1 hour 30 mins
- 500 g shona moog dal (small-grained moong)
- 500 g aged gobindobhog rice
- 320 g Bengali-style ghee (see notes)
- 65 g cashew nuts
- 65 g raisins
- 5 g (12 pcs) dried red chillies
- 3 g (15 pcs) cardamom
- 2 g (5 pcs) cinnamon
- 2 g (15 pcs) cloves
- 3 g (10 pcs) bay leaves
- 8 g (2 tsp) cumin seeds
- 6 g turmeric
- 2 g Bengali gorom moshla
- 70 g ginger paste
- 5 g green chilli paste
- 5 g slit green chillies
- 35 g salt
- 100 g sugar
- 2.2–2.3 L hot water
Bhuna khichuri is possibly my thamma's (grandmother Durga) most acclaimed recipes, even more than the labra'r torkari that this bhuna khichuri was served with. This was made once a year on the day of Lokkhi Pujo to offer to the goddess of prosperity. Thamma always made two kinds of khichuri on Lokkhi Pujo—this one, as well as the runnier, less decadent version. Bhuna khichuri, at least thamma's version that we have grown up eating, is in may ways more opulent than a polao, and shares many qualities with a good polao. The grains of rice and dal should be unbroken, fully cooked, but each grain should be separate. They should glisten with ghee and be lightly spiced. Naturally, she used a lot of ghee—about one and a half times more than her mishti polao even. For me and my cousins (and lots of relatives and friends in the neighbourhood) thamma's bhuna khichuri was one of the highlights of the year. It is a recipe very close to my heart.
- When cooking in large quantities it is helpful to pre-measure all the ingredients and keep them ready.
- While adding salt and sugar, as a cautionary measure, it is always a good idea to hold some of it back. You can always adjust it later after tasting.
- Ghee makes everything better, but if you want, you can reduce the ghee down to 200g per kg of grains, or use a mix of vegetable oil and ghee.
- The amount of water depends on several factors, including the rice and dal you are using. That is why we've provided a range. It case of a dry khichuri like this, it is better to err on the side of caution and add the lower amount to begin with, and add more later, as needed.
- Wash and rinse gobindobhog rice 3-4 times until water runs clear.
- Spread rice over a cloth, set on a strainer, to air dry for 1 hour.
- Dry roast shona moog dal on medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir constantly for even roasting. The colour of the grains will change gradually from yellow to pinkish-brown.
- Once done, wash the dal immediately with water to prevent it from cooking further. Strain and air-dry.
- Add 50 g ghee to the kadai. Let it melt. Add the cashew nuts and fry them until golden. Set aside. Fry raisins too, until plump. Set aside.
- Add 270 g more ghee to the kadai. Temper with dried red chillies, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and cumin seeds.
- Add ginger paste and green chilli paste. Fry for 30–40 seconds.
- Add the washed and dried gobindobhog. Fry on medium heat until rice becomes fragrant, translucent and makes a spluttering sound (about 15 minutes). Don't let it brown.
- Now add the roasted and drained shona moog, turmeric, and gorom moshla. Fry on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add hot water, salt, and 2 tbsp of sugar (a little bit of sugar at this stage will prevent the rice from breaking too quickly; don't add all of it now or the rice will remain uncooked).
- Cover and steam on medium heat for 8 minutes.
- When khichuri is about 80% cooked, add dried fruits, slit green chillies, and the rest of the sugar.
- Stir very gently, and as little as possible, so the dal and rice grains don't break. Cover and steam again for 6 minutes.
- Give it a final taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
- Turn off the heat, cover and let it rest for at least 2 hours for the best texture.
- Large kadai
- Electric kettle