Chickpea Khichdi and Arbi Kadhi

I like mixing things up a bit, and today’s recipes are an example of the irreverential cooking I so love to practice in my experimental kitchen.

In Gujarat, on India’s west coast, khichdi with kadhi is a popular comfort meal. The khichdi is a blend of rice and lentils, cooked together to mushy velvetiness, while the kadhi is a sour, spice-spiked, yogurt- or buttermilk-based preparation.

This past weekend, hit with a craving for something really simple yet delicious, I decided to make this offbeat version of both. Vegan, of course.

I used soy yogurt instead of regular yogurt or buttermilk. While I am not a huge fan of eating soy yogurt by itself, I absolutely love it in cooked dishes. It tastes just the same when added to dishes like biryanis or spicy curries, and even has the same effect as regular yogurt when substituted in baked goods and pancakes.

But first, a bit about the khichdi. I used chickpeas instead of lentls to give my khichdi some nutty heft, and it was a decision I lived to gloat over. The simple combination of chickpeas and rice flavored with nothing but some cumin and salt was amazing.

My kadhi was, well, much thicker than a kadhi usually is. I added to it some colocasia roots and methi leaves. It tasted incredible with the chickpea khichdi and my tastebuds couldn’t have been happier.

If you’re an Indian, you probably already cook with colocasia roots, also called arbi, but if you don’t know what they look like, I’ve included a picture here. I remembered to ask Desi to take the picture only after I had already dunked them into the water to wash them, therefore the bedraggled look. But gnarly though they look, they do taste fabulous. You do have to peel the skins off and within is deliciously starchy flesh that’s not unlike a potato’s, but sweeter, and more complex as well as thicker. I usually find them at the Asian grocery store and sometimes even at my local supermarket.

So here are the recipes for my twist on khichdi and kadhi. Enjoy, everyone!

Arbi and Methi Kadhi

Ingredients:

5 colocasia roots, boiled in their skins. To test for doneness, pierce one of the roots with a fork in the center. If it goes in fairly easily, it’s done. Set aside to cool a bit before you peel these. Then, cut into 1/2-inch chunks.

1 bunch of methi (fenugreek) leaves, stems discarded and leaves chopped (if you cannot find methi, you could substitute another leafy like watercress or even spinach. Only add them toward the end of the cooking instead of early because they take much less time to cook).

1 cup soy yogurt

1 tsp canola or vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp grated ginger

2 heaping tsp of tava masala (Available in Indian stores. I used it on a whim but it tasted great in this dish)

1/2 – 1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds.

When they sputter, add the onions and stir-fry until translucent and soft.

Add the ginger and garlic and stir for another minute.

Add the methi leaves. Stir for a few minutes until they begin to wilt.

Add the tava masala, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in.

Add about 1/2 cup of water, cover and let cook for a few minutes until the methi leaves are almost tender. This will take around 10-15 minutes.

Add the soy yogurt and the colocasia pieces. Stir well. If the kadhi is too thick, you can add some water.

Check salt to taste.

Serve with khichdi (recipe follows)

Chickpea Khichdi

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and then cooked until tender (can substitute with 1 1/2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained)

1 cup long-grain rice, like basmati

1 tsp canola or vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

2 cups water

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.

Add the cumin speeds. When they sputter, add the rice and stir until it begins to turn opaque.

Add the water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium.

When most of the water is absorbed, add the chickpeas, cover, and cook the rice over low heat for another 15 minutes.

Don’t open the saucepan for another 10 minutes at least. To serve, fluff the khichdi with a fork and serve alongside the kadhi.

You can find a wonderful, more traditional version of Khichdi and Kadhi here.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Comments

  1. says

    This is indeed the best possible combination with khichdi, Vaish! I saw a recipe for vegan kadi in paper from the Aurobindo Ashram. It was made with coconut milk!!

  2. says

    I really like the idea of Arbi Kadhi…I’m going to give this a go. Khichdi-Kadhi is indeed perfect for these cold evenings. thanks for the recipe, Vaishali.

    cheers, trupti
    the spice who loved me

  3. says

    Hi Vaishali! WHat brand of Soy Yoghurt do you use for the kadhi? I love the Whole Soy brand and often make vegan shrikhand with it, but I find that even the plain variety is much sweeter compared to milk yoghurt.

    Thanks – Gayathri

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