Spicy Khichuri ar Ilish Mach Bhaja

1:19 AM

How does it feel when you get something you never expected you will or to be more precise to get an out of schedule day off for yourself…exactly something  like this happened to all of us this Monday. It was a day when the political parties declared an All India strike and whole India stopped to work for a day. I belong to a state, which sees maximum number of Political strikes every year but still have not come into terms with this mean of supporting any cause. But this time it was different.  Hardly Bangalore and its IT sector give in to strikes, however this time the whole city almost took a halt and enjoyed a break to see life in a different light. I simply loved the way the roads went noiseless. And to add to my joy it was pouring heavily from the morning. 

Being a die-hard romantic, I love rain. Can’t even remember how many times caught cold for walking in the rain for hours. I always dreamt of spending a lazy romantic day with Husband at home with heavy rain dancing in busy steps all around. Then we moved to Bangalore and this dream remains unfulfilled. Here rain is also IT friendly. Hardly it rains heavily in the daytime. You will mostly wake up to a sunny bright morning inspiring you to drive to work and then once you reach office it will start to pour heavily in the evening to strand you in there. Following this my romantic side never saw the day light. So this time when the rain God blessed me on this unscheduled holiday I was happy beyond imagination. but then again reality struck hard. With an irritated baby fussing around for not being able to go out in the garden to play, with a lazy happy husband for getting another day to be a couth potato and watch the recorded game and with a lost maid who forgets everything she is asked for once she crosses the distance between the living room and dining hall…It seemed like I was the only sane, unprovoked and energetic person to run the household, which started with Cooking with a bold C. First I have to cook the Baby’s fish curry and rice and then a full lunch and dinner for the adults and then some snacks for the friends who wanted to drop in over tea.  So without wasting much time and leaving my romantic plans behind I entered the kitchen. The weather was ideal for our favourite khichuri and Ilish Mach Bhaja (fried hilsa pieces) and I decided to cook the same in a big quantity to serve for dinner as well.

Khichuri ar mach bhaja is a unique combionation, which will make any Bengali drool on rainy days, and the best part is this is the easiest Ilish recipe (if you call it a recipe J). All you have to do is fry it in hot mustard oil (that is must for cooking Hilsa) with salt and turmeric and serve it piping hot with rice or khichuri. The recipe I followed here belongs to my Baba who is known as the khichuri king in our house. He makes the best khichuri in the world. This one is a bit spicy but when you eat a one-dish meal that is permitted. Here is how I made

Spicy Khichuri (serves 4)

Uncooked atop or long grain rice: 11/2 cups
Yellow lentil (mung dal): 1 cup
Vegetables like cauliflower, beans, carrots, peas: 2 cups; cut in big chunks
Onion: 2 big
Ginger paste: 11/2 tbsp (thanks Pree for mentioning it)
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Tomato: 1 large
grated coconut: 1/4 cup
Green chillies: 3
Clove, cinnamon, cardamom: 2-3 pieces each
Bay leaf: 1
Oil: 3 tbsp
Garam masala powder: 1/3 tsp

First wash the rice, drain the excess water and spread on a newspaper.

Thinly slice the onions. Chop the tomato and keep aside.

Dry roast the lentil, wash and keep aside.

At the same time heat 1 tbsp of oil and fry the veggies with salt and turmeric. Once they are golden in colour, take out and keep aside.

Heat the rest of the oil and put the whole spices, bayleaf and slit green chili. Once they start to sizzle and the aroma heats you add the sliced onion.

Fry on medium till the onion is light brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry again.

Once the raw smell of the spices is gone add the coriander and turmeric powder mixed with 2 tbsp water. Fry for a minute and mix in the chopped tomato.

Continue frying this spice mixture on low flame till oil starts to separate at the sides.

Now put the rice (by this time they should dry). Lightly fry for a minute till the fried smell of rice comes off (1-2 minutes).

Add the lentils and give everything a good mix. Add 5 cups of warm water. Tighten the pressure cooker lid and on medium flame cook for one whistle. Switch off the gas and let the steam dissipate in itself.

Open the lid and put the fried veggies and salt. If required add another cup of warm water.

Cook on low flame till the water gets absorbed and the veggies are cooked. the dish would be dry.

Check the seasoning and mix in the coconut. After a final sprinkling of garam masala powder serve hot with Ilish or any fried fish.

Ilish Mach Bhaja

We Bengalis generally never wash the fish pieces as we believe that way the the Ilish smell is lost. So the fish is always washed thoroughly before cutting.

Rub salt and turmeric on the cleaned fish pieces and keep aside.

