid that babies are introduced to. Rice and lentils are simmered till mushy, seasoned with turmeric and salt, and fed to infants to introduce them to "adult" food. The elderly and sick, especially those having stomach problems, are served with the rice as it is easily digestible compared to other dishes which involve more meat and spices.
Khichri is a very popular dish across Pakistan and North India. The dish is widely prepared in many Indian states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Bengal (where it is called Bengali: খিচুড়ী khichuri). Vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, and green peas are commonly added. A popular variant in coastal Maharashtra is made with prawns.
Khichri is also a favourite campfire food, owing to the convenience of being able to cook the dish in a single simmering pot.
Khichari is the traditional diet and a daily meal of Kutchi people, and they can make several varieties of dishes using khichari.
Khichdi, when well cooked with a little oil, is considered a light and nutritious dish, and is especially popular amongst many who follow an ayurvedic diet or nature cure.
Khechidi is very popular in Orissa. There are varieties of khechidi in Orissa like adahengu khechidi (ginger-asafoetida khichdi), moong dal khichdi, etc. Adahengu khechidi is a popular dish in the Jagannath Temple as well. At home, moong dal khechidi and other khechidis are served with pampad, pickle, curd, aaloo bharta, or baigan bharta, raita, dalma, and chutney.
Khichri is also very popular in Bihar. It is made with rice, dal, and garam masala, cooked into a semi-paste like consistency and eaten with lots of ghee, baigan ka bharta, aaloo ka bharta (mashed potato with onions, green chilli, salt and mustard oil), tomato chutney (blanched tomato, onion, green chilli, grated ginger and mustard oil), pāpaṛ, tilori (a fried snack), and mango pickle. It is customary to eat khichdi every Saturday in Bihar, and also at dinner during Makar Sankranti. A popular variation in khichri in the winter months is the addition of cauliflower and green peas.
Bisi bele bath, 'hot lentil rice', is a famous variant of khichdi from Karnataka, a state in Southern India. Pongal, a dish similar to khichri, is popular in Southern India, primarily in Tamil Nadu. It is primarily made of rice and lentils, and seasoned with black pepper, cumin, and cashews.
Khichra and khichri
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In Bengal, cooks and homemakers often prepare this dish with many ingredients mixed with it. That is one of the reasons the idiom joga khichuri is used in Bangla to mean a mess.
- Kushari, the Egyptian equivalent
- Congee, a type of rice porridge eaten in many Asian countries
- Kedgeree, the Anglo-Indian version
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- R. S. McGregor, ed. (1997). The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-19-864339-5.
- Monier-Williams, Monier (1995). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 339. ISBN 81-208-0065-6. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- Masica, Colin P. (1991). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge University Press. pp. 97–98. ISBN 0-521-23420-4. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- Khichdi–A Comfort Food
- Recipes for Dishes Ain-i-Akbari, by Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak. English tr. by H. Blochmann and Colonel H. S. Jarrett, 1873–1907. The Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, Volume I, Chapter 24, page 59. “3. K'hichri. Rice, split dal, and ghee 5 s. of each; ⅓ s. salt: this gives seven dishes.”