I am cooking khichari, often the food (rice and dal)
burns on the
bottom. What am I doing wrong?
Name witheld, The Netherlands
you may not be doing anything wrong. Khichari sticks very easily.
The drier the khichari (in other words, the less water), the
easier it is to stick, as a rule.
There are a three other main factors: the intensity of
the heat, the type of pot and the thickness of the pot's
base. I always choose a pot with the heaviest base for cooking
khichari, and I always try to cook it on the lowest heat practical.
Stainless-steel pots are poor conductors of heat, and food sticks
in them more easily than in pots made from other materials.
To avoid mishaps, especially towards the end when the khichari
starts to thicken, I always stir regularly with a flat-topped
wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot firmly. Once there
is a build-up of dal, and especially the starch from the rice, on
the bottom of the pot, sticking occurs quickly, and sometimes the
sticking leads to burning, a worse-case scenario.
So in a nut-shell: make sure the khichari is not too dry, avoid
too high a heat under the pot, avoid thin-based pots, choose a pot
with good heat conducting abilities, and stir often.
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