Now heat some mustard oil to the smoking point (or you will get raw pungent smell of mustard), carefully put the fish pieces one by one and fry them till light brown on both the sides.

Serve piping hot with khichuri. Don’t discard the fried oil, save it. When mixed with warm rice this tastes heavenly. Any Bengali will swear by this taste.

salt lengthen the process of boiling lentil. always add them after the lentils are soft.

similarly never add cold water during cooking of lentils. The trick to get a thick creamy lentil dish is to always use warm water.

am sending this Khichuri recipe to Siri's healing food: Carrot event this month hosted at Veggie Platter. 

rice, yellow lentil, bengali khichuri, khichri, rice lentil medley, vegetable rice, vegetable lentil, mung dal, basmati, atop chal, hilsa, fish fry, fried fish, Indian medley, one dish meal, one pot lunch, khichudi, spicy khichri, rainy day delicacy, ghee, coconut rice, onion, birista, ginger, coriander powder, carrot, beans, Cauliflower, Lentil Rice, 

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  1. Sayantani ... I suffer from an identity crisis when it comes to the khichuri. Amar khichuri na Rajasthani hoye (amar hing bhalo lage na) ar na Bangali(amar bor mishti mishti taste ta bhalobashe na).
    Tomar plate ta dekhe barir kotha mone pore gelo. Ebaar jodi ilish payi ei combi ta ekbar baniye khabo. :-)

  2. Hi. I loved ur baba's version of spicy khichuri and felt really sad that you could not enjoy the rain romantically with Dh this time, try again dear.

  3. Wow loved ur simpli kichuri , the way u put in here about ur illsh tempts me to make at home :)

  4. Nice recipe with rice n lentils..

  5. Aamaar kichu din theke kichuri aar ilish maach bhaja khete ichche korche. Pity, you are too far away in Blore!

    I don't add garlic paste in my khichuri, just some ginger. I wonder how it'd taste.

  6. tasty and spicy khichuri . .yumm ,always so comforting:)

  7. Sayantani, check my Blog when you can.

  8. Great post, Sayantani..Khichuri with fried fish looks very inviting..I too love the taste of rice mixed with fried oil..Sometimes I make omlettes in this oil, it tastes heavenly :)

  9. @Pree, thanks I also did not add garlic paste. while ariting my autocorrect in MSWORD completed it in itself. pity that I did not check and edit it before.
    ITS only ginger paste.

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  11. ohoho, I am a big fan of kichuri! Have never tried with coconut, and I will do so asap!
    Have a great week-end!

  12. love the write up..so romantic but ended up with cooking...so sad..but thts the foodie is...bless u with a rainy romatic day...and u r making me dead by the pics...ahh..drooling.khichadi with fish...yum..as u said loved the aromatic oil on the rice..

  13. I used to walk in rain like a maniac.. My colleagues called me Peacock as I used to jump out of my desk as soon as it starts raining. lol.. I do like to have surprise holidays.. but didn't they ask you to compensate on Saturday.. ? Khichuri looks so warm and comforting for the rainy weather. Here I am sitting in another part of the world and waiting the rain to pour.

  14. that platter of fish fry and khichdi made me hungry..droolwrothy pics...feel like grabbing it from the screen...mmm...

  15. looks yummy and tasty..!Thanks for visiting my blog.

  16. hey, just pass me d plate...irresistable and droolworthy recipe dear.

  17. Always admire ur writing, keep up ur awesome write up Sayantani, delicious khichuri and tempting fish fry..

  18. lovely combination of khichadi and the fish! If you really want to enjoy the rains you should go towards the coastal areas for a weekend !!
    I still remember, how its rains all 24hrs !!

  19. wow whata delicious platter.. both dishea re superb..

  20. Hello dear, looks delicious though this is a new dish for me, beautiful presentation....

  21. Looks lovely.I remember tasting khichuri during my visit to West Bengal. I really liked it and now that you have shared the recipe. I am going to try it for sure.

  22. Kichuri looks so tempting with nice colors...

  23. Now rain gods also being IT friendly is no good for anyone, right :) khichuri and this fried fish looks like a great combo.. i ate it once at a Bengali friends house and absolutely loved it..

  24. Beautiful platter,very nice and tempting esp the fish fry...really mouthwatering...

  25. looks nice Sayantani. Can you please also post the recipe for fish fry? It looks yum.

  26. @MAdhu, its alreadt there dear. just check the recipe at the bottom.

  27. Hi Sayantani,

    nice blogsite...I am sorry I cdnt enjoy it much being a true vegetarian, but hte khichuri, almost reminded me of Bisi Bela Bath..//that has tamarind...yours deosnt...almost like a veggie khichdi...



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