For many Indians, khichdi—a one-pot meal of rice cooked with lentils and vegetables—is a comfort food and a diet staple. There are hundreds of recipes for preparing it and hundreds of ways of consuming it. Many Bengalis enjoy khichdi with an assorted platter of deep-fried vegetables and fried fish, while others serve it with either pickles or yogurt.
The consistency of this khichdi will be a little runny like shown in the pictures. Using 8 cups water is fine, if you want to consume the whole amount right away. However if you're planning to refrigerate and re-heat later, you need to add 10 cups of water otherwise the khichdi will turn into a lump of rice and lentil upon refrigeration. The taste of this khichdi is not going to be super spicy but If you want spicy, you can increase the amount of red chiles and ginger in the recipe. Remember, this is a particular style recipe where spices are not used very much. —Dolphia Nandi
Place the rice in a colander and rinse it under running water. Then add it to a bowl and cover it with water so that it soaks while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a non-stick soup-pot, over medium heat, toast the yellow lentils. Stir for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the color turns light golden brown and releases a nice aroma. Transfer to a strainer and wash thoroughly under running water. Set it aside.
In the same soup pot, over medium-high heat, heat clarified butter. Once hot, add cumin seeds and bay leaf and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to splutter.
Add sliced onion and ginger and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onions are softened. Add green beans and carrots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Add peas, chile, tomato, turmeric, chili powder, and salt and cook over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tomatoes soften.
Drain the rice, then add it to the pot with the lentils and 8 cups of water. Cover and cook for 38 to 40 minutes, or until soft.
Meanwhile, mix together potato pieces, salt, turmeric, and ground chili powder. In a non-stick skillet, over medium heat, heat vegetable oil. Add potato pieces and cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes soften.
Garnish the khichi with cilantro and serve warm with potato fries on the side.