Bengali Bhuni / Jhuro Khichuri (Khichdi)
Bengali Bhuni / Jhuro Khichuri or khichdi is the dish that can easily outshine the splendor of scrumptious biryani and pulao. Bengali bhuni khichuri is truly splendid in every sense. Richly flavoured with array of aromatic spices and lavishly dressed up with season’s best and freshest bounties, adorned with dried fruits and nuts. And infused luxuriantly with the deep and intoxicating perfume of ghee.
The humble golden pot of khichdi, the soul food of Bengali, the comfort food in monsoon takes on an entirely different note during festivals. A delicacy to devour and to revel in the festivities that surrounds this.
How Bhuni Khichuri Is Different From Other Khichdi ?
Bhuni khichuri is different from the most cherished Bengal’s bhoger khichuri in the sense that former is richly spiced and is almost on the borderline of pulao with grains of rice and pulses holding onto their individuality. While the latter is diluted version of the same kind, lacking in the richness, the flavours compensated and the one that can be served as bhoger prasad to all.
But the one that is divine , the bhoger khichuri is complete nirvana, aatm-tript – soul satifying kind.
While we make bhoger khichuri to celebrate all the festivals at home, like Kojagori Lakshmi puja, Saraswati puja, this bhuni or jhuro khichuri takes a central stage especially on Kali Pujo in our home. This rich aromatic version of khichuri is usually devoured with the another significant dish called prashadi mangsho or niramish mangsho.
The festivities brings out new flavours and joys in all hearts and so as the divine spread of bhuni/ jhuro khichuri – prashadi mangso – luchi – and payesh.
How To Make Bhuni Khichuri At Home ?
As we usually prepares this khichuri during autumn or pre-winter season, the season’s best and freshest vegetables like cauliflower, green peas in their shell, carrots, beans, new potatoes goes into the making of this delicious dish. Other than the aromatic spices, one ingredient that is indispensable in this bhuni khichuri is – freshly grated coconut. Its flavour and taste really shines through in this khichuri.
The highlight of this khichuri is however the fragrant rice. There was a time when Bengal used to produce 500 strains of rice, each one is more fragrant than the other. However, gobindobhog always enjoys the highlight as this was easily available, than the other elusive ones like kamini atop, gopalbhog, radhuni pagol or bak-tulsi rice.
Bengali Bhuni Khichuri / Khichdi is a festival special, richly spiced, adorned with dried fruits and nuts, season's freshest vegetables and perfumed with the ghee.
- 1 1/2 cup Gobindobhog rice / other fragrant rice
- 1 1/4 cup Sona Moong dal / other moond dal / yellow lentils
- 1 head Cauliflower , small cut into florets
- 2 Carrots, cut into chunks
- 1 cup Beans, cut into finger long size
- 1 cup Green peas
- 2 Potatoes, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup+ Freshly Grated Coconut
- 8-10 Cashews split
- 1/4 cup Raisins
- 1 tbsp+ Ginger Paste / grated ginger
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1-4-4 Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamoms
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 -2 Dry Red Chilli
- 1-2 Green chilli, slit from the middle
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Bengali garam masala powder
- 3 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 3 tbsp Ghee (very good quality)
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups Hot Water (or as requires)
Wash the rice very well and soak it in warm water for 15 minutes or so.
Wash the dal with few changes of water, pat dry them completely.
Prepare all the vegetables as instructed above.
Heat a kadhai and dry roast the dal till it turn golden brown. Do this on medium low flame as moon dal gets burnt easily. Once the dal is dry roasted lightly and no moisture is left, add 1 teaspoon ghee and keep frying till you get the desired color.
Take it out and keep aside.
Fry the cashews and raisins. Take them out.
In the same kadhai, add mustard oil and fry all the vegetables one by one. Cauliflowers, potatoes must turn into golden brown.
Take this out and keep aside.
Heat 2 tablespoon ghee and temper it with cumin seeds, bay leaves, dry red chillies, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.
Once the flavour starts coming out, add ginger paste along with green chillies and pinch of salt. Saute till the raw smell of ginger goes completely.
Add all the vegetables , turmeric powder and keep frying on low heat till everything gets mixed properly.
Drain the rice and add it to the kadhai along with dal, cashews and raisins. Give everything a nice stir till everything comes together. Check for the salt and other seasonings.
Add 1 cup hot water, lower the heat, cover it tightly and let it cook till the water absorb completely.
Check for the doneness, if requires add another 1 cup of hot water and cook it cover on low heat till done. Do not add all the water in one go.
Check if the rice are cooked through. Dal should be soft and cooked through, but not mushy. Vegetables should be soft and cooked through.
If it is done, then sprinkle bengali garam masala powder over it. Add sugar, ghee (be little generous here) and give everything a nice stir without breaking the rice grains. Add the grated coconut and stir it well. Check for the seasonings and add if anything is lacking.
Switch off the heat. Keep it cover. Serve the khichuri after 10 -15 minutes or more if preferable.
Since we prepare this dish as part of bhog, this khichuri mandatory will never feature any onion, garlic or shrimps, fish or meat.
There are few other versions equally popular , of this jhuro khichuri . Yes, that’s how we love to call this – jhuro and not bhuni khichuri. The word bhuni however, does not reflects the deep cultural essence, the dish holds it for us, at least in our family.