Khichdo – your one-pot wonder for Makar Sankranti – Times of India

For Gujaratis, Makar Sankranti, also referred to as Uttarayan, is a much-awaited festival. The kite festival often lasts for two days (as many celebrate vasi uttarayan too) and what adds to the celebration is a spread of scrumptious traditional foods made with freshly-harvested grains. One such dish that’s prepared in almost every household on Uttarayan is khichdo. We find out more about this one-pot wonder that’s packed with seasonal ingredients

Sweet and spicy khichdo

Khichdo holds great significance on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. “It is basically a sweet khichdi made with thuli (cracker wheat or wheat bran). However, this recipe sees different variations in different Gujarati household, where some use dalia instead of thuli, some people also use dal in this sweet khichdi recipe. Others make a salty and spicy version of it using different seasonal vegetables like Saat Dhan Khichdo, Multi grain Khichado etc,” says Maharaj Bhanwar Singh, Corporate Chef, Khandani Rajdhani. Khichdo is quick, easy and can be prepared in just half-an-hour. “The preparation of khichdo is quite similar to kheer. Here, we use thuli instead of rice, which is cooked in milk and sugar. The dish is topped with dry fruits of your choice that makes the dish tastier. All you need to do is roast thuli in ghee and cook in milk till the dish gets a thick consistency. Add sugar and mix. Serve khichdo hot with a handful of almonds, raisins, cashew nuts and walnuts,” adds Singh. There are several versions of khichdi and khichdo in Gujarati cuisine. Vaal ni khichdi, vaghareli khichdi, fada ni khichdi, toovar dal ni khichdi, the list is endless.

Khichdo symbolises transition of seasons and new beginnings

Makar Sankranti celebrates the harvest festival and on this day, the khichdi is made using freshly-harvested rice and lentils. “The preparation of khichdo represents life and regeneration. It further hints at the beginning of the new harvest year. It is healthy, comforting and signifies the transition of season,” says Singh. A simple one pot meal prepared using rice and lentils; khichdi holds a lot of mythological and cultural significance too. “Makar Sankranti maks the end of an inauspicious period known as kamurta. This GUjarati dish prepared with chadela ghau, tuvar dal, jaggery, coconut and loads of dry fruits is heavy on the stomach and may not be easier to digest but is apt for winter months as it is a powerhouse of energy which is much-need during this season,” says culinary expert Reetu Uday Kugaji.

Khichdo is packed with health

You haven’t celebrated Uttarayan if you haven’t had a bowl of healthy khichdo. It is a wholesome dish that fuels your body with protein, carbohydrates, vitamin C, calcium, dietary fibre, and potassium. “Indeed the humble khichdo is a one-pot wonder, super nutritious and a complete meal on its own. It is a balanced meal which is not only easy to prepare but is delicious too. It can be easy on your stomach or a bit heavy depending on what combinations of ingredients one uses i.e. grains, lentils, vegetables, seasonings, mild spices and clarified butter or ghee,” explains Kugaji.

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