Living in Interesting times – Khichuri or Bengali Risotto

Who would have thought that we could get used to surving without power and heat without a week and get used to it.  We are still without power, with some respite over the weekend, in my brother-in-law’s house. What a difference a hot shower and warmth makes.

The least I can say is that we live in interesting times. Monday was a strange feeling, we spent the day with winds howling around us, and hearing the branches snap through the day. My anxious husband kept wanting to get out there to tend to the plants, finally realizing that it was an exercise in futility. I sat downstairs with the cat, and then the lights went of, cutting us off from the world and civilization. I woke up after a cold and bundled night and took refuge in the comfort of the rituals around the kitchen. I turned to my favorite red lentil, my emotional comfort cornerstone.


  • 1 cup dried orange/red split lentils (masoor dal)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ⅔ cup rice (preferably kala jeera)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-cumin-coriander paste (page 14)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower florettes
  • 1/2 cup green frozen green peas
  • 3 or 4 green chilies, slit halfway lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Read the whole recipe on Cooking in Westchester