Food offers a kind of comfort that only a few other things do. This is true even for a humble dish like a simple home-cooked meal of khichdi, made with rice, dal, laden with dollops of ghee, that can almost immediately elevate one’s mood. It is perhaps with this intent that a cloud kitchen based in Kolkata, called Khichdi Khichri, for the last five years has been doing just that.
Founded by Madhu Kandoi (60) in 2017, this cloud kitchen today serves more than 30 different kinds of khichdi, along with an array of vegetables and raita. “When I started a few years ago, the food that most people seemed to order were pizza, pasta, and burgers. I wanted to find a way of bringing back rice into our diet. Making khichdi tasty and something that appealed to the younger generation was my aim,” she tells The Better India.
Khichdi Khichri has representation from all across India on its menu, and Madhu says that over the years, the inputs she has received from her customers have constantly pushed her to innovate and add more types of khichdi.
Starting with 12 kinds of khichdi, dishes such as Bissi Bela Bath, Mushroom Khichdi, and the Thayir Sadam (curd rice) from the south were later added to the menu. With an initial investment of over Rs 1.5 lakhs, Madhu says that the business has picked up well, especially during holidays and festivals.
“During Durga Pujo, we have sales of over Rs 50,000 per day,” she says, adding, “Sundays is also a day when people order in a lot.” The bestsellers here include the simple Maa’s Khichdi which is priced at Rs 80 per handi and the Bhog Er Khichdi priced at Rs 155. Each order is sent out with a tomato khajoor (dates) chutney and papad as an accompaniment.
Madhu uses nine different varieties of rice, which include govind bhog, basmati, organic raw brown rice, parboiled brown rice, Dehraduni basmati rice and the Siddho rice amongst others. “No two khichdi dishes that we make will taste the same. The flavours in each one is different and nothing is pre-made. We start getting the khichdi ready only once an order is placed. That way it remains fresh and we are able to deliver a handi full of flavor,” she says,
While everything was going smoothly, business came to a standstill in March last year.
Madhu says, “While we were not serving our regular customers, more than 2000 handis of khichdi were made and sent out to serve the needy across the city.” Even today, come Sunday, food is collected by the Robinhood army group and distributed amongst those who need it across Kolkata.
Yet another USP of this establishment is their consciousness towards the environment. There is absolutely no plastic that is used for packaging. All the food that leaves the kitchen is packed in clay pots, which are also microwaveable and Oven Toaster Grill (OTG)-friendly. Madhu says, “The spoons we send out are also wooden and not plastic.”
“We try and ensure that the food reaches you hot so that there is no need for one to use the microwave or OTG to reheat the khichdi.”
Drinks like shikanji (lime juice) and buttermilk are packed in earthen pots. “We also refrain from using processed sugar. Only jaggery is used in our desserts and drinks,” she adds.
Asked what her personal favourite dish is, she says, “Ven Pongal and the Satvik Khichdi, which is filled with the goodness of pure homemade ghee.”
If you are in Kolkata and would like to try Khichdi Khichri’s specials, you can call +91-98303 00183.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)
Feature image credits: Twitter/Ajit Anjum