I saw a dream… It was dark all around… A ray of hope and light, falls on a bowl with some yellow component in it. I am wondering what is this ? Suddenly that bowl starts talking to me.
“Hi dear… How are you feeling now ?”
(Just to update you, I had a very bad stomach before my sleep. I had to manage with a couple of homeopathy and Allopathy medicines).
I am still not sure about what I am visualising. I try to look more firmly and try to understand the situation.
The darkness fades, and now I can see a king’s court. And this bowl is actually hanging over a flame. From the whole scene, I can make up something like Akbar-Birbal story. In my dream, I am happy that now I know it is actually the ‘Khichadi’.
(We all remember Birbal ki Khichadi episode from history. In between, let me take this opportunity to recite the story here.)
On a cold winter day, Akbar and Birbal took a walk along the lake. A thought came to Birbal that a man would do anything for money. Akbar said, “I don’t think a man would spend an entire night in the cold water of this lake for money.” Birbal replied, “I am sure I can find such a person.” Akbar then challenged Birbal to find such a person and if he spend the night in this cold water, he would reward the person with a thousand gold coins.
Birbal searched far and wide until he found a poor man. The poor man entered the lake and Akbar had guards to make sure that he really did as promised. The next morning the guards took the poor man to Akbar. Akbar asked the poor man how he managed to spend the night in the lake. The poor man replied that there was a street lamp nearby and he kept his attention affixed on the lamp and away from the cold. Akbar then said that there would be no reward as the poor man had survived the night in the lake by the warmth of the street lamp. The poor man went to Birbal for help.
The next day, Birbal did not go to court. The king sent a messenger to his home. The messenger came back saying that Birbal would come once his Khichri was cooked. The king waited hours but Birbal did not come.
Finally, the king decided to go to Birbal’s house and see what he was up to. He found Birbal sitting on the floor near some burning twigs and a bowl filled with Khichri hanging five feet above the fire. Akbar then said to Birbal “How can the Khichri be cooked if it is so far away from the fire?” Birbal answered, “The same way the poor man received heat from a street lamp that was more than a furlong away.” The King understood his mistake and gave the poor man his reward.
Anyways, coming back to my dream, the khichadi in the bowl starts moving up in the air.
And you won’t believe, it was actually talking to me.
“I come from a very orthodox family… My ancestors used to cook me with Lentils (dal) and Rice (chawal) with a bit of salt and turmeric. Eat me only after adding lots of ghee. It can even be complemented by adding curd, yogurt, pickles or vegetables. These are actually considered as my best friends.”
I tried to ignore it. But, it was coming on to me, entering my mouth. I am trying not to open my mouth. But, that Khichadi thing is not stopping at all. I am all drenched with Khichadi in next few seconds.
And off course, I get up with a very bad feeling.
Now I can’t sleep for some time and was wondering what kind of dream it was.
Actually, it was a realisation. With our fast paced modern lifestyle, we have no space for some good, healthy food options.
Many of you, who don’t prefer to eat khichadi, can’t deny the fact that Khichadi is the best option, if you want to eat healthy and give your stomach a break from the fast food.
For last few days, I am feeling that my tummy is neither sleeping, nor laughing. It is in complaint mode. It is asking me to give it some rest, not from food but from the menu.
No more fried, fast food… no more dal-roti… no more halwa-poori… And after this dream, I can make out, that it is looking for the most simple, subtle and sensible dish of the world. And that is ‘Khichadi’.
No doubt, Khichadi is considered to be ‘Beemaron Wala Khana’ (food for sick people). But, at the same time, It is one of the first foods that babies eat. It sounds contradictory, then why we make ‘beemaron wala khana’, our babies first food.
In the middle of the night I started reading about khichadi on internet. Guess what I found.
Well, Khichadi has an ayurvedic angle to it.And knowing this you can easily make out why it is the first food of a kid and best food for all age groups, irrespective of caste, religion, gender, etc.
As we all must be aware of that human beings are a part of nature.
They are made of three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environment – Movement Known in Sanskrit as Vatt (wind or air and space), Transformation known in Sanskrit as Pitta(Fire and a little water) and Structure known in Sanskrit as Kapha (Earth and water). These three primary forces are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body. Ayurvedic experts believe that it is important to know our dosha before deciding on the food that we eat. It actually means a lot. One food is good for one kind of dosha, other is for the other kind of dosha. Regularising food not according to your taste or preference but according to your dosha, sounds hillarious, but it is the fact. So, you have to be choosy while eating. ***(I would update how to recognise your dosha and what to eat according to that in next few write-ups.) ***No such conditions apply on Khichadi.
Khichadi is the most beneficial dish one can ever think of. Best part is Khichadi is appreciated for its ability to balance all the vital elements or the three doshas : Vatt, Pitta, and Kapha.
How khichadi manages so much ?
Well, It is rich in carbohydrates because of the rice used and it is rich in proteins because of the lentils used. Adding up vegetables while preparing khichadi, provides appropriate amount of macronutrients, proteins, complex carbohydrates and minerals. Also, adding ghee to khichadi improves the nutritional flavour. Khichadi manages Vatt and Kapha which helps in increasing energy, providing immunity and Pitta to stimulate digestive enzymes. Thus, it not only calms the digestive system, but also detoxifies it and improves digestion.
Khichadi is now the unofficial National Dish of India.
History… No mystery
‘Khichadi’ word is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Khicca’, which means a dish of rice and legumes.
1. Ibn Batuta, the famous Moroccan traveller who visited India in the 14th century, wrote, “Munj is boiled with rice, then buttered and eaten. This is what they call Kishri, and on this, they breakfast every day.” Here by moonj, he must be referring to moong. Russian traveller Nikitin described about Khichdi being eaten by people in south India in 15th century. In 17th century, French tourist-writer Tavernier, wrote that khichdi was a popular evening meal in Indian homes.
2. We all know Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of Maurya dynasty. Khichadi taught him the most important lesson of his life. He was being defeated again and again while trying to capture Magadh. Tired and exhausted he reached to a hut in the jungle. An old lady welcomed him. He said – “Mother, please spare me some food. I am very hungry.” The old lady served him hot khichadi with ghee. Chandragupta burrowed his fingers into the middle of the hot khichadi and then immediately pulled them out. The lady said – “Behaving foolishly like Chandragupta? You dipped your hand in the hottest part of your plate – right in the center. Obviously you burnt your fingers. You should always eat from the sides and slowly move to the centre.” This simple thought opened Chandragupta’s eyes. He understood the reason for his repeated failures. Now he started by conquering border provinces like Punjab and then moved towards the center. Eventually, Chandragupta became the greatest emperor of ancient India and established the golden rule of the Mauryan dynasty.
Well, Khichadi is on my menu once or twice a month. But now onwards, I would make sure to make one or the other kind of khichadi once every day. This way khichadi recipe would repeat itself after almost 64 day, as there are 64 different variants of Khichadi known to man.
The morning after the bad dream, you know what was the first thing that I did ?
I got up and cooked Khichadi, in a very desi yet modern style. Stuffed it with vegetables and garnished it with ginger and green coriander. You won’t believe, the whole family had an awesome time having Khichadi in breakfast. I have added khichadi once in a day, in my menu list.
Now onwards, no more bad dreams and no more stomach complaints. You can try it as well, as no side effects of khichadi can be found till date.