Kitcheree; a brief history and overview.
A brief history and overview
Kitcheree has many ways to spell it in English and an infinite variety of ways to make it.
One can find it spelled Khichri,Khichadi,Khichdee,Kitchadee,Kichuree, Khishree,Khichidi, kisuri, Kitchree and Kitcheree. These various spellings have to do with the transliterations of the dishes name in the various regional languages throughout India.
All these basically refer to a one pot meal using rice and legumes. It is one of those dishes where one can add to the pot whatever one has on hand. Each region of India has a special way of making it. There are at least 50 different types of dal (pulses ) grown in various regions of India. Any of these can be used , with various types of rice, to make Kitcheree. Then , whatever vegetables are in season can be added for flavor and nutrition, as well as many various combinations of herbs and spices. Therefore it can manifest as literally an infinite variety of flavors and textures. Often each family in India will pass down a special blend of spices they use in many dishes that can vary within each village, let alone regions.
Kitcheree, in it's simplest and blandest form, is often the first solid food given to a baby, and is also a dish that very old people who have lost their teeth can enjoy. It is a food often given to people who are sick, or simply feeling out of balance or harmony. It can be a simple and bland, or as rich and spicy as the maker wishes. It is easily digestible and easy to make. It can be used as a healing mono-diet , a rich party dish ,or a delicious food sent to the fields for farmers. It is flexible and forgiving, therefore its popularity. It is also an excellent meal to feed large numbers of people. My son, myself ,and crew have made it for thousands at various festivals and music events in the United States. I predict that it will become the dish of choice for disaster relief and free kitchens in the future due to its highly nutritious nature and ease of preparation and serving. That is why we are so eager to introduce it to a wider audience in the West.
It is a very ancient dish and has been referred to in the writings of the Greek King Selecus during his campaign in India in from 305-303 BC. It is mentioned in several accounts from the time of the Emperor Akbar , the Mugal leader and many other points in Indian history. In 2017 , the Indian media basically were promoting it as the national dish of India . However the government refrained from declaring it, or any food , as the national dish.
My first encounter with it was in the 1970's when it was introduced by Yogi Bhajan to his students. He declared it , "The dish that will usher in the age of Aquarius." It was featured in the Golden Temple vegetarian restaurants at the time, which sprang up in many U.S. and European cities. I first learned to make it in one of these restaurants in Washington D.C. in the 70's and continued the tradition, as owner of the Golden Temple Restaurant in Amsterdam, where I kept refining and tweaking the recipe to my own liking. That is the basic recipe that we are offering in our online store. www.kitchereehouse.com.
This recipe was adapted to the convenience of the Instant Pot as well as crock pots and of course, the traditional stovetop preparation. We hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing from our customers with valuable feedback.
Chef Mata Mandir Singh