Celebrating the Romance of Rice and Pulse
Pushpesh Pant
KHICHDI: AN ANCIENT, CULTURAL AND HEALTHY TRADITION by By Kusum Jain Primus books, 2024, 296 pp., INR 995.00
June 2024, volume 48, No 6

Khichdi is an idea whose time has come. Ever since NaMo, the Indian Prime Minister disclosed that it was his favourite dish and put it on the menus of state banquets hosted by him, fans and followers have been bending forward, falling backward to claim that they too love it no less. None should be surprised if it is soon declared the National Dish of India. But we digress.

As in life, so in the realm of food, hierarchy rules. Among rice dishes, biryani is perched at the pinnacle with exotic pulaos just one step down. In this scheme of things, khichdi lies prostrate at the bottom of the pyramid. It may be foundational, but is looked down upon by most of us as a poor man staple, cheap and insipid. Snide remarks are made about the poor thing all the time. When someone overhears a whispered conversation the reaction is, ‘Kya Khichdi pak rahi hai? (What conspiracy is being hatched?)’

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