Balaee: Kala Chana Khichdi Cooked in Buttermilk from Himachal Pradesh

Khichdi is such a comfort food for all Indians and there are so many variations of it across the length and breadth of India. Today I present Balaee, a khichdi made with rice, chana, and buttermilk in the Kangra Valley region of Himachal Pradesh.

Balaee - Khichdi with Chana and Cooked in Buttermilk
Balaee – Khichdi with Chana and Cooked in Buttermilk

I found this recipe in Divya Sud Qureshi‘s Flavours from the Kangra Valley, and jumped at a chance to make it because I saw how creamy khichdi is when buttermilk is used as the cooking medium when I made Moong Dal Palak Khichdi Cooked with Buttermilk.

I tried this recipe this past week and must say it will become a regular in our home now along with other Kangra Valley recipes such as Raintha and Mandra.

How to Make Balaee: A Rice and Kala Chana Khichdi

Serves: 4

Soaking Time: 8 to 12 Hours

Cooking Time: 30 Mins

Ingredients

  1. Rice – 1 Cup
  2. Kala Chana – 2/3 Cup
  3. Onion – 1 Large
  4. Butter Milk – 3 Cups
  5. Coriander Seeds – 2 tsp
  6. Cumin Seeds – 3/4 tsp
  7. Fenugreek Seeds – 1/3 tsp
  8. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  9. Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
  10. Ghee – 2 tsp
  11. Salt to Taste

Soaking the Chana

  1. Wash and soak the chana in 2 cups water for at least 8 hours.
  2. Drain the water and set aside the soaked chana.

Preparing the Rice

  1. Wash and soak the rice in water for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the water and set aside the soaked rice.

Preparing the Masala

  1. Dry roast the coriander seeds till they just start to change colour. Set aside to cool.
  2. Dry roast the cumin seeds till they just start to change colour. Set aside to cool.
  3. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds till they just start to change colour. Set aside to cool.
  4. Grind together the coriander, cumin, and fenugreek to a fine powder.

Method to Make Balaee

  1. Peel and thinly slice the onion.
  2. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the ghee.
  3. Add the thinly sliced onions and 1/4 tsp salt.
  4. Fry till the onion turns light brown.
  5. Add the masala powder, red chilli powder, and turmeric.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Add the drained rice and saute for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the drained kala chana.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Add the butter milk and 2/3 tsp salt.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Over medium flame, cook covered while mixing occasionally till the rice and chana are cooked.
    Or
    Pressure cook for 4 whistles.
  13. Season with salt, if required.
  14. Mix well.
  15. Serve Balaee hot with a generous dollop of ghee.
Balaee - Khichdi from Himachal Pradesh
Balaee – Khichdi from Himachal Pradesh

Tips

  • I pressure cooked this Khichdi because I wanted the Kala Chana to cook well.
  • You can also add 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic while frying the onions. I did not.
  • I used browned onions and coriander as a garnish for the Balaee. The original recipe did not call for that. 🙂