First rinse chana dal in fresh water a couple of times. Then soak the chana dal overnight at room temperature or for 4 to 5 hours or soak for 30 minutes in hot water. Also rinse and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Later, strain the chana dal of the water and keep aside.
Cooking chana dal
Heat oil in the stovetop pressure cooker. Lower the heat. Add the red chili powder, asafoetida and salt as required.
Stir and fry for a few seconds. Add the chana dal. Stir and then add 1 cup water.
Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and pressure cook for 1 or 2 whistles or for about 6 minutes. Once the pressure settles down on its own, then only open the lid of the cooker.
The dal should be cooked and also should be separate.
You can also cook the dal for 1 whistle and then check. If not cooked then cook for 1 more whistle. Remember the dal should not be mushy.
Making chana dal khichdi
Drain all the water from the rice and add the rice to the cooked dal in the pressure cooker.
There will be water in the cooker along with the cooked dal, so no need to add extra water.
Stir and again pressure cook for 1 or 2 whistles. The dal would cook further more along with the rice.
Once the pressure settles down on its own, then only remove the lid.
The specialty of this khichdi is the separate grains of rice and dal and it is not mushy nor pasty. If the rice is not cooked, then you can add about ⅛ to ¼ cup water and pressure cook again for a whistle or two.
Serve the punjabi chana dal khichdi steaming hot with yogurt or raita variety like onion raita or onion tomato raita. You can also serve lemon pickle or mango pickle with it.
This khichdi tastes best when it is eaten hot. It does not taste so good when it cools down. That's why I won't suggest to pack it for lunch box or tiffin box as this khichdi becomes dry as it cools.
Use fresh chana dal for best taste and texture. Don't use aged chana dal. The chana dal should be in its shelf period.
You can make it in a pot also adding water as required. But it will take more time to cook. I always make this dish in the stovetop pressure cooker.