• STEP 1

    Toast 1 tbsp of the cumin seeds in a small frying pan over a medium heat until the aromas are released. Allow to cool and then put in a coffee or spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. This will make about 4 tsp of ground cumin, of which ½ tsp will be used at the end of the dish. The remainder will keep in an airtight container for up to a week for use in another dish.

  • STEP 2

    Dry toast the moong dhal in a frying pan over a medium heat for about 5 mins. Keep tossing the pan so the dhal does not burn. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

  • STEP 3

    Gently wash the rice under cold water two to three times to remove the starch. Add the dry-roasted moong dhal to the rice and wash once again. Put both in a large ovenproof pan and fill with enough water to come 1½ inches above the rice mixture. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Spoon off any scum that forms on top of the water and discard it.

  • STEP 4

    Stir in the ground turmeric and tomato, return to a simmer, then pour in 500ml water. Return to a rolling simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 20 mins with the lid on. Check the dhal and rice are cooked – they should have merged together to form a porridge-like consistency. Add more water if necessary and simmer for longer. Once cooked, keep on a low heat and add the frozen peas, asafoetida, 1 tsp salt and sugar. Stir in well and keep on a gentle simmer.

  • STEP 5

    Meanwhile, put a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of the ghee, the remaining cumin seeds, bay leaf, dried chilli and crushed cardamom seeds, and allow the aromas to release, taking care not to burn the spices, around 2-3 mins. Add the ginger and cook for 2 mins on a medium heat, stirring constantly so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir the ginger and cumin mixture into the khichdi and simmer for a final 2 mins before removing from the heat. Drop the last ½ tbsp ghee over the top and sprinkle with ½ tsp of the toasted and ground cumin seeds (also known as bhaja moshla). Close the lid until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir well one more time and the khichdi is ready to be served hot. Serve with poppadoms and mango chutney, if you like.

Recipe tips

This is a classic Indian comfort dish that is made in all parts of India. Known for its ayurvedic properties, there are various versions of this dish, using different dhals and vegetables, too. This version is a traditional one that is easy to prepare, comforting and full of flavour.
If you don’t have a spice grinder then use dried cumin – this will affect the flavour a little but you’ll still have a flavoursome dish.

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