The Soothing Flavour of Khichdi

Chef Sam Shem shares his recipe for khichdi and pairs the comfort food with tamarind sauce.

I met Sam when I first moved to Mysore four years ago. I was practising ashtanga yoga under the guidance of Yogacharini R Saraswathi Jois, and Sam was assisting her at the shala. Sam is an authorised ashtanga teacher and a chef. His popular pop-up, Saturday Sweets, is usually held wherever his travels take him, and I got to experience Saturday Sweets in Mysore. Sam has been practising yoga for over 15 years. In 2010, he met his teacher Saraswathi Jois and practises Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, India. Sam teaches food and dessert workshops in both Canada and abroad and his enthusiasm, love for food and his passion for teaching is clear in both his technique and extensive knowledge of food.

Recently, he has been spending time and learning in nature, in the small village of Morjim in Goa. Refining his asana practice and deepening his sadhana with Sharmila Desai and cultivating community via food. Sam’s food is just like him — thoughtful and nurturing. His immaculate styling and attention to detail make his desserts and food look as good as they taste, and I loved spending a day in Goa with Sam as he shared how to make khichdi and tamarind sauce. See the recipes below:

Khichdi

Ingredients

  • 300 gms yellow moong dal
  • 8 cups water
  • 6 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1 pc green chili, split lengthwise
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 20-25 curry leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, medium dice
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 cup carrots, medium dice
  • 1-2 pinch hing aka asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 200 gms rice, washed and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped and loosely packed
  • 1 cup water (optional)
  • 4-5 tsp ghee
  • 20-30 cashews, lightly fried in ghee

Method

1. Dry roast the yellow moong dal in a frying pan on medium flame until golden brown. Set aside.

2. In a medium pot, add oil and fry cumin first.

3. Add green chilli, garlic, curry leaves, onion, peas, hing and turmeric powder (one by one). Fry for 5-10 minutes on low flame.

4. Add roasted yellow moong dal and washed rice. Mix until combined.

5. Add the 8 cups of water into the pot and mix.

6. Add salt and cilantro leaves. Cover and cook.

7. If you are using a pressure cooker, just wait for 1 whistle, otherwise it will take 45 minutes (15-20 min on high flame then rest of the time on low flame). Add the last cup of water and bring to boil if a more loose consistency is preferred.

8. Before serving, fry cashews in ghee until lightly brown. Spoon the khichdi into bowls and just before serving add a spoon of ghee, a few spoons of tamarind sauce, a sprinkle of cashews and top with coriander.

Tamarind Sauce (for Khichdi)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ medium onion, small dice
  • 20 curry leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 pinches hing
  • 1/4 cup tamarind paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup jaggery
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Method

1. Heat oil and ghee in a pan on medium heat. Add cumin and fry for a few seconds until light brown and fragrant.

2. Add onion. Add curry leaves. Fry till onions are light brown.

3. Add hing and then add tamarind paste. Mix.

5. Then add water and jaggery and stir until combined. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes and then turn off heat.

6. Add cilantro leaves and set aside until needed.

To find out more about Sam, you can follow him on his Instagram @saturday_sweets

March 19, 2020
Photos Simon Meier
Recipes & styling by Sam Shem

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