The Ancient and Enduring Story of Khichdi: From Vedic Literature to Modern Times

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    The Khichdi has a rich history dating back to Vedic literature, where it was known as Khicca and consisted of rice and lentils. This comfort food is a staple in most Indian homes and has become one of India's most enduring culinary exports. What's fascinating about khichdi is that it has an incredible number of sweet and savory variations that are both delicious and healthy. It's a dish for all seasons, found in different forms like khichuri in West Bengal, bisibelebhat in Karnataka, and ven pongal in Tamil Nadu.

    History of Khichadi

    Historian Mohsina Mukadam has described khichdi as "the most ancient food in India, yet one that has hardly changed over the years." The name khichdi comes from the Sanskrit word khiccā, which means a dish of rice and lentils. Even in Vedic literature, rice was paired with various ingredients like milk, curd, and sesame (til) to make Krusaranna.

    The oldest evidence of khichdi being prepared in India dates back 2000 years, as archaeologists excavating the site of Ter in Maharashtra in 2015 found two large pots with burnt particles of rice and green gram (moong dal) cooked together.

    Over time, the Mughals gave this common dish a gourmet appeal, serving it to the royals. According to food historian Pushpesh Pant, Akbar had it served to Prince Salim when he returned victorious from a campaign in Gujarat, and it was given the name lazizaan (the delicious) in the Imperial kitchen. Khichdi truly is a dish that has stood the test of time, with its ancient roots and countless variations still enjoyed by millions of people today.

    Did You Know?

    A rakabdar (chef) employed by the Nawab of Lucknow in the 19th century was famous for making khichdi from pistachios shaped like lentils and almonds cut to look like grains of rice.

    Since khichdi lends itself to a variety of flavors, a popular phrase in India is ‘Khichdi ke chaar yaar- dahi, papad, ghee aur achaar’.

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