Multigrain Khichdi: Beyond Just Comfort Food
As our lives get busier and health becomes a priority, we are always looking for easier and quicker meals which are also healthy. There are tons of one-pot recipes available online but the best one has to be the evergreen khichdi. A loyal friend during digestive distress, Khichdi is one meal that all of us crave when we crave for comfort. But benefits of khichdi are far reaching. While the khichdi we eat when we are unwell is easy to digest and nourishing, other versions of this simple dish are equivalent to a complete balanced meal.
What makes khichdi so healthy?
The combination of rice with lentils makes Khichadi a source of complete protein as it comprises of all the essential amino acids which our body does not make and that has to be substituted by food. Rice contains Sulphur-rich amino acids which are missing in lentils and lentils contain the amino acid lysine which is missing in rice. Hence the blend of both makes it a complete protein.
What are the traditional options?
The simple combination of rice and moong dal with a dollop of ghee is the khichdi prescribed to us while we are unwell. At the same time, there are many other versions of this multigrain dish in each part of the country. Bengal celebrates khichdi as Bhaja Muger Dal Khichuri, while Karnataka’s Bisi Bele Bath and Tamil Nadu’s Khara Pongal are a staple on every South Indian restaurant’s menu all over the country. Pulagam from Andhra is another wholesome dish which surely satisfies a khichdi craving. The diabetic friendly, Gehun ki Bikaneri Khichdi is a delicious mix of Wheat Kernel and Moong Dal, perfect for anytime of the day. A famous non-vegetarian take on khichdi is Mutton Khichda, originating from the Bohri community. Any of these options can be a good example of a balanced meal.
Can it be healthier?
Absolutely, it is possible to modify khichdi to accommodate your dietary needs. A simplest way to make khichdi healthier is to use a multigrain mix. A combination of grains and cereals can increase the nutrient value of the dish. Readymade multigrain khichdi mixes such Tata Sampann 6 Grain Khichdi Mix, balance the goodness of Moong Dal, Rice, Ragi, Rajgira, Bajra and Jowar. Addition of millets to the khichdi heightens the nutritional value of the dish.
Another way to add more nutrition to your favorite khichdi recipe is to add vegetables to it making it fiber- rich and have it with a bowl of curds/kadhi [made out of besan] to make it protein-rich. Vegetables such as carrots, French beans, green peas, onions etc. will also add flavor to the khichdi. Those who prefer non-vegetarian food, can also add chicken to increase the protein content.
Whether you choose a traditional recipe or choose to innovate and create a recipe of your own, khichdi is an accommodating concept, willing to evolve as per changing times and tastes.
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