A few years back, I had shared with you all my mom’s signature concoction. It is hands down the best dish my mom makes and I just LOVE it.
As I was thinking of a topic for writing a post for Mother’s Day this year, I remembered that post, her classic recipe and all the wonderful memories associated with it. I decided to treat myself to some khichadi for lunch, but soon realized that I was out of the key ingredient, sabudana. There was, however, a box of sabudana-like ingredient in my pantry, the Israeli couscous!
…And that’s how my mom’s signature concoction got reinvented!
I had a lot fun playing in the kitchen that afternoon, recreating traditional flavors using some new ingredients and new techniques. I had a bag of colorful tiny potatoes that I thought would be a perfect addition to the dish, just the way my mom does sometimes; she adds cubes of boiled potatoes to make a heartier khichadi.
My mom also serves the dish with a side of cucumber raita made by tossing diced cucumber, fresh cilantro, grated coconut and crushed peanuts in a simple dressing made with lemon juice, salt and sugar. I love to spoon a good amount of that raita over my khichadi and it takes it to a whole new level!
For my experiment, I recreated all the flavors by cooking the couscous in lemon water, using whole boiled tiny potatoes and then sticking to my mom’s classic recipe. In place of the raita, I simply spread a generous amount of diced cucumber over the khichadi and it added a nice, refreshing crunch as I relished every bite. Ultimately, I loved the outcome and thought that I was successful at reinventing the classic dish!
1 cup Israeli couscous
8-10 tiny or baby potatoes (optional)
¾ cup roasted peanut powder (see concoctions 101 for the recipe)
¼ cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen, thawed) + some for garnish
1 tsp sugar
3-4 tbsp oil (canola, vegetable, sunflower or corn) or ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp cumin seeds
cilantro/coriander, for garnish
2 baby/Persian cucumbers, diced
Fill a small pot with water. Squeeze 1/2 of the lemon into it, add generous amount of salt and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the Israeli couscous and cook until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a bowl.
Combine roasted peanut powder, grated coconut, salt and sugar along with the cooked couscous and mix well. Let it sit for a bit till you prepare the rest.
If using, boil the potatoes and have them ready.
Heat oil/ghee in a kadhai, wok or deep sauté pan over medium high and add cumin seeds. When the seeds start to splutter, add the potatoes and sauté for a couple of mins.
Add the couscous mixture and stir to mix it in well with the potatoes. Adjust the seasonings. Stir in the lemon juice and sprinkle some water, if needed. Cover and simmer for 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally.
Garnish with diced cucumbers and chopped cilantro and serve warm.