A dose of protein and carbohydrates cooked in one pot
From the vast array of slow cooking techniques and the dishes to have emerged from the Indian subcontinent, a Khichro is a unique preparation. It is a generous mix of grains with meat, slow cooked without the involvement of any condiments, turmeric, or red chillie powder. Unlike most meat preparations that are prevalent in India, this one stands apart for its usage of protein-rich grains and meat that is cooked over a period of two days. Well, the name Khichro may give you second thoughts, this delicacy is a match made in heaven.
From The Ancient Pots To The Dining Table
This unique preparation of Khichra finds its roots in the famous Muslim dish Haleem. The only difference is that while the meat is ground in Haleem, Khichra uses meat cut in cubes.
But if one was to trace the origin of Haleem, it will direct to the Arabian dish known by the name of Harees or Jareesh. According to various historical accounts, the first written recipe of Harees dates back to the 10th century. It can be proven from the accounts of an Arab clerk Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Sayyar who had compiled a cookbook - Kitab Al-Tabikh - comprising dishes that were popular among the kings, caliphs, and leaders of Baghdad. And it came to India through Arab soldiers in the Hyderabad Nizam's army.
Another version points toward the Nawab of Awadh who had announced free food to anyone who worked in the construction of an Imambargah. The food in question was rice slowly cooked with mutton and various pulses, thus becoming rich in protein and carbohydrates.
20gms Masoor dal
20gms Moong dal
20gms Chhola’r dal
500gms Meat of choice
½ kg Onions
1 big Ginger
1 bulb of Garlic
7 Green chillies
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 Bay leaves
3gms Shahi garam masala powder
A bunch of Mint leaves
. Rinse and soak all the grains and rice in a bowl overnight.
. Slice the onions thin and long, and then mash them light basically separating them from each other.
. Over medium heat place the pan and pour oil. Once it is hot throw in a handful of the sliced onions. Fry the onions until golden and remove immediately. Let it cool to become crisp making for caramelised onions.
. Make a paste out of ginger, garlic, and green chillies. Keep it aside.
. In a pan over medium heat add oil and fry the meat in batches until it browns on all sides. Remove and set aside.
. To the same oil, add bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns. Let all this temper.
. Then add the sliced onions, salt, and fry until the onions turn brown. To this add the ginger-garlic-green-chillie paste. Fry all this until the spices are cooked well.
. Add the Shahi garam masala powder and about a handful of fried onions. Now add the browned pieces of meat and sauté for about 2 minutes.
. Transfer the contents to a pressure cooker and add 1.5 kg of water. Pressure cook for about an hour. At this stage, the meat will be soft and easily falls off the bone.
. Once the whistle settles down, separate the meat from the pressure cooker. As it cools down, remove the bones and the bay leaves, and store the broth.
. Then chop the meat into cubes and divide it into two piles. Keep aside.
. Now, strain the soaked grains and transfer them to the saved broth. Add salt and one pile of chopped meat.
. Over low heat bring all this to boil for at least one hour. Keep stirring occasionally till the grains become soft.
. Then transfer the boiled grains into a blender and grind until it breaks down. Do not make it a smooth paste but a bit grainy texture.
. Now pour this into a pan, add the second pile of meat cubes and hot milk. Mix all and bring to a boil before turning off the heat.
. Once done, pour the Khichro into a serving bowl and garnish with julienne ginger, finely chopped mint leaves, and some fried onions.
. Though this heavy yet deceptively light dish is made during festivals, it can be relished during an afternoon brunch. Eat it right out of the bowl or with a slice of bread. And what is there not to enjoy, a healthy dose of grains mixed with meat soaking in all the juices.