Kichdi has many names. Some call it Khichri, while others call it Kissuri or Koshary. This South Asian porridge is a delicacy all over the Indian subcontinent and generally prepared with rice, lentils, and grains. Enriched with carbohydrates, the regional staple is absolute comfort during sickness, good health, and Ramadan. Several variations in preparations depend on the region you eat it in. Muslims and non-Muslims from the subcontinent generally prepare it with rice, lentils, and minced meat (for non-vegetarians). Among Bangladeshi families, a garnishing of ghee (clarified butter) and fried onions is very popular in a bowl of soupy Kichdi.
The perfect comfort food
The versatile dish is rich in nutrients and a perfect post-fasting snack to increase energy levels. Its softness is comfortable on the palate and easily digestible, making it a popular food choice for babies and the sick. Cooking Kichdi is an excellent option for those quarantined at home. It requires very little preparation, and the comfort food can dispel any feelings of negativity or weakness during quarantine. However, Kichdi is also a staple for non-Muslims, especially during illnesses and mourning ceremonies.
Nothing like Kichdi
Author Nikesh Shukla writes in his memoir Brown Baby: “Khichdi has become synonymous with wakes. Because it can be mass-produced, because it’s filling and delicious, and it can be made by anyone who might only have a cursory knowledge of your kitchen, taking charge of feeding people because you’re busy mourning.”
Like Nikesh, Fatima Khanom also enjoys the dish and tries to recreate her mother’s and aunt’s classic recipe. “Kissuri is the essence of Ramadan at home with my family. You could have all the delectable dishes from around the world on the table, but nothing quite fills you up with a feeling of warm satisfaction, as does a plate of Kissuri,” says the mother of two.