Birbal ki Khichdi

Birbal ki Khichdi

Have you heard the tale of Akbar’s wise minister Birbal and his Birbal ki Khichdi? I grew up listening to bedtime stories about Akbar & Birbal. Birbal was a clever man, his wit and wisdom was well known in Akbar’s kingdom. He was Akbar’s advisor, he had a simple solution for every problem in the kingdom.

Birbal was the only one who could even teach the King a lesson when he was wrong just by using his wit. One such famous tale about Akbar is called “Birbal ki Khichdi”. This is how the story goes.

One day in winter, Akbar and Birbal were taking a morning walk by the lake, discussing some official matters. Suddenly the king slipped and lost his slipper in the lake. The water was cold that he squealed like a little girl and jumped out of the water. When Birbal giggled at this little mishap, the King, to mask his weakling reaction declared a public dare. Any man who would stand in knee deep water all night in this lake would be given a big reward from the King’s treasure.

A poor man, who needed money to get his three daughters married decided to accept the dare. On a winter evening, he stood all night in knee deep water in the lake to win this reward. When he came in front of the King to claim his reward, the King couldn’t accept his defeat and refused the prize claiming the man had cheated. Akbar said that there was a little lamp lit miles away, at a window in his palace. This man was warming himself up by looking at that lamp all night, and so was he did not deserve the prize.

The man hurt and helpless went away. Akbar was happy that he had outsmarted Birbal this time, and he wouldn’t have to pay the man. Birbal was not one to stand such injustice. He decided to teach Akbar a lesson.

The following day, Birbal did not come to the Darbar. He sent word to the King saying that he would come once he had cooked and eaten his Khichdi. When many hours passed Akbar felt angry and frustrated and decided to go by the lake himself, where Birbal was cooking this khichdi all morning. Akbar was shocked at what he saw.

Birbal had lit a small lamp on the ground and tied a pot of khichdi to a long bamboo over it. The bamboo was really long and it was impossible to cook the khichdi that way. Akbar frustrated to see this said to Birbal, “this is ridiculous Birbal! It is impossible to cook the khichdi from that far.”

Birbal smiled and said to Akbar, “Why my King? If an old man can warm himself with a little lamp far, far away, then why can’t my khichdi cook on this bamboo?”

Akbar realised his mistake right away, he smiled and agreed to pay the old man who had stood all night in the lake. And so, once again, Birbal saved the day.

Since the day I heard this story as a five year old, I’ve been fascinated by what Birbal ki Khichdi would taste like. Slow cooked, rich with lots of ghee, gooey and beautifully garnished for the King and his ministers. Here’s my recipe for Birbal ki Khichdi.


Kriti Saxena
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Kriti Saxena

Author at FoodmantraTV
A food journalist and researcher. Food, for me, is therapy, emotional and physical. Like you, I was born to eat, I ended up learning how to cook because I love to eat. I use natural foods to make easy, tasty food. Together, let's try to balance what we WANT to eat versus what is good for our body and mind.
Kriti Saxena
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Birbal ki Khichdi
Slow cooked, rich with lots of ghee, gooey and beautifully garnished for the King. Here's my recipe for Birbal ki Khichdi with 6 different garnishes and toppings. This recipe has a smoky flavour with dungar given with chillies!
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 3 hours
Passive Time 12 for slow cooker
Servings
cups
Ingredients
For the Dum Khichdi
Topping 1
Topping 2
Topping 3
Topping 4
Topping 5
Topping 6
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 3 hours
Passive Time 12 for slow cooker
Servings
cups
Ingredients
For the Dum Khichdi
Topping 1
Topping 2
Topping 3
Topping 4
Topping 5
Topping 6
Instructions
Dum Khichdi
  1. Mix and soak the dals and rice for 2 hours. Then wash and drain out the water.
  2. In a heavy copper bottom vessel, add the soaked dal rice mixture along with 3 cups of water.
  3. Add 1/4 cup ghee, turmeric, salt, garlic and red chilli powder. Mix well.
  4. Line the copper vessel with a heavy, flat tava and cover it with a fitted lid. Place a heavy weight on the lid so no heat can escape. Turn on the heat on high and allow it to cook on high heat for 10 minutes or till you hear bubbling sound.
  5. Open the lid and add the remaining half cup of ghee, mix well. Cover with a fitted lid again and place a heavy weight on top of it. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 3 hours. Check every 20 minutes, stir to avoid sticking. Add ghee if the khichdi starts sticking to the bottom.
  6. For SLOW COOKER, Simply add all the above ingredients, cover with a lid and cook on the lowest setting for 12 hours or overnight.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a steel bowl until it is piping hot. Place it in the khichdi, add whole red chillies and cover with a fitted lid. Place some heavy weight over it. This ghee can be poured into the khichdi to flavour it. Mix well.
Toppings
  1. Divide the khichdi into 6 equal portions.
  2. Top the first portion with mixed nuts and dried fruits fried in ghee and fresh pomegranate.
  3. Top the second portion with garlic tossed in cornstarch and fried, raw spinach, thinly sliced and few drops of raw mustard oil.
  4. For the third portion, prepare an onion tomato salad with whisked curd and place it on the khichdi along with green chilli.
  5. For the fourth part, add onion sliced and fried in ghee until golden brown, along with a sprig of mint.
  6. Top the fifth portion with a roasted urad dal papad brushed with ghee and sprinkle red chilli powder on top.
  7. For the sixth portion, simply steam green peas and toss them with chaat masala. Place these to top the khichdi.
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