The amalgamation of lentils and rice as ‘Brand India’ food
The amalgamation of lentils and rice as ‘Brand India’ food | Credit: Einladung_zum_Essen

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The amalgamation of lentils and rice as ‘Brand India’ food

Feb 05, 2018

Khichdi, the humble food of India has occupied headlines in 2017 for a healthy reason. In an attempt to conspicuously inscribe the nutritious Indian cuisine on the international menu, the government of India promoted Khichdi, the rice and lentil dish, as Brand India food.

At the World Food India 2017 fest, organized by the Ministry of Food Processing on 4th of November, the culinary heritage of India was highlighted. An extravagant rendition of the dish was prepared and served to 60K orphans and the guests who graced the ceremony.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Minister of Food Processing Industries of India, briefed her ministry's plan to globally declare Khichdi as a healthy, delicious, economical and easy to make dish from India 

One of India’s best chefs, Sanjeev Kapoor along with his team prepared 918 kilograms of Khichdi. It created a mark in the Guinness Book of World Records. A large kadhai (wok) with the capacity of 1000 liters and a diameter of 7 feet was used to achieve the feat. After a 3 month long planning and preparation, the largest portion of this nutritious meal was prepared in front of a live audience. Prepared with 125 kg rice, 45 kg moong dal, 20 kg vegetables, 6.5 kg salt, and several kilograms of jowar and bajra, this mammoth serving was promoted as a symbol of India’s unity in diversity. Baba Ramdev quoted that Khichdi is a super energy food and is a source of nutrients for both poor and rich.

This protein rich meal is known with different names in stately kitchens across the country. In Karnataka it is called ‘bisi bele bath’ and in Tamil Nadu people love to recharge with ‘Pongal’. It is known as Khichdi in Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal. Being a simple wholesome meal, it is the first solid food that is introduced to babies. It is easy to digest and is often consumed as detoxifying food. It serves as good weight loss recipe as it is loaded with a lot of fiber and protein.

The history of Khichdi

The origin of Khichdi goes back to the 13th century. Greek ambassadors who came to India have referred to this dish as combination of rice and pulses cooked together till mushy and tempered with mild spices. It was often called as a peasant’s evening meal. During the period of Mughals, it attained an exalted status. The chefs from the royal kitchen borrowed it from the humble household and made it a gourmet meal. They added richness by including clarified butter, spices and dry fruits. When British ruled India, they gave their own adaptation by using eggs and meat. They termed it as Kedgeree.

India’s closeness with the dish has been known since ages. This underestimated meal has nailed its significance in all kitchens right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Thus, it wouldn’t be a mistake to call Khichdi as the food of ‘Brand India’.