The thought of ‘healthy foods’ fills my heart with trepidation. For all the love I have for food, I am particular about the taste, texture, sight of food, and there have been instances where I’ve refused to eat or been unable to finish food placed in front of me because I’ve
– Disliked the look of the food
– Been unable to stand the texture of the food
– Did not like the taste and aftertaste
The instances have reduced over time, but I cannot deny that the ‘condition’ (as a friend called it) persists. And that is one reason I don’t like messing around with the grain on my plate. I am a rice person – the white rice kind (horrors!) – and I would prefer to stick to it, thank you very much.
But occasionally, there are specific rice substitute preparations that hit just the right note – in look, taste, and texture – that make me add them to my mental ‘can be cooked again’ list. The recipe I’m sharing today is one that has been etched firmly in this mental list, and the credit lies with the lovely Bhumika Udernani. A former schoolmate and collegemate and now a professional mate (is that a term?), Bhumika is an avid traveller and an advocate of ‘healthy and tasty’ food. It was the ‘traveller’ bit that had me turning to Bhumika, seeking a contribution to the ‘comfort food I return home to’ series. If you’ve missed the first recipe of this series, do read Sesame Egg Noodles – I promise you’ll be whisking that in your kitchen today!
MEMORIES THAT TIE US TO FOOD
Coming back to Bhumika…
Our conversation about the series and the particular recipe for Chicken Dalia she shared led us to talk about the reasons why she loves this dish and where she picked it up from. In Bhumika’s words…
“The Chicken Dalia is a one-pot meal that comes together in under 30 minutes. Perfect for post vacation, when you don’t wish to spend too much time in the kitchen. The recipe, to be honest, was the result of a happy accident. I wanted to eat something khichdi-like but minus the rice. I thought, why not try something with the dalia (broken wheat) that I had discovered in my pantry during Diwali cleanup. And so, it happened – some veggies, some frozen chicken and dalia came together to create a recipe that has become one of our most comforting foods,” says the creative writer.
Ask her to share a fond memory related to this food, and she gives an insight into her and her husband’s life: “As a couple, we have a weekend routine. We love to eat our afternoon meal with some Vividh Bharati playing in the background, followed with an old Hindi movie on YouTube. A Sunday meal with this Chicken Dalia, some of our favourite old Hindi songs playing on the radio, as the winter sunbathed our living room remains one of my fondest memories.”
The recipe for this Chicken Dalia Khichdi – as I prefer to call it – is one that can be added to the beginner’s arsenal of recipes to master! That’s how easy it is. All you need is some dalia (also called broken wheat and bulgur), some boneless chicken and some vegetables. Sauté and pressure cook – and you’ve got a plate of heartiness to tuck into. A few things to consider and remember
– For those who prefer vegetarian meals, I’d recommend double the vegetable portion for a Vegetable Dalia Khichdi.
– If you don’t have Kitchen King Masala Mix, season your khichdi with ¼ teaspoon each of roasted coriander powder and roasted cumin powder. The taste will be different, but I promise it’ll be good.
– Measuring water for pressure cooking is a challenge. The traditional Indian way of doing it is dipping the index finger into the cooker till the tip touches the levelled ingredients. And then pouring water till the the middle line of your middle finger. till required. If you are adept at it, then go till the first two finger lines.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as the parents and I did – there was pin-drop silence at the lunch table as we tucked into this with delight. So do give it a shot, share a photo on social media and tag me at @from.the.corner.table
For more exciting recipes and other stories, subscribe to the newsletter (form in the right margin of this page). I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. Also, you might want to check out this amazing recipe for a High-Protein Millet Salad Bhumika had shared on the blog earlier. For some more recipes, check out her Instagram handle @limeandlettuce and for some travel photographs, check out @bhu.mi.ka
- 250 grams Boneless Chicken
- 1/2 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Curd
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 cup Dalia/Broken Wheat/Bulgur
- 1 Onion (chopped)
- 1 ½ tablespoon Ghee
- 1 cup Mixed vegetables (diced)
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 Bay leaf
- ½ inch Cinnamon stick
- 4-5 Peppercorns
- 2 Cloves
- ½ teaspoon Kitchen King Masala Mix
- 1 Dried Red Chilli
- Salt (to taste)
- Red chilli powder (to taste)
- 3 cups Water
- Clean and wash the boneless chicken.
- Whisk together curd, lemon juice, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder in a bowl. Pour over the chicken, mix well and set aside.
Wash the dalia thoroughly. Soak in 1 cup water and set aside.
- Choose vegetables of choice – I used cauliflower, green peas, carrots – dice and set aside.
In a pressure cooker, add ghee and let it heat to the cooking point.
- Add the whole spices and cook for a few seconds, till aromatic.
Add chopped onion and garlic. Sauté till the onion is translucent.
- Add the vegetables, sauté for a minute.
- Add the marinated chicken. Mix well.
Season with Kitchen King Masala Mix, salt to taste, red chilli powder and cook till the chicken has softened and you can see the protein releasing water.
Add the dalia and mix well.
- Pour in 1 and a half cup of water. Stir, cover and cook on high flame for 20 minutes or 4-5 whistles.
Open the cooker after the steam has escaped. Add a dollop of ghee and serve hot with whisked curd, pickles and papad.
- For a vegetarian version, double the vegetable portion to 2 cups.
- If you don’t have Kitchen King Masala Mix, season your khichdi with ¼ teaspoon each of roasted coriander powder and roasted cumin powder.
- To adjust the consistency of Chicken Dalia Khichdi once it is cooked; cook in open on high flame to thicken; add ½ cup (or more if needed) of hot water to loosen the consistency.