Durga Puja Bhog Khichuri with Labra and Beguni

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Durga Puja is a significant Hindu festival celebrated enthusiastically, particularly in West Bengal and other parts of India. One of the essential aspects of this festival is the offering of bhog (prasad) to the goddess and the subsequent distribution of this delicious food to the devotees. A popular dish that is often prepared during Durga Puja is “Khichuri” or “Khichdi,” along with some accompaniments like “Labra” (mixed vegetable curry) and “Beguni” (deep-fried eggplant slices). Here’s a recipe for Khichuri:

Khichuri Recipe:
Ingredients for Khichuri:

1 cup rice
1/2 cup yellow split peas (mung dal)
1/2 cup mixed vegetables (potatoes, cauliflower, peas, carrots)
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
2-3 green chilies, slit
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 cloves
2-3 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
Salt to taste

For Labra:

1 cup mixed vegetables (potatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, radish, etc.)
1/2 cup sliced okra (bhindi)
1/2 cup mustard oil
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2-3 green chilies, slit
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For Beguni:

1 large eggplant, thinly sliced
1 cup gram flour (besan)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Durga Puja Bhog Khichuri with Labra and Beguni

For Khichuri:

Wash and rinse the rice and split peas together. Soak them for 30 minutes and then drain.

Heat ghee in a large pot or pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. Sauté for a minute until fragrant.

Add the chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent.

Add ginger, garlic, and green chilies. Sauté for another couple of minutes.

Add the mixed vegetables and cook for a few minutes.

Add the drained rice and split peas, along with turmeric powder and salt. Mix everything well.

Add enough water to cover the ingredients, and then a little more. You can adjust the consistency according to your preference.

Close the lid of the pressure cooker without the weight and cook for about 3-4 whistles or until the khichuri is well-cooked. If you’re using a regular pot, simmer and cook until the rice and dal are soft, adding water if necessary.

For Labra:

Heat mustard oil in a deep pan or kadai until it starts smoking.

Lower the heat and add nigella seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds. Sauté for a minute.

Add the mixed vegetables, okra, green chilies, turmeric, and salt. Cook on low heat until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

For Beguni:

In a mixing bowl, combine gram flour, turmeric, red chili powder, asafoetida, and salt.

Add water little by little to form a smooth, thick batter.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan.

Dip the eggplant slices into the batter, making sure they’re well coated and then deep fry them until they are golden brown and crispy.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Serve the Khichuri, Labra, and Beguni together as a delicious Durga Puja meal.

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