Sprouts are a labor of love in the winter, when the tiny little white shoots are not as quick to show themselves as they are in warmer times. But it’s not an impossible task by any means, and well worth the patience because of all the healthfulness that sprouts offer. Besides, there is nothing sprouts do not make extra-delicious, like this easy Mung Sprouts Khichdi with Butternut Squash. I like sprouting just about any legume, but I usually turn to mung beans most in the cooler weather because they are the easiest to coax into germination. In summer, it takes just over a day for the sprouts to form, and in winter it probably takes two or three days. But this is not a lot of work: all you need to do is soak the beans overnight or for eight hours, place them in a colander and wash them twice a day. For the rest of the time, keep them covered in a cool, dark place, and you’ll be rewarded with the miraculous little shoots.
You can add sprouts to just about any dish, but this khichdi is a particular favorite in our home. It’s not just delicious, but it is also really easy to make. I make it in a pressure cooker, although you can certainly do this in a saucepan. All you really need is a few spices and herbs, like ginger, garlic, and turmeric, and you can have the khichdi piping hot and ready to eat in under 30 minutes.
I added to this khichdi some butternut squash, because it’s just so plentiful hereabouts in winter, and it is an incredibly versatile veggie that adds oodles of flavor and healthfulness. You can use carrot, or sweet potatoes too. Serve the khichdi the way it’s done in India, with a spicy curry– I usually make a simple potato curry that goes beautifully with this khichdi, and fry up — or microwave — some poppadums for crunch and texture. Some Indian pickle — rich in probiotic bacteria — is wonderful to eat alongside khichdi.
Easy Mung Sprouts Khichdi with Butternut Squash
- 1 cup dry mung beans Soak the mung beans overnight, place them in a colander, cover and let them stand for two or three days until sprouts appear. Be sure to rinse the sprouts twice a day every day.
- 1 cup basmati or other long-grain rice Soak the rice for at least 20 minutes and drain before using.
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 small green chili pepper, like jalapeno or serrano, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 1-inch stick cinnamon
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 3 cloves
- 2 dry bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup butternut squash cubes (1/2-inch pieces)
- In a large saucepan or in a pressure cooker, heat the oil.
- Add the cumin, and as they begin to change color, add the green chili pepper and ginger-garlic paste, stir to mix, and add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, and bay leaves.
- Stir-fry the spices for a minute, then add the rice and the mung bean sprouts. Toss until the rice turns opaque, then add 3 cups of water, the butternut squash, and salt to taste. I usually add around 2 tsp of salt but let your tastebuds decide what's right for you.
- If you are using a pressure cooker, at this point, put on the lid and pressure cook for two whistles. If using a pressure cooker that doesn't whistle, cook for six minutes after building up pressure.If cooking in a saucepan, wait for the water to boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and lower heat to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes and let the saucepan stand, without taking the lid off, for an additional 10 minutes. Then fluff the rice and sprouts with a fork.
- If using a pressure cooker, after the pressure has dropped, open and fluff the khichdi using a fork.
- Serve hot.
From the archives: